“It’s more challenging to find the pulse of the contemporary art scene in Milan than it is in New York, London, or LA, but it’s certainly here and, as with everything else, often tucked away behind beautiful doorways and tree-lined courtyards. Cardi Gallery was an early find and a space I plan to return to regularly as they represent artists and curate shows focused on minimalism, spatialism, and art povera, all movements that speak to me conceptually and emotionally. ” – Julia Leach
“On the hunt for pieces for my new apartment, I came across this vintage design shop which has an abundance of furniture and home decor finds at their main location (Via Padova 76) and a more curated selection at their smaller shop in Città Studi at Via Cecilio Stazio, 18. Their inventory will look and feel familiar to design nerds, but with a particularly Italian bent. ” – Julia Leach
“I’d been a pescatarian for years until I encountered two approaches to roasted chicken that I couldn’t resist, (a) Gjusta in LA and (b) Giacomo Rosticceria in Milan. The latter is tender and flavorful, and I love the classic dining rooms, downstairs and up. This is my first stop with friends from out of town, to sit and linger and feel very much at home in the city’s “garden district,” sharing a whole chicken, crisp green beans, and cold vino bianco.” – Julia Leach
Terroir Food Shop
“I find beautiful small batch jams, honeys, and cheeses irresistible and return regularly to this artisanal food shop that I discovered in October 2020 when it was a bright light and antidote to Carrefour during Covid. Come to feed your soul; come to buy gifts; come for the kind owner who carefully selects pastas, olive oils, breads, juices, wines, and more that align with his philosophy of sharing only the highest quality bio products cultivated by producers who share his commitment and point-of-view.” – Julia Leach
Vicolo Via Mameli
“The first apartment I stayed in when I started to work with J.J. was near Zona Risorgimento, an area that has become one of my favorite areas of the city. Once again turning down a street that simply looked pretty and intriguing, I came upon one the most charming and individually thoughtful shops in Milan. If you live in New York City or the Hudson Valley, the aesthetic may feel familiar, but in northern Italy, rarely do you find this combination of hand-dipped candles, antique baskets, lamps, and paintings, and jewel-toned pillows and beautiful throws. The owners are most charming, always happy to chat while watering their flowers and herbs out front on a sunny day. “ – Julia Leach
121+ Libreria exTemporania
“I have a finely attuned antenna for design book shops, and 121 Bookstore is one of the most charming and well-curated in Milan situated on Via Savona in Zona Solari. It’s part of Corraini Edizioni, a publishing house and art gallery with a close association with design legend Bruno Munari and a history of amazing collaborations with everyone from Enzo Mari and Paul Rand to Steven Heller and Peter Mendelsund.” – Julia Leach
“Another find from my stay during early Covid, Gattullo Pasticceria is truly a Milanese hidden gem, set on an anonymous corner just off Corso Italia. I would walk to work along the deserted streets in the winter of 2021, and the minute I set foot in this elegant spot, I felt transported to the heart of Italy by the setting, the people, and the lovely food. Having a glass of prosecco and cornetto salato at the bar will always remind me of my early days in Milan when I fell in love with the city. ” – Julia Leach
“I’m fascinated by the faces and physical figures adorning buildings in every city I visit, and Milan is full of them. To me, the epic Art Nouveau goddesses flanking the doorway of Casa Campanini represent the abundant beauty and feminine strength of Italy, with their cascading flowers, unfurling scrolls, and towering poses.” – Julia Leach
“Half the satisfaction and fun of settling into a new city is discovering unique places on your own, and the other half is getting insider tips from new people in your life. My dear friend and creative collaborator Joann Tan gave me this great recommendation, a shop selling nearly exclusively grissini. Everyone who tries them agrees that they’re the best in Milan.” – Julia Leach
“When I first started exploring Milan while I was here during early Covid, the flower shops and food stores were the only stores allowed to remain open for business (in addition to perfume, chocolate, and lingerie shops…of course, this is Italy!). I was drawn into the jungle-like atmosphere of Potafiori and charmed by owner Rosalba Piccini, also an opera singer, so now pass by for flowers and plants as often as I can, especially for gifts and as I plan to get situated in my new apartment.” – Julia Leach
“On a long Saturday morning walk post-apartment hunting in Città Studi, I spotted this custom shirtmaker just around the corner from Bar Basso. I had the owner, Luciana, customize a menswear button-down shirt pattern specific to my preferences, so I can now add different patterns in cotton and linen to my collection, one after the other, season after season, monogrammed (naturally). Now I’ll never have to worry about half my wardrobe again.” – Julia Leach
Fratelli Bonvini 1909
“I was introduced to Fratelli Bonvini by our design super sleuth, Livia Satriano, who, like me, has a penchant for vintage books, typography, and obscure ephemera. Go to this special cartoleria for the beautiful stationery. Stay for the journals and printed matter, vintage pens and pencils, and rare volumes on photography, graphic design, art, and illustration.” – Julia Leach
Frutta e Verdura da Franco, Teresa e Figli
“This wonderful frutta e verdura shop was another early discovery when I first arrived in Milan during Covid. It is located near the La DoubleJ office, so I made a weekly ritual of picking up the crispy focaccia, fresh produce, and delicious jams, and now that I’ve moved here full-time, they have my heart. When shop owners put so much love and attention into their displays, I call it “accidental art direction.” I’ve always wanted to photograph these types of shops (in many different categories) around the world and make a book. Maybe one day.” – Julia Leach
Museo Bagatti Valsecchi
The former family home of the Bagatti Valsecchi family, who dreamed up the elaborate interiors in the late 1800s to look like a Renaissance palazzo. The totally left-in-place home also houses their impressive collection of ancient art.
Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano
The little sister to much-loved Villa Necchi Campiglio, Casa Boschi di Stefano is the frozen-in-time mid-century apartment of a pair of Milanese art and design collectors, now open as a gallery.
A former Pirelli tire factory has been reimagined into one of the largest private art galleries in Europe. Staging a rotating program of excellent exhibitions in addition to their Anselm Kiefer permanent installation, ‘The Seven Heavenly Palaces’; this place is for contemporary art buffs.