A rundown of the design destinations, must-see galleries, and culinary delights featured in the first issue of AUGUST Journal, all about Milan.
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The Gio Ponti Archive
Via Dezza, 49
The presence of Gio Ponti is everywhere in Milan, from the Pirelli Tower he completed in 1958 to the furniture he co-designed at the Fornasetti shop, but one cannot get closer to the master than by visiting his final office and home, located at 49 via Dezza, which now houses his archive.
One of Ponti’s lesser known masterpieces, the Church of San Francesco d'Assisi al Fopponino, at the corner of via Paolo Giovio and via Andrea Verga.
Via Cappuccini, 7
One of the city’s more startling sights: a flock of flamingos that grazes along the lawn and reflecting pool of the Villa Invernizzi, a destination despite its private grounds.
Piero Portaluppi’s masterpiece, the Villa Necchi at via Mozart, 14.
Teatro Filodrammatici Milano
Via Filodrammatici, 1
Dating to 1798, the architectural shell of the Teatro Filodrammatici belies its modernist interior. The 20th-century core of the building was designed by Luigi Caccia Dominoni in 1969, resulting in a modernist intervention that added two amateur theater spaces connected by a spiraling, sculptural concrete staircase.
The Osservatorio, the contemporary photography space of Fondazione Prada, is hidden above the Prada flagship in the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II.
Via Manzoni, 42
Tucked away in a postwar passageway of Milan’s fashion district is one of the best preserved pieces of Italian modernist architecture. Built in 1950, the Teatro Manzoni is the kind of period piece redolent of theatricality (red velvet curtains and seating) and high modernism (a floating ticket counter, perforated ceiling) usually associated with Carlo Mollino.
Don't miss the grand Nilufar design gallery, a block away at via della Spiga 32, where one can find vintage Carlo Mollino pieces and new designs by Martino Gamper.
Padiglione D'Arte Contemporanea
Via Palestro, 14
One of the best yet underrated buildings for contemporary art is the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC). Located on the edge of the Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli, the unapologetically modern PAC is a low-slung structure by the midcentury master Ignazio Gardella, who cofounded the design company Azucena with Luigi Caccia Dominioni.
The Galleria d’Arte Moderna, a converted 18th-century palazzo across the way.
Via Chiese, 2
Lesser known (and therefore always less crowded) than the Fondazione Prada is the Pirelli HangarBicocca, a temporary art space housed in a renovated locomotive plant on the north edge of the city. It's divided into three main spaces: two are devoted to temporary single-artist exhibitions, while the third is permanently reserved for a monumental work by Anselm Kiefer, The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015, which was commissioned for the opening of the space.
The Giovanni Sacchi Archive at via Granelli 1. Note that although it’s only a 10-minute walk from the HangarBicocca, a taxi or car is recommended.
Church of San Fedele
Piazza S. Fedele, 4
It’s no secret that some of Milan’s best art installations are found in churches, but spotting a piece of contemporary art in an ecclesiastic structure can be a rare occurrence. A 16th-century Jesuit church located a block from the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade, San Fedele aims to keep alive the conversation between art and faith with installed works by Lucio Fontana, Mario Sironi, and Jannis Kounellis.
Osservatorio Fondazione Prada
Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II
The Osservatorio is a new exhibition space devoted to photography and “visual languages” on the fifth and sixth floors of the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, above the historic Prada flagship. The newly renovated gallery occupies a formerly unused mid-19th century space that overlooks the main glass dome of the iconic shopping arcade designed by Giuseppe Mengoni.
Massimo De Carlo Gallery - Belgioioso
Piazza Belgioioso, 2
Rococo details meet edgy contemporary art at Massimo de Carlo’s new gallery located in what was previously the library of the Palazzo Belgioioso—an enormous 18th-century Neoclassical building designed by Giuseppe Piermarini, who’s also responsible for the regal La Scala opera house.
Massimo De Carlo Gallery - Ventura
Via Privata Giovanni Ventura, 5
Massimo De Carlo’s flagship location, a white cube gallery space housed in the former Faema expresso maker factory, specializes in conceptual, unruly artists such as Maurizio Cattalan, Urs Fischer, and Elmgreen & Dragset.
Viale Lombardia, 17 (Piola / City University)
This 1936 Piero Portaluppi villa that will soon house the new Massimo De Carlo Gallery, opening in late 2018. Until then, admire the famous Triennale marble staircase, visible from the exterior.
Grab a bite at the Sardinian restaurant Baia Chia, at Via Antonio Bazzini 37. Order the spaghetti with bottarga: you won't regret it.
Giovanni Sacchi Archive
Via Granelli, 1 (entrance at the Spazio MIL)
Peruse the archive of Giovanni Sacchi's legendary model workshop, the originator of countless wooden prototypes of iconic designs by everyone from Gae Aulenti to Richard Sapper, Ettore Sottsass, and Marco Zanuso.
A map will tell you the HangarBicocca is a 10-minute walk away, but we recommend taking a taxi or car service.
Foro Buonaparte, 52
Minimalist designs stock this equally spare yet luxurious showroom for the brand that produced the first commission of designer Keiji Takeuchi.
Via Santa Maria alla Porta, 11/a
Although Marchesi was recently acquired by Prada and new locations have opened on the fashionable Via Montenapoleone and the Galleria VE II, this original location still makes the best cioccolata calda.
Browse the cutlery collections at Coltelleria Lorenzi at Corso Magenta 1, a distant cousin to the famous G. Lorenzi.
Corso Giacomo Matteotti, 7
With its numerous locations in New York, one is forgiven for thinking Sant Ambroeus is an American invention. In fact, Sant Ambroeus has been serving sweets to the Milanese haute bourgeois for over 80 years from this original location.
Get your fix of leather goods at the Valextra outlet at Via Cerva, 11.
Corso Genova, 1
This family-owned pasticceria is a favorite hangout for writers and artists, including AUGUST contributors Olimpia Zagnoli and Jean Blanchaert.
The Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, the patron saint of Milan, at Piazza Sant'Ambrogio, 15.
Via Victor Hugo, 2
Founded in 1911, Giovanni Galli was the official chocolate supplier to the royal House of Savoy and, since 2005, owns a listing in the Albo delle Botteghe Storiche (Registry of Historical Shops).
Outside of the city of Milan proper:
Church of Nostra Signora Della Misericordia
Via Conciliazione, 22
The Chiesa di Nostra Signora della Misericordia (Our Lady of Mercy Church) in Baranzate, a suburb of Milan, is an unknown early masterpiece by Angelo Mangiarotti, in association with Bruno Morassutti and Aldo Favini in 1958. An architectural tour de force in steel, glass, and concrete, the open and airy interior glows even on the cloudiest of days.
Take a taxi, as there is no nearby public transportation.
Piazza Litta, 1, 21100 Varese
This 17-century villa, renovated by Piero Portaluppi in the 1930s, is home to one of the most important modern art collections in Italy. Count Giuseppe Panza installed his Minimalist art collection here before selling it to the Guggenheim, but permament installations by Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, and Donald Judd share space with Baroque splendor.
Villa Panza is located about 1-hour drive from Milan's city center. For public transportation, take the train from Garibaldi FS station to Varese, then take a taxi to the Villa Panza.