Brera is synonymous with the artistic heart of the city. In fact, as you stroll along the streets of this ancient district, you cannot help but be enchanted by its almost surreal atmosphere boasting small artisan’s workshops or quaint stores selling canvases and paints. Additionally, Brera is home to the impressive Accademia di Belle Arti, where visitors can admire Milan’s famous painting collection at the Pinacoteca (the Brera Picture Gallery), the historic Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense (Braidense National Library) , the Museo Astronomico (The Astronomical Museum), the oldest scientific research institute in the city and the Giardino Botanico (Botanical Gardens), an evocative green space located.
WHERE TIP Discover the “Brera Art District” tour by Zani Viaggi (www.zaniviaggi.it/livemilano).
Art and Shopping
To start your sightseeing tour on the right foot, we suggest stopping for a cup of coffee at Princi, not just an ordinary bakery, but a meeting point where, amidst the heady scents of “brioches” and “cappuccino”, you will have a chance to begin your day on a high note. A reference point for antique lovers, Brera boasts a large number of antique shops. As an aside, those interested in bargains or bric a brac should definitely make time to visit the Mercatino di antiquariato e brocantage, held on the third Sunday of each month.
Not far from the elegant artisan footwear sold by Iliprandi or the evocative location where jewellery collections are designed and handcrafted, ddm-daniela de marchi, visitors will find the first Italian monobrand store of fashion guru Marc Jacobs, whose adjacent café is the perfect spot for a “trendy” aperitivo. The array of boutiques continues with the new Gucci boutique, the first European men’s flagship store, Diego dalla Palma Make Up Studio, tailor-made, Italian-style shoes by Alfonso Garlando, and the Kusmi Tea new tea house, carrying a wide selection of unforgettable blends of blacktea, green tea and infusions.
Other points of interest include historic high-class luxury jewellers Manfredi, antique and modern creations in silver at the Argenteria Dabbene, the original accessories by Angela Caputi Giuggiù, clothing and footwear for fashion-conscious kids by the new Gusella store in corso Garibaldi 50 and unique leather accessories by Giòsa Milano in via Formentini corner of via Madonnina (boutique) and in via Ciovasso (showroom). Conversely, for design aficionados, we suggest a visit to the Calligaris flagship store, after which you will have a chance to lose yourself amidst the thousands of furnishing ideas offered by Cargo&Hi-Tech; dulcis in fundo, in the real sense of the word, don’t forget to sample the specialities of maître chocolatier Guido Gobino in corso Garibaldi.
Between visiting one shop and another, you might be surprised to suddenly discover that it’s time for lunch. Try the typical Parmabased charcuterie specialities at Parma&Co, where you can also enjoy a Sunday brunch or the famed sandwiches sold by Panino Giusto.
The afternoon is likely to pass by in a flash until you suddenly realize that it’s aperitivo time: you are definitely likely to be seduced by the purely Art Dèco-style atmosphere of El Tombon de San Marc or the trendier atmosphere of Fashion Café in via San Marco; other options are heady wine tasting sessions in the informal ambience of either N’Ombra de Vin or Moscatelli. Conversely, the more fashion-oriented will find just what they’re looking for in nearby corso Como, featuring Milan’s renowned 10 Corso Como, a cafè, restaurant, concept store, bookshop and exhibition space.
Choosing the right restaurant for dinner might pose quite some discussion. Here are some venues where you can savour authentic Italian cuisine: Maxelâ, for meat lovers, La Briciola, Il Consolare, and Giallo for real “VIP-watching”, the Piedmontese flavours of Alla cucina delle Langhe, the Tuscan ones of Osteria Brunello and, last but not least, the characteristic restaurants of old Milan including Rigolo, All’Isola, La Libera, Bebel’s and La Vecchia Lira. Not to be missed, the Carminio where the menu changes daily. Finally, make sure to visit Ristorante 13 Giugno, a triumph of Sicilian cuisine, and the adjacent Fattoria di Brera, a unique pret-àmanger renowned for its stylish ambience and its delightfully fresh fare.