It’s almost Design Week time in Milan, which is one of the most frenetic and vital moment for the city. For the occasion Polpettas will be your personal guide: a proper manual to best areas of Milan, starting from Brera, nothing less than the Design District.
Fioraio Bianchi Caffè isn’t anything really new for the Brera district. Instead it’s more like an institution. Born 40 years ago by the project of Raimondo Bianchi, it evolved in time but its essence remained the same: a bistrot with an Italian cuisine, a general French aura and, obviously, a flower shop. Stop by for a coffee and a flower arrangement or stay for an aperitif and the dinner.
Moleskine has its own café in Milan, filled with utterly modern vibes and a perfect lighting for taking Instagram shots. Aesthetic aside, the matter of coffee is taken very seriously here. Choose carefully from the menu, if you like what you drink you also might be able to buy it from the shop. The space is structured in two floors and overall it’s perfect for studying, relaxing or enjoying a meal. Could you picture Hemingway sitting outside?
“Go bio and go home”. Well, no more! You can go bio while enjoying a meal prepared by a real chef: it’s possibile at Bioesserì in Brera. Starting from the concept of Natura Sì shop – the supermarket brand devoted to bio and healthy food – this place offers an intriguing menu, tasty and variegated, which also includes pizzas with classic, whole wheat or gluten free crust.
“A harbour corner comes back to life in the heart of Brera” is how Fishbar de Milan defines itself. We say: mission accomplished. This delightful place rises where the Laghetto di San Marco was once located. It was one of the harbours of the city in the ‘30s, a lively intersection for traffics and goods. Now it’s a nice spot to taste an italian maritime menu, with international interferences and a wink to street food. Will you choose the Salmonburger or the Fish&Chips de Milan?
BONUS OPTION: (Not a fish lover? Try the “Meatbar de Milan” in via Solferino 😉 )
It’s not a coincidence that this area is called Brera Design District: it wouldn’t be a complete guide without a design shop on the list. And Raw is a very special one: a sort of cabinet de curiosités, as they say. Here contemporary and vintage coexist perfectly: moreover one can find rare objects and works of design by designers such as John Derian, Berlin Kuhn Keramik, Astier de Villatte, Jonathan Adler… Our personal favourite? The Beija Flor pieces!
Do you have a thing with stationery? We understand you. For you there’s an enchanted store you can’t miss in Milan: Rigadritto will make you feel like a child again. Get lost among this Neverland made up of notebooks, pencils, toys and postcards. It’s almost impossible to get out without buying anything, but you will also find amazing gifts for your beloved (especially if they’re stationery freaks as well).
If you’re a nostalgic soul, then Il Cirmolo is definitely a do-not-miss place in Milan. Again, this store also looks like a cabinet de curiosités and even more like a space that calls to be explored. What kind of objects can you find and buy? Well, the possibilities are infinite: English items from the ‘800, furniture from the ‘900, countless objects linked to the nautical culture, vintage toys and amazing advertising signs (like iconic ones from Pepsi, Campari…).
The National Braidense Library is located at the very heart of the district, in the same building of the famous Pinacoteca and the Academy of Brera. That’s what you’ll find at the number 28 of via Brera, one of the greatest library of Italy, with about 1.5 millions of volumes. It opened in 1786 to the public and it still runs as a classic library where to borrow books or study, and where are also collected some of the most precious literary works. The atmosphere is solemn, wood all over, and the silence reigns here.
Fancy some more culture? The Piccolo Teatro Strehler is called “piccolo” [small] but its production is great. It hosts also dancing shows, concerts and movie fairs in order to be representative as a complete place. Right about outside the metro station of Lanza, it’s impossible not to see it.
The Botanical gardens in Brera are a green space that might be unknown to some Milanese people as well. Perfect spot for a break from the city chaos, they’re also a well used location during the Design Week. The entrance is free and guided visits can be arranged. The property belongs to the University of Milan and it also houses the Astronomical Museum of Brera.
Images via: Orto Botanico di Brera