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Art weekend in Milan style

The place to be for fashion and design lovers

by Svetlana Kaledina, pic by Tanja Volobueva

A few years ago for the first time I flew in Milan for the weekend. My trip fell on dank November days and I traipsed the streets having absolutely no notion of where to go except shops. Currently, thanks to Italia Slow Tour this problem doesn’t exist any more. From all variety of Milan museums, I introduce to you a selection of those which most closely correspond to style of the world fashion capital and which you can visit if you have a free weekend in Milan. And in order to have time for all of them I recommend you to make use of convenient Drive Now carsharing service. In its vehicle park there are basically Mini and BMW 1 Series cars which are perfect for city traffic. A strategic place to stay, close to the avenues devoted to shopping (see, Corso Buenos Aires) is Hotel Lombardia.

Prada Foundation

Fondazione Prada is not just a museum of contemporary art. Here an idea, a conception which is often more important than eye appeal are at the wheel. Sometimes exhibits can be so mind-blowing as the museum management recommends sensitive visitors to treat carefully visiting some expositions. I got to have a look at works of very controversial authors exhibited here this season.

Prada foundation - exhibit

Prada foundation – exhibit

Edward Kienholz became one of them. An American artist worked in the installation genre. His work “5 Car Stud” made in the early 1970s reconstructs a racial abuse situation. The installation with participation effect tells about violence of five white men against a black guy. Other works of the artist are intended to show complete soullesness of our everyday life to the world.

Another artist impressing by his controversial works is William Copley whose works are exhibited on two floors of the museum. The artist produces paintings in which he reconstructs obscene scenes generated by his imagination using bright colours, three-dimensional figures and collages. Visiting Fondazione Prada you will have charge of bright emotions which sometimes can be not so pleasant but you absolutely won’t feel bored.

Brera Art Gallery

Pinacoteca di Brera is the biggest picture gallery in Milan. It was founded by Maria Theresa of Austria for students of the academy of fine arts located there on the first floor of beautiful Palazzo di Brera in baroque. Pinacoteca di Brera consists of 38 halls where paintings of the masters of different styles are exhibited such as Tuscany, Venetian and Lombardic styles. Here you can see masterpieces of such masters as Raphael, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Piero della Francesca and many others. Pinacoteca di Brera is necessary to be visited by every fan of Neo-Classical painting.

Getting hungry after a walk through the museum you will definitely want to make a light meal and I recommend you not to turn far away. Brera district is full of various bars, restaurants, trattorias and other food services. But I recommend you to go to an unusual place combining Japanese compactness and Brazilian brightness of tastes. A few steps away from Pinacoteca di Brera, at Corso Garibaldi, 59 you will find yourself in magic atmosphere of Temakinho restaurant. Tartare with salmon and avocado, sushi rolls with fish and fruits and many other uncommon dishes which gourmets will definitely enjoy.

Palazzo Morando

The museum of fashion and costumes opens its doors for everyone who is attracted by the world of fashion industry. The museum exhibition which grounds on collections of past ages fashionable clothes demonstrates fashion evolution to its visitors. You can see how from century to century fit of costumes and combination of colours changed and which textiles was preferred by fashionistas of past ages. Moreover, in the museum there is the collection of paintings showing development of the historical centre of Milan especially Piazza del Duomo.

After visiting Palazzo Morando you should go to Monte Napoleone, 8 for a cup of coffee in one of the oldest public places in Milan – Pasticceria Cova. Interior and recipes remain unchanged from 1817 and even Giuseppe Verdi in his time often gave a look in here for a cup of postmeridian tea.

Mudec

MUDEC is the museum of world cultures. Here there is an awesome ethnographic collection which consists of more than 7 thousand works from 1500 to our times. The permanent exhibition is divided to seven special halls: naturalistic hall in which there are exhibits of animal, vegetable origin and from the world of minerals which were used by a human for creation of art. Hall of palaeontology and ethnography where there is a collection of the Museum of Natural History founded in 1858 which includes findings of investigative groups of some religious orders. Colonial period hall where there is a collection of “colonial captures” such as weapons, horning of animals and war items of some African tribes. Eastern hall where you can find incredible pieces of Japanese and Chinese art: kimono, textiles such as golden silk, theatrical masks, calligraphy sets, painted porcelain and a lot more which won`t leave untouched devotees of Eastern culture.

Mudec Museum, Milan - entrance

Mudec Museum, Milan – entrance

Hall dedicated to 1908 world’s fair. At that time growing interest of the Western world in the Eastern world caused increase of production of Japanese and Chinese manufacturers for the Western market. Hall where there is a video about warfare in Milan in 1943. Here you will find a part of exhibits of the Museum of Sforza castle which were managed to save after bombings. Hall where there are exhibits from private collections of post-war period including textiles of pre-Columbian period, pieces of African art and Picasso’s paintings. The museum is located in Tortona, a district of young designers just near the Navigli, a night amusement place for young Milanites. After 6 p. m. young people all over the city flow together there in order to meet friends at short drinks, listen to music or just embrace the atmosphere of the night city.

Pinacoteca Ambrosiana

Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan - entrance

Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan – entrance

Another picture gallery of Milan named after Saint Ambrose, the patron saint of the city collected awesome works of European masters from the XIV to XX century. Rembrandt, Botticelli, Titian are only some of the famous artists whose masterpieces you can see when walking through the halls of the museum. Here you will see famous painting “Basket of Fruit” of Caravaggio laid the foundation for a well-known genre of painting – still life. In this building also the Biblioteca Ambrosiana (the library) is located where there is a collection of pictures and drawings of Leonardo da Vinci together with antique folios.

Svetlana Kaledina, contributor of Sapog.it

Pics by Tanja Volobueva

 

Visit Milan: helpful hints

Italian name: Milano

Arrival

Milan has got three airports:

  1. Malpensa Airport is the largest international & intecontinental Airport in Northern Italy. 30 miles Northwest from the city centre. Connections:
    Train Malpensa Express: trains leaves every 30 minutes in each direction, connecting the Airport to Milan Grand Central Station or Cadorna Railway Station. Terminals 1 and 2. It takes 45 min, price: 14 €
    Shuttle Bus: Malpensa Shuttle and Malpensa Bus Express connect the airport to Milan Grand Central Railway Station and Milan’s Underground Network. Terminals 1 and 2. It takes 60/70 min, price: 8 €
  2. City Airport Linate is an international airport connecting Milan with main European cities, located just 4 miles from the city centre. Connections by shuttle: Atm Bus n. 73 from Milano Duomo M1 – M3 (Piazza Diaz, direction: San Babila), first ride at 5.35 am, last one at 00.35. Frequency: every 10 min, price 1,5 €
  3. Milan Bergamo Airport Orio al Serio is mainly low cost flights Airport, located 30 miles Northwest from Milan. Connections only by Shuttle: There are 4 different bus companies,  pricing changes from 5 up to 8 €

Transports

ATM is Milan public transport service both for bus, tram and subway. Single ticket costs 1.50€ for 90-min ride. Consider daily/weekly subscriptions. You can buy tickets also texting to 48444. Milan Subway is the longest in Italy, covering 95 km: Donwload and check the map.

Moving in town can be nice also by bike: Milan has got a powerfull bike sharing service providing both regular and e-bikes. Here is the experience of our Ambassador Kim Harding with BikeMi service and a useful video of our Ambassador Roxana explaining how does it work. Car Sharing is also good with many different companies to choose.

Try also the local urban railway train, called Passante Ferroviario, check the experience of our Ambassador Roxana Iacoban travelling by local train in town.

What to do in Milan

Milan is the Italian financial center and one of the European capitals of Fashion. Known for its nightlife as well.

Some tips on Italia Slow Tour: watch our web serie about Leonardo da Vinci’s places, climb on top of the Duomo, visit Prada Foundation, Museums and Art Galleries, taste some fine gelato and try the local Aperitivo and – not joking – enjoy a sailing trip (!!) or some time deep in the nature close to some actual farms and fields.

Where to sleep

Accomodations are quite expensive in Milan, fares rise up and hotels get full according to the rich event calendar of the city (see: Fashion Week, Salone del mobile, Big concerts, Theatre and Sport events, etc.). If you are not specifically interested in any of those, try to travel during other periods to save some money.

Italia Slow Tour recommends:

  • Hotel Cervo in Garibaldi District if you want to stay close to city centre and enjoy the nightlife
  • Hotel Concorde located on the Green Way Milan-Lecco to Lake Como, if you want to move around adn travel by bike

Shopping in Milan

The famous Fashion District involves the following streets/areas: Via Montenapoleone, via Manzoni, via della Spiga and Corso Venezia. The so called “Quadrilateral of Fashion”. Here you can find all kind of brands and shops. Easy to reach by Subway (stop at Montenapoleone station).

Don’t miss the Street Markets! Almost every day you can find one: best are the ones in Viale Papiniano (on Tuesday) and Via Fauchè (on Saturday). More on the official website of weekly street markets. If you are into sustainable local products, Milan has got 8 actual farms in town and a green Earth Market.

If you are interested in Outlet Shopping, in the outskirt of Milan you can find 4 different Fashion Outlets, in a radius of 62 miles. Here you can find everyday a lot of famous high quality Italian brands on sale, with prices cut off up to 50%. All the outlets are connected to the center of Milan by Shuttle Bus:

  1. Serravalle Designer Outlet – Shuttle departure from Milan Central Station or Cairoli square
  2. Fidenza Village Outlet Shopping – Shuttle departure from Piazza della Repubblica 5, at the corner with Turati st.
  3. Vicolungo The Style Outlets – Shuttle departure from Cairoli square
  4. Rodengo-Saiano Franciacorta Outlet Village – Shuttle departure from Cairoli square

 

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