By far my favourite neighbourhood in Milan is Brera. It’s the artistic / bohemian heart of the city, hosting some fantastic galleries, bars & restaurants. The district is a gem full of historic and cultural sights.
Where is Brera?
It’s in the north-eastern corner of the historic centre. Metro stations include Cairoli (M1), Moscova (M2), Lanza (M2) and Turari (M3), Montenapoleone (M3). Simply a 10-minute walk from the Duomo district, which is overpriced and too busy, in my opinion.
What to see in Brera?
Brera is simply a great place to get lost, holding a gelato. Stroll around the narrow streets on Via Brera and Via Fiori Oscuri. Notice the models go past and tarot readers on the sides. Che sará sará…
If you’re after art, head to the Pinacoteca di Brera which showcases works of art of some of the greatest artists during the Italian Renaissance. At the rear of the museum is a fascinating botanical garden with plans from around the world.
Some streets are more quiet than others. One in particular is a real gem and my favourite place to chill out and escape the hustle and bustle. It’s on Via San Marco and until the 1930s, a canal used to run on this street, as part of the Lombardy canal network (navigli). This canal was once connected with the Naviglio Martesana, which has a well-maintained cycling path I wrote an article on, engineered by the great Leonardo da Vinci.
10 Corso Como
If you’re artsy, and love books and fashion, head to 10 Corso Como on Corso Como, duh! Many photography exhibitions are held here, including the World Press Photo. There’s a bookstore, a clothing store, and a relaxing terrace where you can enjoy a cafe.
A heaven for foodies, head to Eataly on Corso Como, if you want to buy a high quality variety of Italian produce and alcohol. There is are different restaurants offering a variety of pasta, fish, meat, pastry, wine, coffee and desserts. Bravo!
As the sun sets, engage in the favourite past-time of Milanese, the aperitivo. It’s supposed to be a pre-dinner drink (think aperol spritz) with some finger food, as in the picture below. The food, as a buffet, usually comes free if you order one drink costing around 10 euros.
Sit on one of the cafes on Corso Como and Corso Garibaldi and watch the world go by.
If you’re STILL hungry after the aperitivo, you can sit at the terrace at a nice restaurant (avoid the ones with the menus in English).
Perhaps try out the local cuisine, such as Risotto alla milanese and cotoletta alla milanese.
Quadrilatero d’Oro (Golden Quarter)
Although not part of Brera, the nearby shopping district is where you can find all the top brands (at top prices). Even if it’s beyond your price range, still great to window-shop and spot celebrities and fast cars. Think of it as Sloane Street & New Bond Street in London.
Visit Parco Sempione and Castello Sforzesco
Fine Art Photographer and author of the Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography