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Swinging Furniture

DESIGN WEEK – Our tips for you – 4. Swinging Furniture

During the Design Week, Fonderia Napoleonica will turn into a surprising indoor oasis, inspired by the traditional Hakoniwa, the miniature Japanese garden. Organic furniture made of wood, paper and brass, will be hanging from the tall roof, integrating in their structure natural elements such as trees.

The project, called “Swinging Furniture”, is signed by Enzo Satoru Tabata and Daiken Eiji Suzuki, of Team Balanco, and also includes hanging installations by Jukai and immersive sculptures by Barbara Crimella.

Fonderia Napoleonica is a very evocative place in itself. In the heart of the peculiar Isola neighborhood and close to Santa Maria alla Fontana sanctuary, the Manfredini brothers established in 1806 a prestigious bronze foundry and named it Fonderia Napoleonica Eugenia, in the honour of the viceroy of the Italian Kingdom, Eugenio di Beauharnais.

Nowadays the ancient buildings accommodate a museum, dedicated to the history of the art of founding and to the activities of the Barigozzi family, which succeeded Manfredinis, and who cast bronze bells and monuments for over a century.
On april 13th Fonderia will be open until 9 pm for the tea ceremony. Everybody is invited.

Fonderia Napoleonica is in via Genova Thaon di Revel 21, and will be open from April 9 to 14, 10 am to 8 pm.

Tadao Ando and Giorgio Armani

DESIGN WEEK – Our tips for you – 3. Armani and Ando

This year’s Design Week sees a special collaboration between two masters: Giorgio Armani and Tadao Ando.

"The Challenge"

“The Challenge”

Just opened in via Bergognone, “The Challenge” is the first exhibition at Armani Silos dedicated to architecture. It showcases the career of the Japanese architect that has distinguished himself for his original use of nature and the combination of elements like water and light in designed spaces.

Giorgio Armani and Tadao Ando share an affinity for minimalism, and their joint work culminated in the early 00s with the visually striking Armani/Teatro building, a project the Japanese architect was called upon due to his sensibility towards the designer’s unadorned style, creating a neutral base for the reveal of new collections. Armani/Teatro is usually not open to the public, but it will be accessible all through the Design Week until April 14th.

“The Challenge” reviews the career of Ando, who won the Pritzker Price in 1995, and is structured around four major themes: Primitive Shapes of Space, An Urban Challenge, Landscape Genesis, Dialogues with History. The retrospective includes over 50 projects, illustrated with sketches, original models, video installations, technical drawings, travel notes and photographs taken by Ando himself.
The creative principles of the master of contemporary architecture are explored through his most significant works, from Row House in Sumiyoshi – Azuma House (1976), to Project in Naoshima (1988 to today) and La Bourse de Commerce in Paris (2019).



DESIGN WEEK – Our tips for you – 2. Brera Design District

Brera is one one the most stimulating hubs during the Design Week.
This year, Brera Design District celebrates its 10th anniversary, and the cobblestone streets of the picturesque neighborhood will host a wealth of initiatives and events.

Design Your Life

Design Your Life

The 2019 theme is “Design Your Life”, that draws inspiration from Bill Burnett and Dave Evans’ book “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life” (Alfred a Knopf Inc, September 2016). “Design your life” is a call to awareness: designers have been asked to be more committed to the sustainable impact of their work.

Our favourite project is definitely “Planetario”, by Cristina Celestino. In Brera Design Apartment, Celestino has designed a scenographic retrofuturistic interior project, featuring a new collection of carpets created for Besana Carpet Lab. It is a dreamy, unexpected home scenario inspired by the themes of space and its antithesis, the underwater world. Brera Design Apartment is in via Palermo 1, 3°floor, and is open until April 14 from 10 am to 7 pm.

We recommend to spend some time at the majestic Basilica di San Marco – gateway to Brera Design District – and in its historical cloisters, which have been turned into an enchanting urban garden thanks to dOT & ABLE TO. Green settings and outdoor solutions create an authentic oasis for everybody in the city center, where nature, design and beauty blend in offering unique views and relaxation.

If you happen to be in Milan with kids, they will love RoBOTL: a stately and massive 6 meters-tall installation located in piazza XXV Aprile. RoBOTL is the sustainability superhero, a symbol and warning that reminds us how important it is to safeguard the environment in which we live. The work is made of recycled plastic bottles and production scraps from the design industry, and is the official spokesperson to raise awareness to act in a conscious and responsible way, starting from the city in which we live. The project is signed by Timberland and Giò Forma, multi-award winning international studio made of designers, architects and artists, led by Cristiana Picco, Florian Boje e Claudio Santucci.

Leonardo Horse Project

DESIGN WEEK – Our tips for you – 1. Leonardo’s Horses

DESIGN WEEK – Our tips for you – 1. Leonardo’s Horses

Design Week + the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death = 13 Leonardo’s horses!

Yes, during the most hectic week of the year in Milan, the famous Leonardo’s horse will be replicated in 13 scale reproductions, or rather reinterpretations made by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists.

The Leonardo Horse Project is part of Milan’s celebration programme for the anniversary of Leonardo’s death. The genius from Vinci was commissioned a huge sculpture by the Duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro, in memory of his father Francesco. Of that sculpture, only the original sketches survived, and in 1999 american artist Nina Akamu cast a reproduction of it. Seven meters high, weighing 10 tons, Leonardo’s horse is one of the largest equine bronze sculpture in the world, and welcomes visitors to Milan’s hippodrome.

During the Design Week, the giant horse will be accompanied by its 13 replicas, made by designers such as Matteo Cibic and Markus Benesch and fashion designers such as Roberto Fragata. Colourful or kitsch, inspired by Native American culture or minimalistic, next week the 13 horses will be scattered around the city and placed in different Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic places, as a visual reminder of the coming opening day for the official celebrations, May 2nd. The day when Leonardo died 500 years ago.

Find more about Leonardo Horse Project, the history of Leonardo’s Horse and the 13 reinterpretations through a new and immersive experience provided by the free app.

Dan Flavin


Things to do in Milan this week – February 20-27

The best things to do in Milan this week, including Music, Art, Museums, Shopping and Restaurants, chosen by Bella Milano Tours.

VINTAGE MARKET – On Friday 22, in the streets around the ancient Basilica of Saint’Ambrogio, the bi-monthly Little Market will welcome you with stalls full of quality handmade Art and Craft: antiques and vintage furniture, handmade accessories, fancy jewels. A treasure trove for everybody. From 9 am to 7 pm.

Dan Flavin - Santa Maria Annunciata

Dan Flavin – Santa Maria Annunciata

ART LIGHT – The American minimalistic artist Dan Flavin is famous for creating sculptural objects and installations from fluorescent light fixtures. Galleria Cardi, in corso di Porta Romana 38, is hosting an exhibition of 14 of his works, spanning the arc of his career. Milan also houses a very emotional installation by Flavin, Untitled, which is in the little church of Santa Maria Annunciata in Chiesa Rossa. It was completed two days before Flavin’s death on November 26, 1996 and installed a year later, and it is made with green and blue neon lights for the main nave, red in the transept and yellow for the apse.

TOP WINES – The Science and Technology Museum is going to house Simply the Best, a wine show which boasts to host only the best wines from all over Italy. The selection is actually strict: only wines included in at least 3 of the 7 most important Italian wine guides will be admitted to the show. Guides are: Vitae, Bibenda, Veronelli, DoctorWine, L’Espresso, Gambero Rosso and Slow Wine. A great chance to taste products from the finest wineries in Italy. Monday 25 from 5.30 to 8.30, registration on the website is required.

Peck CityLife

Peck CityLife

GOURMET FOOD – Famous Peck, “the Tiffany of groceries”, has given birth to a little child: Peck CityLife, at the foot of the three new skyscrapers sorrounding the brand new piazza Tre Torri. It has three roles in one venue: a gourmet food store, an elegant restaurant, and a cocktail-bistrot. Valerio M. Visintin, chief food journalist at Corriere della Sera, awarded the new Peck a flattering mark: 7. We recommend it also for the design, with details reminding of landmarks in Milan such as Torre Velasca.

MUST DO – A private guided walking tour in Milan with us! This week we recommend the Aperitivo Tour: the perfect way to enjoy the unusually mild weather of these last February days.

La Magnifica Fabbrica


Things to do in Milan this week – January 30-February 5.
The best things to do in Milan this week, including Music, Art, Museums, Shopping and Restaurants, chosen by Bella Milano Tours.

Pinacoteca di Brera

Pinacoteca di Brera

SUNDAY AT THE MUSEUM – As on every first Sunday of the month, most of museums of Milan (and the rest of Italy) will be open free on Jan 2. Pinacoteca di Brera (Brera Picture Gallery), Museum of Natural History, Museo del Risorgimento, Sforza Castle… there is a wide choice for everybody, but  this month we definitely recommend Galleria d’Arte Moderna, where at 6 pm your visit will be accompanied by the music of Divertimento Ensemble. According to weather forcasts, it may rain on Sunday: there is no best excuse to spend a day walking from one room to the other amongst artistic masterpieces.

ARTS & CRAFTS MARKET – On Saturday 2, in front of the ancient Basilica of Saint Eustorgio, the bi-monthly Little Market will welcome you with stalls full of quality handmade Art and Craft: antiques and vintage furniture, handmade accessories, fancy jewels. A treasure trove for everybody. From 9 am to 7 pm.

Chinese New Year in Milan

Chinese New Year in Milan

CHINESE NEW YEAR 2019 – Milan is the only Italian city with its own Chinatown, and a very peculiar one: along the busy Sarpi street, Chinese and local people have been living side by side for almost one century. Chinese New Year is on Feb 5, but celebrations will start from Sunday 3 and continue for the whole week. The epicentre will be of course in Sarpi street, but this year, for the first time, also the Fashion District will be involved in it: shop windows will be flooded with the red colour, and along corso Montenapoleone a special exhibition by the artist Liu Bolin, including photographs and performances, will surprise you. On Sunday 10 the climax: the traditional parade in the heart of Chinatown.

THE STORY OF LA SCALALa Scala Opera House is celebrating its 240-year-long life with an exhibition entitled “La Magnifica Fabbrica”. Videos, interactive screens, wooden models, Augmented Reality experiences: visitors will dive into the rich, past of La Scala and catch a glimpse of its future (that is, the new building at the back of the theatre which is being built in via Verdi). La Scala Theatre Museum, every day 9 am to 5.30 pm.

MUST DO – A private guided walking tour in Milan with us! This week we recommend the Cafés and Coffee Tour: come and discover our unique coffee tradition!

Cimento del Naviglio


Things to do in Milan this week – January 23-29
The best things to do in Milan this week, including Music, Art, Museums, Shopping and Restaurants, chosen by Bella Milano Tours.

Cascina Cuccagna

Cascina Cuccagna

ARTISAN MARKETCascina Cuccagna is a unique place: formerly a farm in the surroundings of Milan, it has been swallowed by the growing city and it is located now in a rather affluent residential district, close to the subway station Lodi. Sunday 27 the Carrousel Market, whose theme is going to be “Sales Mon Amour”, will welcome you with more than 50 stalls of artisans and fashion designers. January is traditionally the month of discounts. what better chance to find original handmade bargains in a special venue.

MUSIC – January 27 is the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. On Saturday 26th at 8.30 pm, a very special violin will be played at the Auditorium di Milano, in largo Mahler (tram 3 from Duomo square). It has a Star of David engraved on its bottom, and it belonged to a young Jewish woman who was deported to Auschwitz and died there. After the  war it was found and restored, and it is now owned by violinist Alessandra Sonia Romano, who will play it in a duet with renowned pianist Bruno Canino. Tickets 10/15 euro.

Shoah Memorial of Milan

Shoah Memorial of Milan

SHOAH MEMORIAL OF MILAN – The weekend will be full of initiatives to remember the persecution of the Jewish people. In Milan, victims of the racial laws introduced in 1938 were deported by trains leaving from Platform 21 in the Central Railway Station. And Platform 21 is now the Shoah Memorial of Milan. Friday 25 (9.30 am to 2 pm), Sunday 27 and Monday 28 (10 am to 7 pm) it will be open to visitors and it will be possible to follow free guided tours.

CIMENTO DEI NAVIGLI – Navigli, the canal district of Milan, is the place of a century-old tradition, the so-called Cimento invernale (Winter Feat): 50 brave (or crazy) people will dive into the chilly waters of Naviglio Grande on Saturday 26 at midnight, and 50 more on Sunday 27 at midday. They will have to swim for at least 50 meters if the ordeal is to be considered valid. Anybody may join the group of divers. Fee 50 euro; for more info contact Canottieri San Cristoforo, which will provide swimming suits, swim cap and bathrobe.

MUST DO – A guided walking tour in Milan with us! This week we recommend the Ghost Tour, which will take you to unusual, surprising places of our beautiful city.
Milan in movies


Things to do in Milan this week – January 16-22

The best things to do in Milan this week, including Music, Art, Museums, Shopping and Restaurants, chosen by Bella Milano Tours.

East Market

East Market

VINTAGE MARKET – East Market, located in an old aeronautical factory, is the first marketplace  where everyone can buy, sell or swap any kind of stuff: antiques, furniture, vintage, second hand, sneakers, vynil, curiosities, oddities and old collections. There is also a food court, and plenty of stalls where you can taste any kind of food. Next edition is on Sunday Jan 20, from 10 am to 9 pm. Entrance is free. East Market is in via Mecenate 84 (tram 27 from piazza Fontana, at the back of Duomo).

MILANO IN THE MOVIES – Palazzo Morando, formerly the elegant house of a noble lady, is hosting an exhibition about the close relationship between Milan and the movie industry. For decades Milan has played a significant role in the development of cinema as an industry and as an art form, besides being the location of such famous movies as “Miracolo a Milano” by Vittorio de Sica and “La notte” by Michelangelo Antonioni. Palazzo Morando is right in the middle of the Fashion District, in via Sant’Andrea 6. The exhibition in open Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 8 pm.

LA SCALA – La Scala Opera House is, for music lovers, “the temple of music”. But getting tickets is so difficult, and they are so expensive. Yet there is a way to get cheap last-minute tickets, at the cost of 5 to 15 euro depending on the performance. All you have to do is queue in front of the ticket office on the same day of the performance, write your name in the waiting list, be back a couple of hours later for the roll-call and finally, just before the performance, redeem the last-minute ticket. More info here, on the official web site. On Jan 17, 18 and 19 do not miss celebrated conductor Riccardo Chailly directing Gustav Mahler’s Symphony nr. 6, a work that Mahler himself described as “tragic”.

Sant'Eustorgio basilica

Sant’Eustorgio basilica

FARMERS’ MARKET – Lombardy, the region of Milan, is the first agricoltural region in Italy in terms of output. On Tuesday Jan 22, in front of the ancient Basilica of Saint Eustorgio, you will have the chance to taste local products and specialities at the weekly farmers’ market. It is held in the morning, 8.30 am to 2 pm, and includes stalls of local artisans with their typical creations. Do not forget to visit the church itself, a precious example of Romanesque architecture, and the famous Cappella Portinari, entirely frescoed by the Renaissance artist Vincenzo Foppa.

MUST DO – A guided walking tour in Milan with us! This week we recommend the Aperitivo Tour: a taste of Italy in 4 delicious stops.

Bansky at Mudec


Things to do in Milan this week – January 9-16

The best things to do in Milan this week, including Music, Art, Museums, Shopping and Restaurants, chosen by Bella Milano Tours.

Fabrizio De André

Fabrizio De André

CANTATA ANARCHICAFabrizio De André was an Italian singer-songwriter,  or rather a poet who – like Jacques Brel and Leonard Cohen – put his own words to music. On the tenth anniversary of his death, January 11th, his fans will remember him with “Cantata anarchica“, a spontaneous gathering in Duomo square starting from 8 pm. Everybody is invited to join in singing and playing, and if you don’t know De André’s music, don’t worry: just enjoy the warm embrace of a crowd still passionately loving and missing this great artist.

SAINT ANTHONY BONFIRE - Saint Anthony is the patron saint of pets and livestock, and he is traditionally celebrated with a bonfire on January 17th. This year the bonfire will be anticipated on Sunday 13th at Cascina Linterno, from 3.30 pm until 7 pm, where a famers’ market will welcome visitors. During the afternoon the ceremony of the blessing of animals will be celebrated, and after sunset the fire will be kindled, accompanied by music, dances and vin brulé (mulled wine).

The easiest way to get to Cascina Linterno is by bus 67 from the metro station Bande Nere (Red Line).

FLEA MARKET – On Sunday 20th, the traditional Flea Market will flood with its stalls the narrow, cobblestone streets of the picturesque Brera district. Antiques and vintage furniture, handmade accessories, fancy jewels: a treasure trove for everybody. In via Brera, at the corner with via Fiori Chiari and via Fiori Scuri, from 8 am to 6.30 pm.

BANSKYThe art of Bansky. A visual protest is one of the most successful exhibition in Milan at the moment. Mudec museum is the first public Italian museum to host a monographic exhibition of this elusive and misterious artist, showcasing about 80 works including paintings, sculptures and prints, accompanied by objects, photographs, and videos, about 60 album and CD covers, which the artist himself curated, and about forty pieces of memorabilia (lithographs, stickers, prints, magazines, fanzines, tickets, promotional flyers), that retrospectively describe the work and thinking of Banksy.

And no, no painting will self-destruct during the exhibition.

La Scala Opera House

La Scala Opera House

OPERA – Remember Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, desperately sobbing at the opera? You have a heart of stone, if you don’t shed your tears for the fate of Violetta in Verdi’s most celebrated work. La Traviata will be directed by Myung-Whun Chung at La Scala from January 11th. If you have no ticket, don’t worry: here you will find all info needed to purchase last-minute, super-cheap tickets.

MUST DO – A guided walking tour in Milan with us!
Carolina Kostner

Leonardo da Vinci at the World Figure Skating Championship

Leonardo da Vinci at the World Figure Skating Championship

Our beloved Leonardo da Vinci will be protagonist tonight at the opening ceremony of the World Figure Skating Championship, which this year is being hosted by our city, Milan.

Leonardo is a constant presence in Bella Milano guided walking tours and in this blog; after all, he lived here 25 years of his life, the longest period of time that he  spent in just one place. And he dearly loved Milan, the city where he could follow all his many interests, where his versatility was truly appreciated, and his genius could blossom freely.

For tonight’s ceremony, the renowned choreographer Corrado Giordani, art director of the event, has focused on three key elements.

Vitruvian Man

Vitruvian Man

The one that everybody will recognize is the Vitruvian Man. The most famous of Leonardo’s drawings, it depicts a man in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and inscribed in a circle and square. An iconic picture, so widespread that it can be found even on Nasa spacesuits, the Vitruvian Man represents the ideal proportions of the human body and its relationship with nature: the close adherence between man and the world, microcosm and macrocosm. What is better proportioned than the elegant athletes that will skate in Milan’s Assago Forum?

The second key element will be the snowflake, a symbol of nature’s ingenuity in creating something that Leonardo considered superior to any human design.

Finally, tonight’s coreography will focus on the flying man, the dream of Leonardo, who dedicated a great deal of his genius and time to the invention of a flying machine.
Milan houses two splendid exhibits of Leonardo’s inventions. A gallery of wooden models of some of his most famous projects is in Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia, the Science and Tecnology Museum (which is by the way named after Leonardo!).
A truly fascinating exhibition is The World of Leonardo, where real life size flying machines (thoroughly explained by videos and interactive screens) allow to understand the struggle and the successes of Leonardo in trying to turn the dream of flying into reality.

The logo

The logo

From tonight until the end of the week, we will have the pleasure of watching amazing skaters fly on ice with elegance and harmony. Leonardo would have greatly appreciated.

P.S. Look carefully at the logo of this year’s World Figure Skating Championship: can you spot a knot? Well, that is another decorative motif connected to Leonardo. Follow us on a guided walking tour of Milan and we will tell you more!

March 21, 2018