Arianna Malacrida hails from a small town just outside Milan, but decided to make the move to the big city while studying media and communications. After spending a lot of time couch surfing, she settled on a flat in the Porta Genova neighborhood and started sharing her insider intelligence about Milan with the world via Spotted by Locals. Here are a few of her favorite things about Italy’s second-largest city.

Milan is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is the Navigli area, where the canals of Milan can be found. There are a lot of bars and restaurants where you can just have a drink or a nice meal.

Arianna's pick for best museum in Milan: The Museo del Novecento  (Photograph by Ylbert Durishti, Flickr)

Arianna’s pick for best museum in Milan: The Museo del Novecento (Photograph by Ylbert Durishti, Flickr)

My city’s best museum is Museo del Novecento, which opened in late 2010 beside the Duomo cathedral in Milan’s central square, because it has a very good collection of 20th-century art (hence its name, which translates to Museum of the 20th Century).

On the last Sunday of each month, the antique market along the Naviglio Grande is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

You can see my city best from the top of the Duomo cathedral. Walk up or take the elevator: standing on the white marble you have a complete view of Milano.

Locals know to skip the main streets with all the shopping stores and check out the quiet little alleys instead.

September is the best time to visit my city because the weather is warm, but not too hot.

Basilicas park is so named because it connects two major churches (Photograph by Emiliano Chionaky, Flickr)

Basilicas park is so named because it connects two major churches (Photograph by Emiliano Chionaky, Flickr)

The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is Parco delle Basiliche, a little park behind the San Lorenzo and the Sant’Eustorgio churches. It’s not the biggest park in the city, but it’s a great place to witness locals doing their thing. 

My city really knows how to celebrate design because Milan Design Week, held each spring, is one of the times when the city is full of parties and events.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they’re dressed with care and have a special eye for style.

For a fancy night out, I would recommend the Brera district, where you can find nice restaurants and a lively atmosphere.

Just outside my city, you can visit the little villages along lago di Como or lago Maggiore.

My city is known for being obsessed with fashion and work, but it’s really varied. You can find laid back areas.

Milan Design Week, or Salone, is the largest interior design trade fairs in the world.  (Photograph by Bontempo Móveis de Alto, Flickr)

Milan Design Week, or Salone, is the largest interior design trade fairs in the world. (Photograph by Bontempo Móveis de Alto, Flickr)

The best outdoor market in my city is in the neighborhood called Isola, close to Garibaldi train station, on Saturdays.

Cucchi pastry shop is my favorite place to grab breakfast (the croissants and cappuccinos are the best), and the little kiosks outside the main bars and discos are the spots for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read Tuttomilano or Vivimilano, the weekly magazines published by the city’s two main newspapers La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, respectively.

My city’s biggest sports event is the Stramilano Marathon. Watch it at Castello Sforzesco.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I have the Milanese style “happy hour,” where you can eat from a buffet for less than 10 euros. A lot of bars offer it.

To escape the crowds, I take a stroll down the first little street I find. In the center of the city, there are plenty of places to explore beside the crowded Via Torino.

Just outside Milan, you can visit the Lake Como region. (Photograph by David Nicholls, Flickr)

Just outside Milan, you can visit the Lake Como region. (Photograph by David Nicholls, Flickr)

If my city were a celebrity it’d be Anne Hathaway because she is an elegant and stylish woman, able to change her haircut when needed.

The dish that represents my city best is risotto alla Milanese, and Negroni Sbagliato (Mistaken Negroni) is my city’s signature drink.

Acquario is my favorite building in town.

The most random thing about my city is the Balera dell’ortica, a place where you feel like you’re in the ’50s.

The Alcatraz and Salumeria della Musica are the best places to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Plastic.

The Tram Ristorante ATMosfera, a movie tram where you can enjoy a fancy dinner on the move, could only happen in my city.

The Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) in summer (Photograph by Félix Prado, Flickr)

The Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) in summer (Photograph by Félix Prado, Flickr)

In the spring you should not take the metro and enjoy walking around and getting lost discovering unexpected corners.

In the summer you should have a picnic and sunbathe in the park, any park.

In the fall you should take the old tram line 29 and have a look around the city from the original wooden seats.

In the winter you should visit museums and old churches to escape the cold.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss Giardini della Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte: it’s a special garden where only kids can enter, or adults if they are with kids!

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s it can seem unfriendly because of traffic jams and the noise but you can simply turn a corner to find some peace.

In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because each area has its own personality. Milan runs the gamut — from very posh spots to truly quiet places.

Comments

  1. Emily Whitehead
    Napoli, Italy
    June 16, 10:22 am

    Hi, great post as I may be moving to Milano soon it was very helpful. I’m actually trying to gather Milano bloggers for an Orphea campaign that they will be running soon. In exchange for an article they’ll send a gift basket of products and an exclusive invite to the July 3rd event in Parco Indro Montanelli (Ptz Venezia), Milano. Is this something you’d be interested in? Please let me know at emily.whitehead [at] buzzoole [dot] com Thanks so much, cheers.

  2. Musement
    Milan
    March 1, 10:50 am

    We love these tips, Arianna! Lots of great insider tips for Milan. To discover some of the city’s greatest museums we think you’d love Musement, our new cultural experiences and museum booking app that allows you to reserve in one click! http://www.musement.com

  3. Sherry
    Bristol UK
    September 10, 2013, 10:33 am

    Milan is a really romantic place. I am thinking of asking my husband to take us there for our next anniversary getaway so I am looking for romantic boutique hotels in Milan that are near these places shown on this article. I checked WorldTop7.com where they have a unique selection of beautiful luxury Milan hotels at http://worldtop7.com/us/milan/boutique-hotel/ I wonder which one is nearest to these tourist destinations? Thoughts anyone? Thanks!

  4. Muhammad Haris Afaq
    Pakistan
    September 9, 2013, 5:21 am

    The MIlan is Amazing and the way to describe it is more efficient

  5. Gianni Lovato
    Chatham, NY
    September 6, 2013, 9:24 am

    WOW! Brava Arianna! Che nostalgia!! Great pictures and commentary about MY hometown.
    Nella foto dell’Arco della Pace si vede la casa dei miei Genitori (C.so Sempione, 1!!!).
    But you forgot to mention Peck and the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnica. ;-))
    Thank you for taking me “back home”.

  6. Renuka
    September 5, 2013, 5:33 am

    Wow…I liked the detailed description on Milan….It is charming!