There is a neighbourhood that makes Milan look like a small Paris: it welcomes passers-by in its cobblestone streets and cradles them in the silence of its courtyards. Walking in it means meeting students of the Academy of Fine Arts, skilful players and careful painters.
It’s Brera we’re talking about, the area of Milan attended by artists that will show you a new, silent and peaceful part of the city.
Brera is located near the city centre, enclosed among via Pontaccio, via Fatebenefratelli, via Fatebenefratelli, via dei Giardini, via Ponte Vetro and via Mercato. The area takes its name from the term braida, which means “untamed land”: this area, in fact, was once outside the city centre.
Among the major places of cultural interest, first and foremost there is the Palazzo di Brera (Via Brera 28).
Built in 1651 by Richini, it was completed a century later by Piermarini. Its elegant neoclassical structure treasures a rectangular courtyard where there is a bronze statue dedicated to Napoleon I by the famous sculptor Antonio Canova.
Today, it is the seat of the Pinacoteca di Brera, Academy of Fine Arts, the Museum of the Risorgimento and the Brera Library, places that preserve precious works of art, such as Hayez’ Romeo and Juliet, Raffaello’s Lo sposalizio della Vergine and Mantegna’s Cristo Morto.
Behind the Palazzo, there is the Botanical Garden, a place little known. You can walk in it either
through the Palace, or by via Dei Fiori Oscuri. Plunge yourself in the ancient courtyard and walk to the bottom of the driveway.
An open-air botanical garden will open in front of you: a green space, quiet and incredibly peaceful. Stroll around among the trees, smell the flowers, read the labels of the fruit trees, and try carefully not to step on the snails that walk quietly at your feet.
After that, go back to walk the streets of the neighbourhood: move towards Piazza San Marco and get to the San Marco church. Built in 1254 where there was already another church dedicated to the saint, it was meant as a sign of gratitude towards Venetians who helped Milan citizens to rebuild the city after the destruction of Barbarossa.
A Square closes the cultural itinerary of Brera: Piazza della Scala, with the statue of Leonardo, the famous Milan theatre and the town hall, Palazzo Marino.
After so much culture, a little bit of shopping will make you feel good.
One of our favourite places is the Rigadritto, in via Brera 6. Rigadritto is a stationery store, whose windows speak for themselves: notebooks, pens, toys and watches make it magnetic. Enter it and you’ll find yourself in a warm wooden atmosphere, a kind of fairy world that will be able to calm your nerves.
Giancarlo Naj Oleari has designed the space, giving it a precious and playful look at the same time. There are so many items that it’s easy to get lost among its shelves and to come out of the shop with bags full of gifts!
Another unique place is the Reverie, in via Solferino. Boutique-atelier, it was born from the brilliant mind of Chichi Meroni and her ability to find unique and original pieces to dress and decorate the house. Go there if you love the 60s style.
To end your walk in the bohemian district of Milan, you just need to satisfy your palate.
If you fancy a pizza, there is no better place than the Sibilla, in via Mercato 14: cheap, welcoming and truly tasty.
If you want to sip a cocktail and eat a couple of olives, stop at the Jamaica, the centenary bar of Milan.