what to do in Milan / 7 posts found


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.


Vertical Forest

Welcome to Far from the madding crowd – #3 Milan’s Far North.

This it the third of a series of posts which will guide you on a walking tour around less known neighborhoods of Milan, away from the busy center but where real locals go.

Vertical Forest

Vertical Forest

The Northern part of Milan is usually neglected by foreign visitors, and the reasons are many: it is too distant from the centre – Milan looks strangely asymmetrical, egg-like, having developed mostly towards north; it is too new; it is too big. All these reasons are true, but you would miss some amazing experiences by skipping this urban quadrant.

You’ll spend a lot of time on metro trains, so start your day with a good breakfast at Red, the cafè of Feltrinelli bookstore located in the beautiful Gae Aulenti Square, just in the middle of a new housing development named Porta Nuova. You will be sorrounded by some of the most daring buildings of Milan, such as award-winner Vertical Forests by Stefano Boeri: two twin tall residential towers hosting hundreds of trees and plants, distributed in relation to the façade’s position towards the sun. On flat land, each Vertical Forest equals, in amount of trees, an area of 7000 square meters of forest.

From Garibaldi metro station take the brand new Purple Line to Ponale, and after a 700-mt walk in a bleak neighborhood you will find yourself at the entrance of Wonderland: Hangar Bicocca. It is the successful result of a large conversion project (located in the hangars of the former Ansaldo-Brera factory, where locomotives and railway carriages were made), and represents one of the main contemporary art hubs in Milan. You’ll be greeted at the entrance by an elegant work by Fausto Melotti, La Sequenza, but you will plunge into sheer ecstasy with The Seven Heavenly Palaces by Anselm Kiefer (some of our guests once said that Kiefer’s work is worth a trip not just to this distant area of Milan, it is “worth a trip to Milan!”).

Casa Boschi di Stefano

Casa Boschi di Stefano

Get ready for your journey back after a cup of coffee at the museum cafè, then head to the Milanese Chinatown. If it is Tuesday or Saturday, do not miss the reknowned Mercato di via Fauché, a local street market in the top ten of best bargain spots. A shopping mall en plein air, it is rich in food’s stalls but you will also satisfy your hunger for fashion with brand shoes and cashmere wool goods of superlative quality.

Hop on a tram and reach busy Corso Buenos Aires, the longest, most crowded and popular shopping street of Milan, but do not be distracted by H&M or Zara and rather stop at Casa Boschi-Di Stefano, a museum-house hosting an utterly fascinating collection of paintings amassed by Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano during their lives. Donated to the city of Milan in 1974, it is an impressive overview of the Italian art of the XX century, making this apartment – together with its furniture of the Thirties and everyday objects – a thoroughly unique place.

For dinner, stop at Osteria del Treno, a bistro with elaborate cooking that has been the Milan centre of the Slow Food association since 1989. On Sunday, the Liberty-style dining room becomes a dance floor: so do not forget your tango shoes!



Where to drink a good cocktail in Milan

Tommy's Lady @Pinch Milano

Tommy’s Lady @Pinch Milano

Living in Milan is just exciting and we can’t stop sharing with you our experiences with you. The choice for bars is wide and rich, but like everyone, we’ve our favorite corners, so this one doesn’t want to be the ultimate guide to cocktail bars in Milan, but just our selection of places where we like to go when we want to drink a great cocktail in a cool place with our friends or loved ones.

Pinch Spirits & Kitchen

In the charming frame of the Naviglio Grande, one of the two surviving canals of Milan, this 30s inspired cocktail bar with a hint of contemporary has just celebrated its first birthday, but is already a landmark for cocktail lovers. The offer of drinks is rich and accurate and if you feel overwhelmed, ask the bartender, he’ll suggest you the best. If you’re hungry you may order something to eat like burgers or fish and chips (and this is our choice).

Our tip:  Tommy’s Lady, we don’t know if is their best cocktail, but we’re still dreaming of it!

L’Elettrauto Cadore

The name means “garage” and dates back to the origin of the place which was actually a garage, before being transformed into a hip bar. We like to come here for an “aperitivo” or after dinner for a cocktail, the atmosphere is understatement and chill, waiters are kind, the buffet is rich and cocktails are great. When the season is warm, you may choose to seat outside.



Our tip:  When we’ve time, we like to buy a magazine, seat outside and have a 1-hour-long breakfast.

Armani Bamboo Bar

A high-end address and one of the best cocktail bars in town. The perfect place if you want to feel special and surrounded by beauty: the beauty of the elegant palette of furniture and fabrics and of the city, visible from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Everything, from the music to the incense perfume, will envelope you with a pleasant feeling. And what can we say about the service? Armani standard of course!

Our tip: Come here at sunset, the orange light of the sun going down and the Duomo in the background are priceless.

And what about you? Tell us about your favorite addresses in town!

Terme Milano (from Google)

A Romantic Valentine’s day in Milan

Mermaid Bridge (from google)

Mermaid Bridge (from google)

For a Romantic Valentine’s day in Milan just follow our hip and chic tips and be sure to get a wow effect. You know, we’re more than professional tours  guides providing guided walking tours in Milan…we’re romantic girls too and we’ve got some advices to share ;-)

1.       Kiss your love on the Ponte delle Sirenette (Mermaid Bridge)

Go with your loved one to the central, quiet and romantic Parco Sempione for a walk, take pictures near the ponds and walk hand in hand. When you’ll reach the heart of  the park you’ll probably notice a lovely bridge decorated with four statues representing mermaids. Well, climb the stairs and be sure to kiss your sweetheart on this bridge while touching at least the tail of one of the mermaids…love will be neverdending.

2.       Relax at the most “Milanese” SPA in the city: QC Terme Milano

This central SPA housed in a former tram depot, combines nice pools and ambiences with a charming location. Chromotherapy, music therapy, relax rooms…our favorite spot? The Wellness Tram of course, an old tram turned into a sauna! Can you imagine anything more Milanese? They provide everything, from the shampoo to the face cream, you  just have to focus on your relax for 2.

Armani Bamboo Bar (from google)

Armani Bamboo Bar (from google)

3.       Watch the sunset from the Armani Bamboo Bar

The stylish, very-Armani Bamboo bar is at the 7 floor of the Armani building in via Manzoni. You could recognize this place with blindfolded, thanks to the light incense smell which spreads through the ambience.  Ask for a table near the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the red rooftops of the city with the Duomo in background and toast with a delicious cocktail prepared by one of the best bartenders in the world. If you want to dedicate a special treat to your baby, just ask in advance to prepare a heartshaped cake

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Kiefer - Hangar Bicocca

Great photography and contemporary art exhibitions in Milan

10 Corso Como

10 Corso Como

We constantly look for cool tips to give to our readers, and today we talk about where to see great photography and contemporary art exhibitions in Milan.

A dreamy place, a fairy tale…words are not enough to portray the coolest concept store in town: 10 Corso Como. Here, besides the clothes, there’s always a  photography exhibition going on. And what is shocking is that the entrance is free! For the upcoming ones, check out here.

Also the website is full of nice surprises and a special treat for fashion lovers is the printable 2015 calendar you can download here.

Kiefer - Hangar Bicocca

Kiefer – Hangar Bicocca

Another totally unexpected place is the stunning Hangar Bicocca, the ultimate address for contemporary art lovers. In this industrial building are permanently displayed the  Kiefer’s Seven Heavenly Palaces and take place temporary exhibitions, like the current: “Joan Jonas – Light Time Tales”. To check out the upcoming ones, just have a look here.

If you’ve got any other specific interest, just write us and Bella Milano Tours will realize a special Milan Guided Tour designed on you!

Ermanno Scervino (from Google)

Milano Moda Uomo

Ermanno Scervino (from Google)

Ermanno Scervino (from Google)

Milano Moda Uomo will take place in Milan between January 16th and 20th and will bring a blast of fashion through the city with more than 40 fashion shows! If you’ll be around and don’t want to miss anything, just download the calendar here.

But surprises are not over, for 4 days the central, charming Via Del Gesù will be turned into a classy Via dell’Uomo, a 270 meters path entirely dedicated to men’s elegance where people can stroll around through the real Italian lifestyle. Kiton, Brioni and Acqua di Parma are just few of the brands you’ll find there.

To make your  day perfect, have a drink by the Foyer, the elegant bar at Four Seasons Hotel or a light lunch by Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone. In the courtyard you’ll find one of the several hidden gems of Milan, the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, a dreamy, enchanting historic-house museum decorated in a rich Neo-Renaissance style.

And everything in just 270 meters…can you believe it?

Unicredit Tower - Milan

Milan is the most modern city in Italy

Unicredit Tower

Unicredit Tower

Milan is the most modern city in Italy and it’s becoming more and more…friendly with everyone: citizens, cyclists, old people, poor people, young people and tourists! Every day something new is under construction. Car sharing, bike sharing, new projects for green areas, open wifi areas, everything goes in the right direction to create the city of the future. And for the tourists? The cultural offer is extremely wide and this ferment is breathable. Taking a look to the tourist portal of Milan is Tourism is enough to realize that this bustling city is much more than just fashion, design and finance!

Milan is amazing, bustling, exciting, rich in culture and soul!

Psstt……a free guide to the city can be downloaded here