Milano Beyond the Expo: What’s New in the City
Milan is the city to be in this year, thanks to Expo, the food-focused global event that has given (and continues to give) more fuel to the energy of the city, more ideas, and more initiatives. Milan is a city always booming and blooming—now more than ever (read my suggestions for first-time visitors).
In the city’s skyline we can see new skyscrapers and new buildings, but there are also old structures that have been repurposed or restored. Let’s take a look at few of them:
In Milan, it’s very easy to find a good bar or pastry shop to have a tempting, mouthwatering breakfast. Which mainly means for us Italians a cappuccino e brioche. One recently opened place in one of the newest modern squares of the city (Piazza Gae Aulenti) is illy, the first flagship store in Milan opened by the renowned coffee brand, described as a contemporary bar where illy coffee is the protagonist. But the illy flagship store is also a place for art; exhibitions are made in the store in collaboration with the Galleria Lia Rumma. At illy, we can find something for our eyes and spirit, not only a good cup of coffee in different blends, a cappuccino, and other beverages suitable for all seasons.
The store has a wide range of proposals for breakfast, the “sweetest moment of the day,” with the creations of master pastry chef Luigi Biasetto. Try the classic croissant, the one I prefer. Biasetto also make biscuits, pastries, macarons, and other little masterpieces—try them with a cup of coffee or Dammann Frères tea.
The illy flagship store is open for lunch as well as brunch on the weekends—on the menu you can find recipes made with coffee such as the risotto al caffè—and it’s also open for aperitivo, offering a list of cocktails. You can even buy espresso machines, collector’s cups, chocolate, tea, and jams. Yes, at illy you can really taste the classical Italian lifestyle.
Just one step outside illy and you’ll see the newest skyscrapers in the city, here in Porta Volta area. That’s the present and the future of Milan, but don’t forget the city’s past, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and Castello Sforzesco, now back to their glory days after thorough renovations.
I would like to invite you to the top of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, in the heart of the city, for a brand-new experience. Welcome to Highline Galleria, an unusual tourist route of 550 square meters over the roofs of the gallery. The Highline has been restored and opened to public; it’s the first time people can see the Galleria from the top of its own structure, a unique experience.
Seven Stars Galleria Hotel and Alessandro Rosso Group (the promoter of the initiative) invite people to discover this marvelous route and its gorgeous view over the roofs of the Galleria itself and of the city. It is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and the entrance is at via Silvio Pellico 2, at the corner with Piazza Duomo 21. An adult ticket (at the time of writing) costs 12€. The most romantic moment? At the sunset—don’t miss it!
Another well-known symbol of Milan is Castello Sforzesco, the city’s castle. Entry is free from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the museums are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. (until 10.30 p.m. on Thursdays). Tickets for 5€ include the entrance to all the castle museums and the new Museo della Pietà Rondanini. Here you can visit Pietà Rondanini, the last work of Michelangelo, left unfinished. It’s his reflections on salvation of the soul, with Mary and the body of Jesus, after his death. Since May we have been able to visit the Pietà in the new museum, which is inside the ancient Spanish hospital in the courtyard named Cortile delle Armi.
Inside Castello Sforzesco you can also visit the Museum of Ancient Art, the Leonardo Da Vinci painting in the Sala delle Asse, the Armory, the Museum of Furniture and Wooden Sculpture, the Picture Gallery, the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Museum of Musical Instruments, and the Archaeological Museum.
After a day full of art and culture it’s time to take a break and live the city like a true Milanese. What about an aperitivo? One of the sleekest is at Four Seasons Hotel Milano, an old convent with a cloister located in the quadrilatero della moda (the “quadrilateral of fashion”). It has a green area inside, where the hotel houses the new season of its Aperitivo in Giardino (“Aperitivo in the Garden”). Every Tuesday through the end of September we can taste classic Italian aperitivo or new creations in a posh but casual atmosphere.
Milan is definitely a city for gastro-lovers. If you want to end this beautiful day exploring the newest things in Milan, go to Gino Sorbillo – Lievito Madre al Duomo for a pizza. In my opinion, the best authentic Neapolitan pizza in town is the one made by Gino Sorbillo and his team of pizzaioli at Lievito Madre al Duomo.
I must say this has become my favorite in the city since it opened a few months ago. I have had pizza at Sorbillo in Naples, and here in Milan it tastes just the same—genuine and good. The restaurant makes 400 pizzas a day (shared between lunchtime and dinnertime) and doesn’t take reservations. Be there early, at noon or at 7 p.m. (which is early for dinner in Milan), to avoid the queue. The last time I went there I tasted pizza with Cetara anchovies—absolutely mouthwatering. You can find Lievito Madre al Duomo in Largo Corsia dei Servi 11, between Duomo Square and San Babila Square.
Milan has even more new places to discover—maybe next time!