EGM’s Guide to Milan During Fashion Week – or Thereafter
Depending on who you ask in Italy, Milan is either the country’s most exciting or least-interesting city. The northern powerhouse – the nation’s beating financial and economic heart – doesn’t have the grace of Venice, the grandness of Rome, or the intoxicating thrill of Naples, but is easily the most cosmopolitan. This means world-class cafes, restaurants, galleries, and other attractions that make each visit more memorable. It’s also famous for a little upcoming event you might have heard of, Milan’s Fashion Week…
With so much to see, eat, drink, and do, we’ve compiled a short list of some of our favourite spots to get you through a weekend – locally-renown addresses in Italy’s most dynamic city. And to make it even better, we’ve added some spots where you can enjoy your favourite cigars in peace.
Thank heavens for the Bulgari Hotel group. They remain the most reliable place to indulge in our tobacco fix in so many major cities, and Milan is no different. The cigar room is next to the bar, and is as elegant as one might expect. Why not bring a travel-ready assortment of H. Upmann Regalias to while away the time?
Via Privata Fratelli Gabba, 7B, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Westin Palace Hotel
At the Westin Palace, a chic and comfortable lounge awaits. It’s more lowkey than the Bvlgari Hotel, which makes for a pleasingly calm environment as you ponder your next drink or dinner address. Speaking of which…
Piazza della Repubblica, 20, 20124 Milano MI, Italy
Bistrot Giacomo isn’t the latest, most avant-garde place to eat in Milan, but it’s the one well-heeled locals would choose. The dining room is ornate. The bar is elegant. There is something of an old-world class about the place, with traditional Milanese dishes (like the risotto with truffles) and attentive, white-shirted waiting staff. Expect to see hip creative directors and returning elderly guests rubbing shoulders – such is Bistrot Giacomo’s wide appeal.
Via Pasquale Sottocorno, 6, 20129 Milano MI, Italy
There are few places so wedded to preserving classic Milanese cooking as Damma-Atra. Located in the bustling Navigli area, you can indulge in their saffron rice, fried chisolini bread, and cotoletta, safe in the understanding that this is as authentic (and as satisfying) as it gets.
Via Elia Lombardini 1, 20143 Milan Italy
Lowkey Lunch at Luini
A must-have in Milan, when on-the-go, is the famous panzerotti at Luini. Resembling a mini calzone, the panzerotti is a savoury fried pillow stuffed with tomato and mozzarella, and is surprisingly light on the stomach (should you still have plenty of walking to do.) The bakery is just two minutes from the Duomo, meaning you can grab a selection of their goodies – including sweets – and sit in the grand piazza, in front of one of the most iconic cathedrals in the world. Bliss.
Via Santa Radegonda, 16, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
This designer-style restaurant is situated on the fourth floor of the historic ENEL palazzo. Currently listed on the Michelin Guide, the appeal here is the stunning view of Milan, as well as a swimming pool that conjures images of the Jet-Set era. There’s a handy cigar lounge, too, and with a setting like this, there are few better places to enjoy a
Via Ceresio, 7, 20154 Milano MI, Italy
The Doping Club
Situated in the Yard Hotel, The Doping Club has a reputation for attracting the trendier Milanese; with a setting designed to have the feel of an explorer’s hangout (think antiques and refined furnishings.) The cocktails are impeccable, made by the establishment’s self-named ‘barchemists’ who come up with strange and alluring concoctions. Pair yours with a refined cigar by La Gloria.
Aethos, Piazza Ventiquattro Maggio, 8, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
An institution for aperol cocktails. Bar Basso is the Italian La Dolce Vita of the sixties – Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Peppino di Capri… All the mid-century glamour associated with the city is distilled here, and savoured through one of their famous Negronis or a Spritz.
Via Plinio, 39, 20020 Milano MI, Italy
This speakeasy, hidden near Via Spartaco, requires a password (here’s a hint: go to the owner’s other spot, the hip Mag Cafe in Navigli, and ask there.) But it’s well worth it. Inside is one of the best watering-holes in the country, with award-winning bar staff and chefs and a relaxed attitude to smoking cigars. If you can make it there, the 1930 Bar will undoubtedly be your favourite bar in the city.
Aperitivo in Navigli
Almost anywhere in Navigli is good for an aperitivo, and it’s a perfect location to sit outside, smoke, and watch the world pass by. Favourites include the Mag Cafe, Spritz Navigli Milano, and the Manhattan. A great place to stop by is the unusual Backdoor 43, which claims to be the smallest bar in the world. Stop by the front and ask to book a seat before dinner – the selection of whiskeys is a highlight.There's obviously so much more to do in Milan. Have you visited any of the locations on this list? Let us know below whether there are any addresses you would add on a quick stopover in Italy's northern city.