Bring out the inner artist in you!
It’s no mistake that Milan is often hailed as the epicenter of design. In addition to the heightened popularity of Design Week every April, the city’s museums and art galleries boast spectacular installations, exhibitions and breathtaking displays that are ever-changing. Here are some must-see’s that you can’t miss, especially if you’re an art or style fanatic.
1. The Duomo di Milano & the Galleria
The iconic Milan Cathedral, or Duomo di Milano, is the largest church in Italy and it required six centuries to complete construction. Archbishop Antonio da Sluzzo began the process in 1386 as a reward to the noble and the working class. In 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned King of Italy at the Duomo when construction finally concluded. After visiting the Duomo, head over to the Galleria for shopping and dining. Built in 1861, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is named after the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. The iron and glass roof is a significant 19th century architectural design by Pevsner and Hitchcock. The massive barrel vaults crowned with giant domes were remarkable architectural structures during its time. The Galleria is home to some of Milan’s oldest shops, including the very original Prada store.
2. Triennale Design Museum
Not only does Triennale Design Museum feature fantastic design exhibitions, it also has a lovely café ideal for breakfast. Here, the exhibitions change annually, meanwhile the museum also owns permanent collections of Italian designs. Don’t miss the media library which highlights design, art, and architecture that captivate artists from around the world. Since it’s situated in Sempione Park, you can stroll through the museum then make your way to Castello Sforzesco (castle in the middle of the city,) then head over to the Duomo.
3. Fondazione Prada
Or Prada Foundation, is another must-see for art lovers. Co-chaired by Miuccia Prada (the youngest granddaughter of Mario Prada and head of the family-owned luxury company since 1978) and Patrizio Bertelli (Prada’s husband,) the museum focuses on modern art and culture. The building itself is a former distillery transformed into an exhibition space, a multifunctional auditorium, and a nine-story tower displaying Prada’s collections. After touring the museum, rest your feet at the ultra trendy café designed by Wes Anderson. It serves fabulous cocktails and aperitivos.
4. Palazzo Reale
Located on the other side of the Duomo – opposite from the Galleria – is the Royal Palace of Milan. Today, it is home to extraordinary international contemporary art exhibitions that extends over 7,000 square meters. Every year, it showcases more than 1,500 incredible pieces. On the main floor of the building, you’ll see Hall of Caryataids which was hugely damaged by air raids during World War II. It has been left in its damaged form as a reminder of war’s shattering ravage. The original neoclassical building was designed by Empress Maria Theresa’s favorite architect, Giuseppe Piermarini.
Despite being further out of the city, Pirelli Hangar Bicocca is another cool contemporary art exhibition hotspot. The building is a former Pirelli factory converted into a 10,900 square meter gallery hall back in 2012. Here, you’ll discover a permanent installation by German artist Anselm Kiefer. The monumental towers symbolize a city which beholds both Jewish and German cultures. During the 1980’s, HangarBicocca was created as part of an urban development plan aimed to makeover several underused industrial sites into college campuses, cultural venues, and office spaces.
6. 10 Corso Como
It began as an art gallery and a bookshop, today it’s the hottest address in Milan attracting millions of tourists a year. Fashion lovers, art enthusiasts, and café people watchers gather at 10 Corso Como for the latest inspo on style and design. In 1998, the concept store expanded into a boutique hotel with three rooms. In 2003, a Roof Garden opened to attract more crowds. Even with numerous Corso Comos stores opening around the world in recent years, nothing beats the OG in Milano. It’s fabu for any boo.
NonostanteMarras is another beautiful concept store full of high fashion, trendy curios. Initiated by fashion designer Antonio Marras, nothing seems to match inside the boutique but everything somehow goes perfectly together. Similar to Marras’ runway shows that are full of drama and fashion, this store exudes a similar vibe. Untouched and unpainted walls against lush velvet couches and sophisticated garments, you’ll be dying to walk out with a glorious coffee table book or a dash of inspiration to redo your home.
8. Armani / Silos
Completely dedicated to his legendary style, Armani / Silos is a fashion art museum full of heritage collections. Opened in 2015, the exhibition space is located in the posh Tortona area and was conceived by the designer himself. It spans over 40 years of his career to the present by featuring 600+ looks and 200+ accessories. For any fashion geek, you’ll see that this museum gracefully reflects upon Armani’s elegant and tailored style. Simple yet beautifully done.
9. Galleria Rosanna Orlandi
Rossana Orlandi has been in fashion for more than two decades, as a consultant for companies like Armani and Donna Karan. Since 2002, she’s been transforming her tastefulness into a design gallery and a courtyard inside an old tie factory. As a private art collector, Orlandi also promotes emerging talents and curates several exhibitions. In her store, you can get a glimpse of whimsical yet functional home decor and art pieces that can flip any space into a magical sphere.
10. Six Gallery
Once Corso Como popularized the theory of concept stores, more have emerged onto Milano’s innovative design scene. One recent opening is Six Gallery in Navigli district where art and style can be accessible yet quirky. The pieces here start from classic elegance to vintage one-offs. Don’t miss its bistro attached to the gallery, Sixième is a snazzy place for a bubbly.
11. Villa Necchi
In the bustling Golden Triangle of Milan, Villa Necchi is a tranquil oasis that features a swimming pool, a tennis court, and a gorgeous garden. Built between 1932 and 1935, the villa was home to Angelo Campiglio of the Lombard industrial families and later featured in the film “Io Sono Amore” (I Am Love) starring Tilda Swinton about a tragic love story set in Milan. You’ll need to make an appointment with a guide to tour the villa, but this unique experience is a charming look inside intimate lives in the villa during the 1930’s.