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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.

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.

Inside Caravaggio – a new look at the works of a genius

While in Milan, take some time off the tour of the city and visit an exhibit that will change the way you look at the works of one of the greatest painters of all times, Caravaggio.

At Inside Caravaggio“, more than 20 masterpieces on loan from several of most famous museums are exhibited alongside their respective radiographic images, showing what lies beneath the surface of the paintings and revealing the changes that the artist made between draft and final work. But the visitor’s experience will go deeper than that. You will be able to discover the painter’s artistic evolution throughout his work and artistic career, and at the same time follow the events of Caravaggio’s life, as this tormented soul slowly slides towards darkness and despair.

Inside Caravaggio

Inside Caravaggio

Caravaggio made dramatic use of chiaroscuro – the contrast of light and dark in an artwork – that came to be known as tenebrism. In his paintings, shadows were pitch dark and subjects were typically transfixed by bright shafts of light. Caravaggio’s works often features violent struggles, torture and death; he worked rapidly, with live models, preferring to forego drawings and work directly onto the canvas.

Instead of preparatory drawings, the artist would trace rough indications in the first layers of paint with the handle of his brush, and then go right ahead with the rest of his paintings. But as you continue your visit to the exhibition, following the evolution of Caravaggio’s art, you will slowly realise that what you are witnessing is a visual history of his life: from his humble beginnings in his paintings of genre scenes, still-lifes and using himself or his roommate as a model, to his rise to success around 1600, to the darkest of paintings during his last years as a fugitive, having murdered a man. And as the end approaches, look carefully at the technique he is using. He would cover the canvas in a dark colour and then paint his subjects by simply adding the details that were inundated with light. His last paintings are just made of a dark, slightly disturbing background and a few strokes of painbrush applied only where a ray of light hits his models.

Michelangelo Merisi was born in Milan, in 1571. This exhibit is the best homage paid by our city to the genius of this Lombard artist, considered the most revolutionary of his time.


Lu' Bar at Gam

Art, beauty and a cup of coffee

It’s a hard work being a tourist, but who else is more entitled to enjoying a perfect combination of art, beauty and a cup of coffee than a visitor to Milan? So head straight to one of the elegant cafeterias  housed in some of the best museums of our city.

Villa Necchi Campiglio - swimming pool

Villa Necchi Campiglio – swimming pool

Our favourite is the cafe’ of Villa Necchi Campiglio, a jewel of the Thirties formerly owned by one of the richest Italian families. Sip your espresso while sitting by the swimming pool and enjoying the view of the park, and feel as if you were a character from the movie “I am love“, starring Tilda Swinton and shot precisely in this mansion, nestled in the heart of Milan.
Director Wes Anderson is the creative genius who designed Bar Luce. Located in glamorous Fondazione Prada, it will turn the gloomiest, November day into a joyful experience. Remenber the pastel coloured, vintage look of Anderson’s movies? You’ll start believing you are on the set of one of them. Enjoy a glass of amaro liqueur at a table next to the pinball machine, and then deep dive into one of the amazing exhibits of Fondazione Prada, which is housed in a former distillery dramatically renovated by starchitect Rem Koolhaas.
Bar Luce at Fondazione Prada

Bar Luce at Fondazione Prada

Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Gam) is a picture gallery focused on the 18th and 19th centuries. The building, Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte, is a fine example of Neoclassical architecture, and its cafeteria, Lu’ Bar, enjoys a splendid view of the facade. Full of plants, embellished with wrought-iron details, and inundated with light, Lu’ Bar looks like a charming, old fashioned conservatory. Try the local speciality, typical Sicilian street food, with a pint of artisan beer. 

Finally Mudec, Museum of Cultures, housed in a daring brand new building, with a bistrot that is the perfect place for a break in your busy day. Loads of press at your disposal, plenty of room, and affordable prices, even though the chef in charge is the same of the restaurant upstairs, blessed with 2 Michelin stars.
Spaghetti al pomodoro: healthy and tasty

Italy is the healthiest country on Earth

When planning your holidays (destination, flight, hotel, guided tours), fun may be your first concern, but if you think about your health as well, there is just one perfect choice: Italy!
Yes, it seems that Italy is the healthiest country on Earth.
The Bloomberg Global Health Index has graded 163 countries according to variables such as life expectancy, causes of death and health risks ranging from high blood pressure and tobacco use to malnutrition and the availability of clean water.
Italy ranked first, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia.
Our country may be plagued by stagnating growth, high unemployment and excessive debt loads, but a baby born here can expect to live to be an octogenarian, with correct blood pressure and cholesterol and better mental health than in any other country.
But what is our  secret? Sunny weather? Relaxed lifestyle? The warm embrace of a traditional Italian mamma? Well, all of the above, probably, but scientists agree that the main key to our good health is food.
Italian cuisine follows the Mediterranean pattern of eating,  focused on simple, natural ingredients such as tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, dark leafy greens and whole grains. Research suggests that the benefits of a Mediterranean-style eating include improved weight loss, better control of blood-glucose levels and reduced risk of depression.
USDA Food Pyramid

USDA Food Pyramid

After all, every single Italian, from sun-blessed Sicily to mountainous Trentino-Alto Adige (the region with Dolomites mountains) has access to fresh produce, fruit, lean meats and fish.

So, if you aim for a long, healthy life, Italy is definitely the place to be.
And if you consider carbs as the devil, always remember that starches are at the bottom of the food pyramid as one of the largest portion of food you should consume.
Enjoy pasta, a generous glass of wine, and be happy!