Milan for Fashionistas

Photo by Mike Beales

Dedicated followers of fashion flock to this cosmopolitan city for shopping and more

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The north-eastern area of Milan is its commercial district, from the renowned luxury fashion District to the very popular Corso Buenos Aires, which is almost 2kms long and lined with hundreds of small shops. The leafy expanse of the Giardini Pubblici acts as a green boundary between these two zones.

Corso Buenos Aires links  Piazza Oberdan to Piazzale Loreto and is one of the busiest and most dynamic trade and transit routes in Milan. Besides being one of the go-to shopping destinations for a wide range of merchandise, it also offers plenty of other good reasons to visit during the day or evening.  The Teatro Elfo Puccini is one of the renowned locations of Milanese culture and the Boschi Di Stefano house museum was created by the passionate spouses Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano who amassed one of the most important collections of artistic Milanese twentieth-century heritage.

Spazio Oberdan hosts shows, exhibitions and has the a Fondazione Cineteca italiana screening room. Corso Buenos Aires and the network of adjoining streets all buzz with a myriad bars and restaurants and it is one of the major LGBT-friendly areas of the city.

Milan’s Fashion Quadrilateral

It is in the so-called central “Quadrilateral” area that the major national and global luxury brands have established their businesses over the years. One of the access points, via Montenapoleone, is the most important and luxurious street in Milan and, with the parallel streets – via della Spiga and via Sant’Andrea, via Gesù, via Santo Spirito and via Borgospesso running perpendicularly to forms the heart of the district, historically known as the Quattro Borghi.

Visitors strolling around the Quadrilateral can delve in a very special atmosphere of elegant showrooms and alluring window displays. Nestled in amongst the boutiques, however, there are also prestigious palazzi that play host to important cultural entities: for example, the Bagatti Valsecchi house museum and the historical collections of Palazzo Morando dedicated to costumes, fashion and image.

Leaving via Montenapoleone in the direction of Corso Matteotti, arrive in Piazza San Babila: until the early thirties the open space in front of the church of San Babila – built in the eleventh century upon the ruins of an earlier place of worship and remodelled several times over the years – was initially a crossroads built in correspondence to the ancient porta Orientale, today’s Porta Venezia. The current layout of the piazza is the result of a series of urban planning proposals summarized in the 1934 city planning regulations.

From the Giardini Pubblici to Corso Venezia

Spread over approximately 17 hectares, the Giardini Pubblici are situated between Corso Venezia, Via Palestro, Piazza Cavour, via Manin and the ramparts of Porta Venezia. Created at the end of the eighteenth century, and designed by Giuseppe Piermarini, they were the city’s first public gardens: the “French-style” layout is identifiable in the shapes of the flowerbeds, in the wide tree-lined avenues, in the stairway that connects the gardens to the ramparts and in the gates with their neoclassical vases.

The original layout was modified by Giuseppe Balzaretto and Emilio Alemagna between 1857 and 1881 with the addition of ponds, waterfalls, hummocks and replica rocks. Between 1890 and 1915 some statues were placed in the park and the area was expanded on the western and eastern limits to include the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale – one of the most important natural history museums in Italy – and the Planetarium, donated to the city by the publisher Ulrico Hoepli, one of the most prestigious Italian institutions of outreach and education related to astronomy and astrophysics. In 2002, the Giardini were renamed in honour of the journalist Indro Montanelli (1909-2001) and a statue, also dedicated to him by the sculptor Vito Tongiani, was placed at the Piazza Cavour entrance.

The majestic Villa Reale stands in front of the Via Palestro exit, one of the most significant examples of neoclassical architecture in Milan, built between 1790 and 1796 as a grand residence for Count Lodovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso. It now houses the Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Civic Gallery of Modern Art) and the PAC Contemporary Art Pavilion on the site of the old stables, a venue for exhibitions that was inaugurated in 1954.

Milan’s Stazione Centrale and the Pirelli skyscraper

Majestic symbol of entry to the city, Milano Centrale is one of the largest train stations in Europe and the second in Italy for number of passengers in transit. The massive stone structure, built by Ulisse Stacchini between 1927 and 1931, combines eclecticism, liberty and Roman monumentality, and is adorned with sculptural elements ordered by the fascist regime. The station forecourt was renovated between 2005 and 2010: the Galleria delle Carrozze is linked to the underground level, while the passageways to the Galleria di Testa are re-equipped with new ramps, a new ticket office and a multilevel retail space.

In front of platform 21 which houses the Shoah Memorial, stands the Padiglione Reale which is renowned for its classical architecture. A short distance away the Pirelli skyscraper is an emblem of the economic dynamism of post-war Milan. Designed by Gio Ponti, it was built between 1955 and 1960 as the administrative headquarters of Pirelli industries. 127 meters in height it was one of the tallest concrete buildings in Europe. Headquarters of the Lombardy Region since 1978, the thirty-first floor offers magnificent views over the entire city.

Ideas compliments of Tourismo Milano.

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