Three days in Milan – off the beaten path - day 3

09:00 – lesser-known Milan

Milan Planetarium by david.orbanOn our last day in Milan, we’re going to be covering some of the lesser-known sights, starting from Corso Venezia, Palestro (metro stop Palestro, red line). Arriving from the metro stop you’ll find the Porta Venezia gardens as well as the Museum of Natural History and Milan’s Planetarium. However, the garden can wait! It’s time to cross the road, head down Corso Venezia and take a left onto Via Serbelloni then another left onto Via Cappuccini. At number three you’ll find a tall black and gold gate and…flamingos! These are the flamingos of Villa Invernizzi. Although the villa’s not open to the public, you should be able to have a good look.

Head back to Via Serbelloni and continue down the street. At number 10 you’ll see the ‘House with the Ear’ - a curious sculpture for a building which in the past was actually used as an answer phone for the building!

10:00 – 1930s Milanese living

Villa Necchi Campiglio by alberto da sienaContinue down this street and enjoy another beautiful residential area of Milan. At the end of the street you’ll find Via Mozart and Villa Necchi Campiglio. Entering this completely preserved villa, constructed in the 1930s, is like taking a step back in time, right back into the lives of the Lombard upper-middle class of that period. Well worth the visit.

12:00 – fashion district

Following Via Mozart you can circle back to Corso Venezia which heads back into the city centre. Crossing the road, you’ll see Via Della Spiga on your right. Here you can make your way into the elegant heart of the Milanese fashion district. Even if you lack the budget or inclination for shopping, you’ll enjoy the window displays on this pedestrian-only street.

Via Sant’Andrea and Via Montenapoleone are two other important streets in this district. While you’re in the mood for fashion why not visit Palazzo Morando, which houses Milan’s Museum of Costume, illustrating the history of Milanese fashion from the 18th to 20th centuries. You’ll find the museum on via Sant’Andrea 6.

For a quick lunch, you could try one of the many cafés nearby which cater to office workers or opt for the elegant Armani Café at the end of Via Della Spiga on Via Manzoni.

14:00 – hidden treasures

Porta Nuova Milano by bruno cordioliLeaving the fashion district and following Via Manzoni you’ll see the arches of Porta Nuova, one of two medieval gates to the city that still exist today. Passing through the gates you’ll find yourself facing the Porta Venezia gardens again. Take some time to relax at the café, Bar Bianco, in the park or head left down Via Palestro until number 16. Milan’s Modern Art Gallery can be found in a neoclassical villa, which in its day served as the official residence of both Napoleon and Marshal Radezky.

The villa is wonderful to explore in itself but the true highlight is the art collection on the top floor. You would hardly know it’s there, and it isn’t well-publicised, but on this floor you’ll find artworks from Van Gogh, Cezanne, Corot and Gaugin, to name just a few.

From the windows of the villa you’ll see a lovely garden (unfortunately access to this garden is only available to those accompanying children).

From this area, it’s a short walk to Corso Buenos Aires, the longest shopping street in the city, just in case you haven’t had enough shopping. The prices are generally more affordable than in the fashion district too!

17:00 – a last glimpse at the Duomo?

At this point, as your last day in Milan comes to a close, a last glimpse of the Duomo is on the books. Why not do it in style? Take yourself back to Piazza Duomo and head to Italian’s biggest department store, ‘Rinascente’. Take the lift to the top floor and you’ll find a charming rooftop café - the perfect spot for a quiet coffee or snack and a memorable last view of the Duomo.

19:00 – evening options

Head to the elegant ‘Fiera’ area (MM Wagner metro) which boasts both sophisticated dining and good local family ‘trattoria’ dining. There are numerous bars for a cocktail or two. After dinner gelato is highly recommended at Il Rigoletto on Via San Siro.