At Butterfield & Robinson, we pride ourselves on scouting out the best places in the world to walk, bike and immerse ourselves in local culture, no matter how far flung. Along the way, our journey often takes us through some of the world’s most famous and culturally rich cities. Never ones to squander an opportunity, we’ve asked our seasoned (and extremely well-travelled) trip planners to apply their expert eyes to some of the world’s best playgrounds. Below, Trip Designer and Slow Road columnist Georgia Yuill provides a B&R-inspired guide to her hometown, Milan
Milan Hotels: Where to Rest Your Head
Crème de la Crème:
Armani Hotel Milano
For lovers of all things Armani, Giorgio’s recently opened hotel on the top floors of the flagship store is a must-stay. Subdued interiors, reflective of the classic Armani pieces featured just a few floors below in the Armani Casa (Home) store, set the discrete yet elegant atmosphere. With a 1,000 square-metre spa and fitness area, all details for a luxurious stay have been covered.
A successful blending of modern design within a historic building, this 18-room hotel is a good choice for guests who appreciate an informal atmosphere with well considered art and architectural detail. Well positioned in the historic centre, yet also part of a neighbourhood.
Antica Locanda Solferino
Located in the Brera district, the artistic, fashion area in central Milan, this homey boutique property still houses the furnishings and atmosphere of the old inn (locanda) it used to be. Eleven rooms, plus recently added apartments. All rooms have baths. Advanced reservations recommended as are requests for rooms on the upper floors.
Milan Restaurants: Where to Eat + Drink
Crème de la crème:
The Michelin two-starred Cracco-Peck combines an elegant setting with remarkable cuisine and near-perfect service.
Trattoria del Carmine
On a warm day, take a meal in the piazza of this relaxed trattoria (either lunch or dinner). There could not be a better venue for picking up the vibe of the historic centre while dining on a varied menu, including classic Milanese and Mediterranean dishes, as well as pizza.
Drop in for a sampling of Italian-only vintages at this centrally located enoteca bustling with clients popping in for a glass or purchasing their well priced bottles to go.
My Favourite Hole in the Wall:
Al Pont de Ferr (Navigli district)
An intimate and informal spot located along the Naviglio Grande canal, in a neighbourhood full of lively bars serving cocktails during happy hour. More than 200 quality wines and a simple menu with well chosen cheeses. Open evenings only; closed Sundays.
Milan Sights: What to See + Do
Only have half a day to spend in Italy’s fashion capital? These must-sees will make for a great morning (or afternoon).
Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
Truly a must-see when in Milan. Definitely call ahead for reservations to skip what is normally a long entrance line. This masterpiece is found on the wall of the refectory of the Dominican monastery in one of Bramante’s finest churches, Santa Maria delle Grazie, recently restored. Phone or book online for reservations. Closed Mondays.
Piazza del Duomo
The duomo’s facade is a considerable visual commitment given its intricate spires, 2,245 statues and 96 gargoyles, built to convey rainfall from the roof. A wander inside is also worthwhile, especially on Sundays when the air is thick with the scent of incense.
Due to the location of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Last Supper visit is best done on its own. Reached by taxi, metro or tram, the rest of your time in Milan could best be matched up with a wander around Piazza Duomo. The area constitutes an outdoor museum, showcasing Milan’s finest architecture.
Following a wander around the exterior and a quick look into the duomo, take in the Palazzo Reale (on your left as you exit the duomo), one of the most beautiful buildings of the Milanese 18th century. Crossing the piazza, head into the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, which houses some of the city’s finest stores (including Prada’s flagship shop).
Once through the Galleria you arrive at Piazza Scala, home to the world renowned Teatro alla Scala opera house, a phenomenal venue offering incredible performances. (Be sure to check the theatre’s website to see if your trip matches up with the performance schedule – this could easily be a highlight of your trip.)
Want more Milano?
Georgia knows the city like the back of her hand—she suggested more great hotels, restaurants and sights than we could squeeze into one Insider’s Guide! Click here for more great hotel suggestions. Get more great restaurant and bar picks here. And couple the suggestions above with the additional half-day itinerary here to create a full day of discovery .