Our inaugural guest editor shares her local Milan favorites, from a 100-year old hardware store to the Teatro alla Scala and a biscuit porcelain workshop.
1. Ferramenta Spinardi
Corso di Porta Romana, 74
This 100-year-old hardware store specializes in handles, pulls, and doorbells, many made of bronze; it also sometimes hosts interesting closeouts.
2. San Bernardino alle Ossa
+39 02 7602 3735
You don’t need to travel south to see churches decorated with piles of bones. Right behind the Duomo you can find the small and haunting San Bernardino alle Ossa. Originally a depository of bones dating back to 1200, it was later expanded with a church addition, then renovated in the late 1600s, when nearly 2,000 skulls and tibias were rearranged in the decorative, rococo-style pattern found today.
3. Alla Colina Pistoiese
Via Amedei, 1
Untouched since 1938, this Tuscan restaurant features coffered ceilings, vaulted doors, white tablecloths and cane-backed chairs. The menu? Very traditional Tuscan, of course. It's a veritable time machine.
4. Foto Veneta Ottica
Via Torino, 57
Originally a combination photo and optical store, Foto Veneta Ottica is now operated under the auspices of the owner’s son, who specializes in a dizzying array of vintage eyewear. The store is located on the second floor of a former apartment that features tiled floors of different patterns in every room. Its collections of vintage cameras are great as well—you can still buy film here.
5. Laboratorio Paravicini
Via Nerino, 8
Tucked into a classic Milanese courtyard is this very small and exquisite biscuit porcelain workshop. Everything is painted by hand, underglaze. These fanciful dinnerware creations feature animals, flowers, insects, or whatever tickles your fancy. You can have anything custom-made to include perhaps your initials, or, for example, to feature the maps of places you travelled to or the favorite gardens in your life…
6. Teatro alla Scala
Via Filodrammatici, 2
Everybody complains that tickets at the Teatro all Scala are never available. Not true. It now has a website through which you can purchase seats well in advance. The theatre is enchanting for its colors, gilding, intimate scale, and the beautiful acoustics it produces. If you can, do get a seat in a box. That’s where you can see and touch the precious details, the hardware, the tasseled swags, the oval mirrors in gilded frames. Do have a drink upstairs, surrounded by the busts of music giants. It is Milano’s belly button, and that’s a fact.