Ways to love Italy: Why ‘Milan Chic’ is an insider’s trip staple

Urban Italy unfolds a multitude of spectacular travel experiences. The rich historical sites of Rome, founded in 753 BC. The artistic exuberance of Florence. The epic grandeur of romantic maritime Venice with its Grand Canal and over 110 islands and 400 bridges. The architecture, gastronomy and heritage of Palermo in Sicily, a crossroads of civilizations for millennia. These very popular cities attract the most interest from travelers to Italy. Yet you would be amply rewarded for broadening your focus to include another distinctive gem: Milan – a world capital of cutting-edge design, fashion excellence, innovative aesthetics, abundant creativity and cultural vibrancy. . Determined, industrious and avant-garde, Milan is gorgeous ! A stunning new book points the way: Milan Chic ($95; produced by Assouline Publishing), written by accomplished journalist and author Massimo Nava. It is substantial (10 by 13 inches), heavy (over 6 pounds), and covered in silk, containing 296 thick, glossy pages, many of which feature the work of esteemed photographer Oberto Gili.

Milan Chic illuminates remarkable public places as well as isolated refuges. “A few steps from the fashion district, where sophisticated women carry shiny shopping bags bearing famous labels, you can see a line of visitors from Japan, America and Europe,” says Nava. “They are in a quiet pedestrian square, just outside a narrow door, waiting to enter and can only enter if they have booked in advance. They waste no time. In this case, time has the face of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a warm reddish brick building. In the refectory of this beautiful Gothic-Renaissance church is one of the most famous masterpieces in the world, the work of Leonardo da Vinci Last Supperwell known also thanks to Dan Brown Da Vinci’s Code. But few people know that the mural was painted and kept in Milan… Standing in front of the Last Supper launches you on a spiritual journey into the city’s secret history.”

Here is a sample of Milan Chicthe words and images of to stir up your wanderlust. Consider snuggling up with the book itself, embarking on an imaginative journey abroad while perhaps sipping an espresso or a Campari. aperitif at home. At your fingertips, there’s plenty of impeccably dressed Milan to explore, such as the charming old quarter of Brera, with “its narrow, colorful pedestrian streets and palaces…a district where fashion and nightlife combine, a classic hangout after a movie or at the theatre,” Nava recommends. Notice Milan’s greenery (like Stefano Boeri’s Vertical Forest), favorite culinary hot spots, historic mansions, glamorous shops, galleries, houses clothing stores and artisan workshops Above all, understand that the remarkable essence of Milan is best embraced in its hidden courtyards and building interiors. Milan Chic reveals generous looks behind these closed doors.

Also see photos of some of the city’s gifted and sought-after personalities: architects, artists, designers, restorers, scientists and other visionaries. Their passion for this northern Italian metro-magnet is irresistible; quotes are shared below. Dare to let yourself be seduced by the intoxicating charm of Milan.

“The excitement, the seduction and the work of Milan keep the heart and the spirit alive”, thinks the artist Sofia Cacciapaglia. “Milan is characterized by its two crowns of walls that surround it like a crown. In Milan everyone walks fast, people run here and there… Time flies… The pace of the city is fast and agile… [This is a city] of “organized” creativity and of those who love elegance in all things.

“Milan is unclassifiable because it is so special,” writes writer Daniela Morera. “Synchronized with the present, polite and respectful, it is an endless work in progress, but also romantic with discreetly hidden gardens… It is not a silhouette but a real body full of nuances, filled with current culture , style…and contemporary art foundations like Prada and HangarBicocca [that are] incomparable in the world. Even our street vendors display fruits and vegetables beautifully. »

“In Milan…everything is on a human scale. I ride a scooter and in thirty minutes I arrive from one end of the city to the other,” explains designer Stefano Giovannoni. “At the same time, Milan is a hybrid city where diversity and international convergence, in a limited space, facilitate intercultural exchanges. It is an open and welcoming city for newcomers, very livable for young minds deserving of success in the world.

“I like the way it sounds: MI-LA-NO, three perfect syllables….Walking through the streets, squares, courtyards and neighborhoods of Milan, all different from each other…every day is a surprise, a movie outside ! …We are the reflection of Greek culture, of Roman emperors, of an incomparable aesthetic thought”, explains the artist Luca Pignatelli.

“Milan has always been a city associated with the avant-garde, at the cutting edge, the place where trends arrive first, but which also has great respect for the past – not a museum-style past, locked away in glass case – but in which you can still live”, enthuses the architect Mario Abruzzese.

“Milan is a city traditionally open to creative people from all over the world who want to work in a positive and hardworking atmosphere. I was born in Rome, but Milan gave me my home, my own family and the opportunity to realize my dreams as an artisan designer in a friendly and professional environment,” says furniture designer Osanna Visconti. “Milan is a city of secret beauty, worth discovering, where art, music, design, fashion and architecture merge in an ideal energy.”

“I absolutely have to say thank you to one of the most amazing cities in the world. Milan welcomed me, opened its doors to me and invited me into a truly magnificent dream, and none of it would have been possible without the help of my wonderful Milanese friends and mentors,” says artist Hugh Findletar. “These special people have guided me down the path to elegance and helped me discover the true meaning of chic! this is the essence of my Milano.

“In Milan, we think of La Scala, the great palaces, the ironwork of the doors, the secret gardens, the mosaics of Gio Ponti, Lake Como, in short, everything that is theatrical, creative and ‘extravagant in the city’, says designer Bruno Moinard. .

“Milan is very different from all other Italian cities: a place where the balance between beautiful and ugly, old and new has become an identity over time. Its ability to preserve hidden, little-known or hidden places and experiences is a source of continuous discovery,” explain architect/artist Vincenzo De Cotiis and Claudia Rose De Cotiis, CEO/co-founder of Vincenzo De Cotiis Architecture and Gallery. “We love Milan for that very reason… [It is] a powerful center of contemporary regeneration.

For more information on traveling to Italy, visit the Italian North American National Tourist Board.

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