THE MAIN DISTRICTS OF MILAN
HomeLovers helps you to discover the most picturesque districts of Milan!
If you love being where the action is, Garibaldi-Isola is the perfect place for you. We recommend you start off in the wonderful Piazza Gae Aulenti: immerse yourself in the modern atmosphere of the buildings surrounding it and prepare to be dazzled by the height of the famous Unicredit tower, which is highly modern and ultra-minimalist. A stone’s throw from this contemporary pole is another unmissable stop off on your tour of discovery of this district: the so-called Bosco Verticale. As you approach these two buildings, you’ll see that the terraces of all the apartments that make up the building are covered in every kind of plant and vegetation you could imagine, with a total of 900 arboreal species on both buildings. Round off your visit of this area with a walk along Corso Garibaldi, which has a rich variety of bars and restaurants to suit all tastes: from the most sophisticated of clubs to more ‘casual’ restaurants where you can enjoy all the goodness of traditional cooking. Not to be missed is Corso Como 10, a restaurant, boutique and art gallery!
If you love art, Brera is a must-see. It is an artistic area par excellence as it is the old artists’ district and home to the Pinacoteca di Brera along with a number of other art galleries. The museum houses some of the most beautiful pieces in the history of art, and its courtyard hosts various institutions including the famous Accademia di Belle Arti which, to this day, still attracts students from all over the world. If you’re a botanics enthusiast, you’ll find the Orto Botanico interesting, a beautiful corner of nature right in the centre of town. Your visit merits a walk down the distinctive pedestrian streets Fiori Oscuri and Fiori Chiari, where you’ll find fortune-tellers waiting to tell your future whilst a few short steps away, the hustle and bustle continues in between the upmarket boutiques that line the street. An antique market is held here every third Sunday of the month. There are several bars and restaurants down these winding streets, such as the historical Jamaica (Via Brera 32), which takes its name from the film Jamaica Inn by Alfred Hitchcock, and preserves the charm of when it was frequented by penniless artists, who went on to be celebrities or intellectuals, intact. Continue down Via della Madonnina and you will find sophisticated fashion and antique shops, before ending up in Piazza del Carmine, which is home to the beautiful church of the same name with its neo-late Gothic façade.
Located south of the centre, this area has held onto much of its working-class origins. A lot of blocks of flats built around central courtyards, the working-class housing of the beginning of the twentieth century, have been renovated and are now used as homes and studios for architects, designers, graphic designers and fashion designers, and for fashion production. With a rich assortment of bars and restaurants, the district is crossed by the rails of Porta Genova station. The area is full of nightclubs and throngs of people walking along the river. Moreover, thanks to the opening of the new Darsena dock, this area of the city is increasingly becoming a fully fledged meeting place for anyone wanting to enjoy an evening outdoors. Also nearby are Corso Genova and Corso di Porta Ticinese, shopping streets which will lead you to the Colonne di San Lorenzo, another hub of activity. As well as the rails of Porta Genova station, Via Savona, Via Tortona and Via Bergognone are home to a number of former industrial buildings bought by architects and fashion designers to use as their offices, breathing new life into the area, which hosts Design Week in April.
The historic centre
The historic centre includes Piazza del Duomo and the surrounding area, the Fashion Quadrilateral and various iconic landmarks such as Piazza della Scala, Castello Sforzesco, Parco Sempione and much more. Indeed this area is home to the heart and soul of Milan. Testimony to this is the Duomo, the symbol of the city, an awe-inspiring cathedral in International Gothic style that cannot but exercise a charm all of its own. Don’t forget to climb to the top, where you will see the famous Madonnina statue up close and there’s a breathtaking view over the city. The best time of the day to “take the summit”? At dusk of course. Awaiting you just a few steps away is a real Milanese institution: the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. As well as housing some of the biggest fashion labels, this building is a true piece of architectural art: look up and admire the beautiful glass vaults, you’ll feel like you’re in a timeless place! Also near the Duomo and the Galleria are two other highlights of Milanese culture: the Palazzo Reale and the Museo del Novecento. Both museums regularly host new temporary collections and exhibitions that are not to be missed: the former houses more classic pieces whilst the latter houses modern and contemporary art paintings. A little further on is “Cairoli-Castello”, where you’ll find yourself standing before the magnificent Castello Sforzesco. The surrounding area is home to part of the most extensive green belt in Milan, Parco Sempione. This park is perfect for taking a pleasant walk in or for climbing up Torre Branca, a steel structure almost 109 metres tall, which offers you magnificent views over the city. This is also where Corso Sempione starts, a wide artery of the city rich in bars and restaurants, with a beautiful tree-lined avenue that ends at the Arco della Pace.
Porta Venezia and Buenos Aires
The Porta Venezia district is located in the southeastern area of Milan, and is one of the liveliest, with shops, bars and restaurants interspersed with the magnificent buildings that adorn the area. Walk from the centre to Corso Venezia, which is full of historical buildings, the streets crossing which are rich in a variety of ancient buildings once inhabited by nobility and others that have been converted into prestigious offices where you can still feel the atmosphere of the beginning of the twentieth century, all with an Art Nouveau style. This road goes to the heart of the area, Porta Venezia, and joins up with Corso Buenos Aires, one of the low-cost shopping streets in Milan where you can find the main big chain labels. From here you can explore a lively and multi-ethnic district, discovering all the little bars, the multitude of ethnic restaurants on offer and more. Also nearby are the Gardens of Porta Venezia, which make up one of the most beautiful parks in Milan with its lakes and snack bars.
Zona Magenta and Sant’Ambrogio
Corso Magenta has always been synonymous with elegance: big luxury buildings and beautiful hidden gardens. This also goes for all the surrounding streets, right up to Parco Sempione, where the magnificent Via XX Settembre ends, and Corso Vercelli. Here the landscape changes, with a myriad of shops appearing, some of which are very upmarket. It’s a shopping street that caters for all tastes. Living here has its advantages due to the lack of nightlife, with the exception of restaurants, the occasional bar and the Cinema Gloria cinema in Corso Vercelli. This is also where the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie is, which is home to the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci. The last place you absolutely must stop off on your exploratory tour of this area is the beautiful and picturesque Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, which is not to be missed.
Porta Romana is located in the south of the city. Take a walk along Corso di Porta Romana past some of the most beautiful residential buildings in the city, between tree-lined avenues, clubs and bars that are very popular with students. A big feature of this area is the fact that it’s home to the headquarters of two of the most important universities in Milan: the University of Milan and the Bocconi University, one of the most prestigious universities for economics and managerial sciences in Italy. Right by the Bocconi University is Parco Ravizza, which is characterised by its Anglo-Saxon style, where we recommend you go for a walk. Beyond the park, the district, which was once home to industrial warehouses and depots, has been upgraded over the years and is still undergoing change: the warehouses have been turned into offices and apartments. Nearby are the Terme di Milano spa and the historical Teatro Carcano, along with the recently-opened Prada Foundation with its majestic multifunctional space dedicated to contemporary art, in Via Fogazzaro to the north of Porta Romana.