When I’m researching for things to do in a city, I usually steer away from sites like Rick Steves, Goop, or Lonely Planet - as they focus too much on places that tend to be touristy, overhyped, and far too often removed from the reality of locals. Instead, I call up my network and ask them if they can put me in contact with people that have lived in the city that I’ll soon be roaming in. They help me create a list of all those places that are hard to find and are often overlooked in these guided tours. So as you land in Milan for your holidays this upcoming year, let me be that local contact of yours. Instead of giving you a checklist of places that have probably seen in countless Instagram model’s profiles and that will probably be flocked by street vendors that are there to scam you upright, let me give you my well kept secrets of Milan so that you may enjoy the city like a true Milanese. This is my 24 hour guide of Milano. 

Milano - as you should call it like the rest of Italians - is known to be the NYC of Italy; it hosts both the financial and the design capital of the boot-like country. It is easy to be engulfed in the staccato sounds of the city as bikes, Vespas, 19th century trams, and bullet trains fight for your ear’s attention 24/7. Despite this, there are still places in Milano that guarantee that quiet Italian breeze that has forever been immortalized; that’s why I recommend choosing Un Posto a Milano as your home base. The hotel is the product of an urban farmstead project nestled within the rushing streets of Milano - the farmstead promotes sustainable lifestyles, healthy eating, urban agriculture, and permaculture. This hotel will serve as your cocoon during your one day tour of Milano. 

Early Morning:
Start your day early but slowly - you need to relax during those first few hours of the dawn. Wake up early, stretch your body, ponder in the room for some minutes and get ready for a day full of walking and introspection. This is what Italians call il dolce far niente - the sweetness of doing nothing. Before leaving your room, I recommend taking a serious look at your outfit - remember Milano is all about fashion - and when in Milano, dress like the Milanese.  

Walk your way up Corso Lodi until you reach Arco di Porta Romana. The prevailing bricks that you’ll see are the remains of the ancient door that would take you directly to Rome - hence it’s name. From there, walk down on Viale Sabotino as you see all the rushing students going to Bocconi University, just follow any trendy girl and she’ll probably be heading to have breakfast where you will be having some as well - Pasticceria Gattullo. Once there, you could have a cappuccino and a Nutella croissant but these two things could be easily found in any Starbucks back in your hometown. Instead, go for a pistachio-stuffed croissant and a Marocchino (Italian for Moroccan) which consists of a shot of espresso topped off with milk froth and powdered cocoa. Do not forget to look out for your local group of sciure (Milanese for lady); they are rich, glamorous grandmas that usually sport a fur coat, pearl necklaces, and cat-eyed sunglasses. They are a Milanese endangered species; if you don’t believe me follow @sciuraglam on Instagram.

Arco di Porta Romana by Gianfranco Marmo

Bocconi University by Glassdoor

Late Morning:
Once you’ve finished your breakfast, head south to Fondazione Prada. There you’ll find a curated exhibition that invites introspection. My personal favorite is Carsten Holler’s Upside Down Mushroom Room which explores the perception of psychoactive elements and nature. Once you’re over these giant mushrooms, head downstair to Wes Anderson’s Bar Luce and grab some San Pellegrino fizzy water - you’ll need it for the next stretch of the walk.

Fondazione Prada by Dezeen

Wes Anderson’s Bar Luce by Fondazine Prada

 Early Afternoon:
Now you’re going to head towards Porta Venezia - Milano’s underdog neighborhood. Unfortunately, the neighborhood has been going through a lot of societal and demographic change as it is slowly being gentrified. There you’ll find one of Milano’s typical old school restaurants - Da Rosy e Gabriele. Grab Ossobuco di vitello con Risotto alla Milanese - Milano’s official dish. This dish will leave you stuffed and perhaps should be taken only if you’re ready to have a food comma afterwards. It’s okay if you order an espresso after this huge meal - trust me. 

Da Rosy e Gabriele by TripAdvisor

Late Afternoon:
Now that you’ve rested a bit and gotten your dose of caffeine, take the red metro line from Porta Venezia Metro Station towards Concillazione Metro Station. We will now be heading to an interior design’s Mecca - Spazio Rossana Orlandi.  Spazio Rossana Orlandi - once a tie factory - now celebrates fresh and upcoming design. If you’re lucky Sciura Orlandi herself might be at the premises, try to strike a chat with her and ask her about anything! I recommend asking her about when she used to go to school with Franco Moschino. Walk with your eyes wide open and just let the furniture pieces talk by themselves - take it all in and enjoy the art. 

Porta Venezia Metro Station by Wikimedia.org

Spazio Rossana Orlandi by Flawless Life.
It’s will soon be 5:00 PM by the time you finish touring Spazio Rossana Orlandi - and 5:00 PM means only one thing in Milano - it’s aperitivo time. Aperitivo should not be - in any way shape or form - compared with the generic and worldly happy hour. Aperitivo is an Italian institution and it has been even painstakingly refined by the Milanese. I think that describing aperitivo would not do it justice so I’ll give you the task and the suspense to discover what it is by yourself. From Studio Rossana Orlandi, walk down to Sant’Ambrogio Metro Station and take the metro to Moscova Metro Station. Upon exiting the metro, head towards Largo Foppa - by that time you should find a crowd of suited men gathering around Gucci’s Art wall. This is the place to be if you want to find a nice and probably affluent Italian man to talk to the whole night. You’ll have a plethora of places to choose from to do aperitivo at Largo Foppa but I recommend walking the street up until you get to 10 Corso Como. Go inside and asked to be seated on the terrace - don’t forget to stare north at Piazza Gae Aulenti while you sip on your Aperol Spritz - like a real Milanese. 

10 Corso Como by Flawless Life.

Piazza Gae Aulenti 

It should be around 7:30 PM  and despite all the munching you had during aperitivo -  soon you should start thinking about dinner. Walk towards Piazza Gae Aulenti and you might get a glimpse of the majestic Bosco Verticale. Head west to the Garibaldi FS Metro station and take the green line to Centrale FS; don’t exit the metro station but take the yellow line to Crocetta Metro Station. Leave the metro station and walk down Corso di Porta Romana; once you see the a queue outside of people with some Prosecco and schicciate in hand, you’ll know you are in the right place. You just arrived to PizzAm; one of the most beloved pizza places in town. You’ll be greeted by grinning waiters with the aforementioned food. You’ll wait some minutes and once you manage to get in, you’ll be walking into this Keith Haring-esque room. This place has high customer turnover so don’t expect staying there for long. Order ANY pizza - they are all out-of-this-world. Don’t get confused when the waiters come over with shot glasses filled with a neon-like substance - that’s both limoncello and meloncello. Don’t hesitate and just enjoy it.

Bosco Verticale by Gianfranco Marmo.
Corso Di Porta Romana by Wikimedia.or

Late Night:

You’ve been probably in a drinking spree since aperitivo but I’m sure all the food has helped you hold your liquor. I hope you’re acting composed; drunk behavior is heavily frowned upon in Italy. Despite this, I believe a good day probably ends with some extra cocktails and I’m confident you can handle a few more drinks. I’ll be suggesting two bars that are on their way to your hotel; both with different vibes to suit your mood. If you are looking for a mellow atmosphere, I recommend going Dhole on Via Tiraboschi and asking for a the Rub' Al-Khali cocktail and call it a day. If you are looking for something more easy-going, go to Lacerba just a few steps away from Pizza Am. Here I recommend taking the Tiki Mahal - a rum based cocktail with South Asian flavors. Feel free to roam the bar’s street and chat with the local there - they tend to be more of a relaxed bilingual tribe.
Dhole by milanofoodspirits.com
Wrapping things up:
After you have had your drink(s) in any of the two places, make sure to head back to your hotel (or not). It has been a long day and perhaps one that should be followed by a relaxed day trip to Lago di Como. However this is where I -  your local guide - must conclude that this is it from my side. I hope you have enjoyed Milano like a true Milanese and I trust that you can find your way around the touristy traps by another day. This is a 24 hour guide of Milano by your favorite local. 
Alla prossima!
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