Italy is known for its relaxed mannerisms and enjoyments of bringing people around a table for delectable food and lighthearted enjoyment. Although Milan enjoys this aspect of the national culture, its residents are tuned in to a faster pace as they operate within the leading financial center and the most prosperous manufacturing and commercial city in Italy. The architecture and design is representative of this progressive city, merging classical traditions with the excitement of futuristic and modern design. We took a visit to see for ourselves.
La Scala’s season opens every year on December 7th, ‘Saint Ambrose’s Day’, the feast day of Milan’s patron saint. All performances must end before midnight, so if you are planning to see a lengthy operas, know that they start earlier in the evening to beat the curfew.
The Duomo di Milano is a massive and awe-inspiring work of art. Dedicated to St Mary of the Nativity (Santa Maria Nascente), it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, the largest church in Italy and the third largest church in the world. The cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete, with construction lasting from 1386-1965.
Famous for their pannetone and artisinal Milanese sweets, Marchesi 1824 has been operated by the Marchesi family in this same location since, yes, 1824. The shop’s interior still contains furnishings from the early 19th century, with antique furniture and art deco lighting. It is a must-see pit stop for Milan’s fashion elite.
The Pinacoteca di Brera (“Brera Art Gallery”) is the main public gallery for paintings in Milan, Italy. It contains one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings, an outgrowth of the cultural program of the Brera Academy, which shares the site in the Palazzo Brera.
Housed within a four-story double arcade in the center of town, it is named after Victor Emmanuelle II, the first king of the Kingdom of italy this major landmark was designed in 1861 and built by architect Giuseppe Mangoni between 1865 and 1867. The Galleria is often nicknamed il salotto di Milano, or Milan’s drawing room, due to its numerous shops and importance as a common meeting place. It is a hot spot for haute couture and luxury goods.
“What is a cultural institution for?” This is the imposing question Fondazione Prada poses to its patrons, and attempts to answer within the walls of a former 1910’s distillery. Its main institution is a combination of new and renovated buildings including warehouses, laboratories, and brewing silos, as well as new buildings surrounding a large courtyard.
This Milanese bar actually falls under the category of “Intentionally Wes Anderson” as the director designed the interior himself. While his movies often favor similarly-arranged spaces, he reportedly feels that there is no ideal angle to use it as a movie set for one of his films.
Built in 1927, this classic art deco landmark is located in the heart of Milan. It’s famed Presidential Suite has indeed held presidents – George H.W. Bush included, and royalty, including none other than Queen Elizabeth II.
Teatro Gerolamo was built on the site of an earlier theater of the same name. It was first managed by Carlo Colla, a practitioner of Milan’s famous puppet dynasty, who oversaw the theatre until 1958, at which point management was handed over to the Teatro Piccolo in Milan. The theatre would become the headquarters of the Milanese theater company Piero Mazzarella in 1960.
The theatre has been characterized as a singular place for the expression of ideas, thoughts, and different languages, from the classics to contemporary playwriting, from philosophy to music and dance. Plays have originated here that have left their mark on the history of Italian theatre.
Owned by the Manzoni family, the house was the birthplace of the famous Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni in 1785. Restored in the 60’s, its wonderful interior is still well preserved including all of its original furnishings. The house also boasts a library with over 30,000 books including the complete works of Manzoni himself.
The Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci is the largest science and technology museum in Italy. Dedicated to the Italian painter and scientist Leonardo de Vinci, the museum contains seven exhibit departments, with one containing the first commercial transistor computer designed & manufactured in Italy.
Built in the 15th century on the remnants of a 14th century fortification, Castello Sforzeca now houses several of the city’s museums and art collections. The main gate leads to a large court from which several internal features can be seen including the remains of two 15th century courts. Renovated and enlarged in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was one of the largest citadels in Europe.
Neoclassical arch celebrating peace, built where a corresponding entrance to the city was located during Roman times. The current gate was commissioned by Napoleon in 1807, but was unfinished when Milan was conquered by the Austrian Empire. It was completed nearly 30 years later, and dedicated as a monument to peace. The structure features several scenes from Milanese history, such as the Battle of Leipzig and the founding of the Kingdom of Lombardy, as well as allegorical figures representing the rivers of northern Italy.