Alternative things to do in Milan
Milan is generally considered more chic than alternative, but there’s more to the fashion capital of Italy than designer labels and Fashion Week parties. From the blossoming bohemian neighbourhood of Isola to the trendy stores and restaurants across the city, discover another side to Milan with this two-day itinerary.
Start your day at the Fondazione Prada, a 20-minute taxi ride from the hotel. Alternatively, take the M3 line for 20 minutes from the nearby Repubblica station to Lodi T.I.B.B., followed by a 10-minute walk.
Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, the huge Fondazione Prada is striking inside and out (one of its ten buildings is painted head to toe in 24-carat gold leaf). Housing a vast collection of contemporary art, this centre will satisfy any culture cravings. Wes Anderson designed the onsite café, a whimsical place to grab a coffee and play a game of pinball.
Next, take a 20-minute taxi ride to M Collective.
M Collective Store
M Collective is a concept store that brings over 400 designers and artists together under one very stylish roof. Part shop and part gallery, the store invites visitors to browse a diverse selection of clothing, accessories, gifts and gadgets while discovering innovative artworks and installations on the shop’s walls.
Hop in a taxi for the 20-minute journey to Corso Como 10.
Corso Como 10
Corso Como 10 is at once a store, art gallery and bookshop. The bright, quirky space showcases stunning displays of art, photography, literature, contemporary fashion and accessories, design and music. It’s also home to a courtyard café, a relaxing space in which to enjoy a delicious lunch.
Spend the afternoon in Isola, a 10-minute taxi ride away.
The neighbourhood of Isola is the epitome of alternative Milan. Considered to be the city’s new bohemian district, its walls are covered in colourful street art and its roads lined with vintage stores and achingly hip bars and restaurants. Slightly cut off from the rest of the capital by railway tracks, Isola is one of Milan’s best-kept secrets – for now, at least.
Treat yourself to dessert at Artico Gelato Tradizionale, a five-minute stroll from Isola metro station.
Artico Gelato Tradizionale
Italy is famed for its gelato, and Artico is a traditional ice cream parlour with a contemporary twist. The emphasis here is on simple, high quality ingredients and sophisticated flavour combinations. There are fresh fruit ice creams and an ample selection of chocolate options, but it’s creamy pistachio that reigns here. Choose from a black pepper or salted version.
To get back to the hotel, take a 10-minute taxi ride from Artico Gelato Tradizionale
Start the day with a 30-minute walk or 20-minute drive from the hotel to Peck. Alternatively, catch the metro from Repubblica to Duomo for five minutes and Peck is a further five-minute stroll away.
While Milan has excellent restaurants, the city’s authentic Italian food emporiums are equally enthralling for foodies. Peck is one of the leading gourmet delis in Milan. As well as sourcing and presenting the finest wines, cheeses, meats, fruit and vegetables, and condiments from across the country, the chefs at Peck craft a wide selection of items daily, such as fresh pasta and patisserie goods.
To reach the next stop, take a 25-minute drive to the top of Naviglio Grande Canal.
Naviglio Grande Canal
Naviglio Grande, running through the heart of the city’s up-and-coming neighbourhood of Navigli, is worth visiting for its postcard-perfect views alone. The picturesque canal is lined with bars, cafés, restaurants, art galleries and independent boutiques selling authentic Italian wares. For the best vistas, pass over the waterway’s pretty bridges.
Drop into GinO12, located along the Naviglio Grande canal at the back of the Officina12 restaurant.
Nestled in the back of Italian restaurant Officina12 is GinO12, the first dedicated gin bar in Milan. A chic place for an aperitif, guests can sit in the industrial-style bar or outside in the pretty courtyard as they explore an extensive menu of gin-based cocktails.
Before heading back to the hotel, take a 15-minute stroll via Corso Genova to Le Biciclette.
Le Biciclette is a bike workshop-turned-bistro and bar popular with a trendy, creative crowd. While the kitchen cooks up a storm of modern Italian cuisine, the restaurant acts as a gallery, showcasing a range of contemporary arts, from paintings and photography to live gigs and DJ sets.
Hail a taxi to get back to the hotel in just 15 minutes.
All journey times are approximate and subject to variation.