Milan, the most elegant and tempting dolce far niente

The Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II is the “Salon of Milan” and also a fabulous metaphor for this Italian city.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
14 May 2024 Tuesday 04:39
1 Reads
Milan, the most elegant and tempting dolce far niente

The Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II is the “Salon of Milan” and also a fabulous metaphor for this Italian city. To begin with because, like the rest of the capital of Lombardy, it combines its historical foundation with an irrepressible avant-garde spirit. A characteristic acquired from the construction phase itself, between 1865 and 1877, since its architect Giuseppe Mengoni conceived it as a modern commercial space using the most daring materials of the time. In particular, iron and glass for the vaults and an airy dome that rises 47 meters above the ground.

On the other hand, this covered passage that connects the Teatro della Scala with the Duomo is as cosmopolitan or more so than the rest of the Milanese streets, as reflected in the mosaics located under its dome symbolizing Europe, America, Africa and Asia. In addition, it is quintessence of elegance and design in a world-famous fashion city. Inside are the most reputable couture brands. As well as select restaurants such as that of the television chef Carlo Cracco or the historic Savini and its comforting ice creams. And there are also hat shops like Borsalino, a store with fine items for smokers, bookstores and luxurious jewelry stores. And any of these businesses boast of having exquisiteness as the norm.

And of course it has become the urban catwalk par excellence, the place to be seen and show off, something essential in Milan. Therefore, it is the ideal setting to soak up the local character and undertake any tour to discover the city. The only thing that should not be imitated is its frenetic pace. Visitors should forget the rush. Touring Milan should be pleasant and relaxed. Walking aimlessly, strolling and wandering in the shadow of the Duomo, on the banks of the Naviglio or in Sempione Park, a beautiful green lung behind the Sforce Castle. And when your legs give out, it is always possible to get on an old tram to see the panorama from another perspective, sit down and have a drink or go shopping to treat yourself. There is no shortage of temptations. Of course, almost none of them are cheap.

It is proven, for example, by fulfilling the ritual of savoring that delight that is Italian coffee. The best thing is to look for an establishment full of stores and pay attention to them. Most will be standing with a brief espresso or the classic cappuccino. It is about enjoying the delicacy for a moment. Pay, drink and everyone continue with their chores. If done this way, it is an economical pleasure. On the other hand, we foreigners tend to sit at a table. In this way, the price is multiplied. And it does so exponentially if a sweet or a slice of cake is also added. As succulent as they are tempting, even more so in places like Panarello or Marchesi 1824.

Pasticceria Marchesi is one of many historic family businesses that endure. Although in this case it was acquired by another illustrious local surname. None other than Prada, a Milanese brand that opened its first fashion house in 1913. Today it remains in the city, occupying a central corner of Vittorio Emmanuelle II and also in the coveted Quadrilatero d'Oro. That is to say, a bunch of streets where the greats of Italian fashion and others of international prestige are present. It is necessary to take a look around, seeing what is considered distinction and good taste. But what is not discovered are the prices. And the fact is that regular customers don't care too much about the cost of going trendy.

The equally exclusive shop windows, but showing the elite of the world of furniture, decoration and architectural design, are located on Via Durini and also in the recovered Tortona neighborhood. While in the Brera neighborhood the most influential art galleries open their doors. It couldn't be anywhere else, after all in these streets everything revolves around the Brera palace, which is at the same time an academy of the arts, a place of inspiration thanks to the bucolic botanical garden that is hidden at the back and above all home to the Brera art gallery, that is, the most emblematic museum in Milan, where you can delight in the brushstrokes of Raphael or Caravaggio.

However, there are more attractive museums. A very beloved one is the Museo del Novecento, next to the Duomo and which houses the Italian avant-garde movements that contributed a special personality to the art of the early 20th century. Also the Triennale Milano is recommended. It is a delight of a cultural space that houses the Museum of Italian Design. And in the aforementioned Tortona neighborhood is the MUDEC, Museum of Cultures, which this spring welcomes Pablo Picasso thanks to an exhibition curated from Spain and composed of works from the Picasso Museum in Barcelona or the painter's birthplace in Malaga. .

In short, Milan is a city for enjoyment and delight. Dilettante is an Italian word that perfectly defines the best attitude to discover the Lombard capital. It's about picking at its points of interest, that is, its shops, cafes, museums or gardens. Let yourself be tempted by its charms and indulge in some indulgence for your soul and body. Of course, what each person's wallet allows. Milan has a price!