Shop Like a Local
For anyone interested in the fall of a frock or the cut of a jacket, a stroll around the Quadrilatero d’Oro, the world’s most famous shopping district, is a must. This quaintly cobbled quadrangle of streets is full of Italy’s most famous brands sporting fantastic window displays. Even if you don’t have the slightest urge to sling a swag of glossy carriers over your arm, the people-watching is priceless.
Coffee at Cova
Coffee and cake at Pasticceria Cova gives you a glimpse into the glamorous world of the Quad. Aggressively accessorised matrons crowd the bar barking orders at the staff. This is the oldest cafe in Milan, opened in 1817 by Antonio Cova, a soldier of Napoleon.
For a glimpse of aristocratic life during the 18th century, wander around Palazzo Morando. Housing the personal collections of Countess Bolognini, the apartments are also hung with the city’s civic art collection, which provides a picture of Milan as it was during the Napoleonic era.
Browsing ‘Monte Nap’
Via Monte Napoleone has always been synonymous with elegance and money (Napoleon’s government managed loans here) and now it is the most important street of the Quad, and lined with global brands. Among the giants, classic heritage names persist, such as Aspesi.
Lunch at the Four Seasons
The Quad’s most discreet and luxurious hotel, the Four Seasons is tucked out of sight down narrow Via Gesù. The neoclassical facade hides a 15th-century Renaissance convent complete with frescoes and a tranquil arcaded cloister. Dine here at one of the nine outdoor tables at La Veranda and savour Marco Veneruso's classic cuisine.
Museo Bagatti Valsecchi
Though born a few centuries too late, Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi were determined to be Renaissance men, and from 1878 to 1887 they built their home as a living museum of the Quattrocento (the cultural and artistic events of 15th-century Italy). Decorated after the style of the ducal palaces in Mantua, the apartments are full of Renaissance furnishings, tapestries and paintings.
Homewares on Via Manzoni
Established in Omegna in 1921, Alessi has crafted more than 22,000 utensils, many of which have been designed by the world’s leading architect-designers. Some pieces now reside in New York’s MoMA, but you can find everything Alessi has ever done at this flagship store.
Spa on Via della Spiga
Who wouldn’t love shopping on pedestrianised Via della Spiga? But if the cobbles are killing your feet, take the back door into the Hotel Baglioni for a Campari and soda in the salon-style cafe or book a facial in the hotel’s Spiga 8 Spa.
Metro Take the M1 (red line) to San Babila.