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Triennale DesignCafé

Triennale DesignCafé.

When spring showers give way to summer sunshine, Milan comes alive and its grand Piazza del Duomo becomes a hive of activity. But there’s much more to Italy’s refined capital of finance and fashion than the beautiful big-ticket church in the heart of the city. To the northeast, there’s the shopping and fashion epicenter known as the Quadrilatero d’Oro. To the northwest, there’s the arty Brera area. To the south, there’s the spirited nightlife scene that has sprouted around the canals of the Navigli district. And sprinkled all around the most cosmopolitan of Italian cities are enough attractions to please every kind of personality.


10 Corso Como.        

Where to Stay: Armani Hotel
If shopping at Armani isn’t enough, fans of the designer’s luxe minimalist style can check in to his elegant flagship hotel, located above the Armani concept stores in a Rationalist-style mansion in the fashion district.

Morning: 10 Corso Como
Before browsing the covetable fashions, accessories and interior design items at this shopping mecca, fuel up with an espresso in the courtyard café. Afterward, explore the on-site art gallery and bookshop packed with design tomes.

Lunch: Giacomo Arengario
An offshoot of the fashion-crowd favorite Da Giacomo, this art deco bistro recently opened in a restored palazzo that also houses the Museo del Novecento. Champagne and oysters are served alongside spectacular cathedral views.

Afternoon: Via Montenapoleone
The epicenter of alta moda, or high fashion, is this shopping street in the Quadrilatero d’Oro, an area packed with every top designer shop, from Valentino and Versace to Pucci and Gucci.

Night: The Principe Bar
During fashion week, the five-star Principe di Savoia is the favored hotel of supermodels and editors. After dark, the hotel’s opulent bar, exuding over-the-top glamour, is where the fashion set dances on velvet banquettes.


Ristorante Cracco.        

Where to Stay: Bulgari Hotel
In a quiet corner of the Brera neighborhood, lush gardens surround this indulgent hotel, where the interiors are as polished as a Bulgari jewel. Sweet details include glass jars filled with colorful candies in the lobby.

Breakfast: Pasticceria Marchesi
In the same location since 1824, this historic café typifies Old World charm with its coffered ceilings, antique mirrors and brass bar. Pair a cappuccino with a tantalizing pastry from the glass cases.

Lunch: Ristorante Cracco
Carlo Cracco is one of the country’s top chefs and a pioneer of modernist Italian cuisine. At his namesake restaurant, splurge on an inventive degustation menu served in the stylish, subterranean dining space.

Afternoon: Peck
A gastronomic institution, this fine-foods delicatessen spans three floors filled with everything from the freshest regional produce to Italy’s best wines. Fill your basket with salumi, cheeses, stuffed pastas, foie gras and Milanese cookies.

Dinner: Innocenti Evasioni
At this restaurant, imaginative plates—from fresh pastas colored with oregano and squid ink to desserts infused with flavors of white chocolate and lemongrass —are served at tables overlooking a picturesque garden.


NHow Milan.        

Where to Stay: NHow Milan
This colorful design hotel, steps away from lively bars and nightclubs, is the top spot to bed down in Navigli, a newly fashionable neighborhood with centuries-old canals constructed from designs by Leonardo da Vinci.

Morning: Mercatone Naviglio Grande
The monthly weekend market that spreads out on the banks of the Naviglio Grande Canal is a treasure trove of antique furnishings and vintage finds from top Italian designers such as Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.

Lunch: Al Pont de Ferr
At this Navigli standby, the rustic atmosphere—walls lined with wine bottles, simple paper place mats—belies the refined cuisine. The menu is packed with fantastic dishes such as house-made spaghetti with anchovy and squid.

Dinner: U Barba
In hip Porta Romana, enjoy an al fresco aperitif and a game of bocce before gathering around long wooden tables for a meal of focaccia al formaggio, stuffed mussels and other Genovese specialties.

Night: Birrificio Lambrate
Increasingly, younger Milanese are forsaking Italian wine in favor of domestic craft beer. This local microbrewery makes some of the country’s best brews—all on tap at this stylish new gastropub.


Spazio Rossana Orlandi.        

Where to Stay: Straf Hotel & Bar
Intelligent, functional design in an enviable location draws discerning travelers to this boutique hotel. Architect Vincenzo De Cotiis incorporated rough slate, brass and aged mirrors into the spare yet sensual interiors.

Morning: Spazio Rossana Orlandi
Art meets interior design at this magical showroom and gallery from Rossana Orlandi, whose eclectic style is on perpetual display. Each room is filled with treasures created by talented, up-and-coming designers from around the world. 

Lunch: Pane e Acqua
An old tabaccheria was transformed into an inviting restaurant with whimsical interiors that are an extension of Ms. Orlandi’s gallery next door. Equally creative are chef Francesco Passalacqua’s twists on traditional Piedmont cuisine.

Afternoon: Duomo di Milano
With its white marble façade freshly scrubbed, Milan’s Gothic cathedral gleams. Head to the roof for bird’s-eye views of the neighboring Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II with its grand colonnaded arcades and crowning glass dome.

Evening: Triennale DesignCafé
Many Milanese visit the city’s design museum simply for an aperitivo at its sleek on-site café. On warm evenings, eschew the all-white dining room for a table on the terrace.


Teatro alla Scala.        

Where to Stay: Four Seasons Hotel Milano
This modern hotel is housed in a former 15th-century convent in the fashion district. Luxurious suites with restored frescoes, marble bathrooms and fine Fortuny fabrics encircle the leafy inner courtyard.

Lunch: Latteria di San Marco
High-powered politicians, designers and architects might be among the crowd crammed around the eight tables at this former dairy shop, which now dishes up humble fare such as grilled endive and rabbit ragù. Via San Marco, 24

Afternoon: HangarBicocca
Anselm Kiefer’s eerie work, “Seven Heavenly Palaces,” centers this vast exhibition space in a former industrial complex. Rotating, thought-provoking shows focus on new names and established artists such as Christian Boltanski.

Dinner: Sadler
Special occasions are best celebrated at this two-Michelin-star restaurant, where the inventive gourmet cuisine, such as foie gras sausage or ravioli filled with liquid risotto, is created by Claudio Sadler, one of the city’s most celebrated chefs.

Evening: Teatro alla Scala
High-society sophisticates don pearls and Prada to parade into their scarlet-hued box seats at Italy’s premier opera house, which has hosted international stars performing obscure works and Verdi’s favorite libretti.

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