48H à Milan, les bonnes adresses milanaises de Constance Gennari

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48 hours in Milan with Constance Gennari

A mix of go-to places and childhood recollections: for us, this is undoubtedly the best recipe for an express guide. Constance Gennari, founder and artistic director of The Socialite Family, spent her childhood between Paris and Milan. Now, whether she's with her family, undertaking research, attending events - such as the Salone del Mobile, which takes place this week in the capital of Italian design - or visiting her artisans, she pounds the pavements from one favourite place to the next. Here are just a few of them, of all kinds, to occupy a few hours in Milan... 

Location

Milan

Author

Elsa Cau

Photos and videos

Constance Gennari

48H à Milan, intérieur de la villa Necchi

The Villa Necchi, a monument to the rationalist Art Deco style of the 1930s

48H à Milan, intérieur de la villa Necchi

Villa Necchi, visit the ghost of a golden age 

The Villa Necchi, a monument to the rationalist Art Deco style of the 1930s, designed by Piero Portaluppi, needs no introduction. It has been open to the public for the last fifteen years, and visiting it is like going on a pilgrimage. Works by Adolfo Wildt, Giorgio de Chirico and Umberto Boccioni, among others, greet you amidst furniture partly designed by Portaluppi. A must-see (watch out for the opening times!).


Villa Necchi Campiglio, Via Mozart, 14

Admire great style without great means

Just a stone's throw from Villa Necchi, the Palazzo Berri-Meregalli offers visitors Liberty lines and a later, more geometric Art Nouveau style typical of Italy in the 1910s. If you're lucky, the caretaker will let you admire the gold mosaics, ironwork and sculpture by Adolfo Wildt that decorate the entrance hall. A chance to rediscover Milan's famous building entrances...

Palazzo Berri-Meregalli, Via Cappuccini, 8

Iconic specs

Angelo Marchesi began designing eyewear in 1959 at this address, which has not aged one iota. Some models, like the Guy Marckys designed by his son Guido in the 1970s, have become great classics of Italian eyewear. In short, here, spectacles reign supreme and are rigorously and beautifully hand-crafted. Sofia Marchesi welcomes us with a gale of laughter. We try on all the models, and if we haven't splurged, we can console ourselves with an artisan ice cream just across the street.

Marchiesi Ottica via Solferino, 9

Recovering from your emotions at Grand Italia

The day's specials clash with the ballet of waiters happy to be hailed from all sides at lunchtime. Pizza by the slice, risotto alla Milanese or pasta of the day washed down with a generous glass of red wine and finished off with a floating island dessert baked in the oven: trust us. Take a seat at a corner of the table, tuck yourself in to let others pass and enjoy this beautifully old-fashioned, always lively canteen with regulars.

Via Palermo, 5

48H à Milan, la villa aux flamants roses

Flamingos in the middle of Milan

A few surprising neighbours periodically disturb the tranquillity of this area of spectacular historic buildings, nicknamed the "Quadrilatère du Silence, the silent quarter. The pink flamingos that grace the garden of the Villa Invernizzi, famous for its Art Deco style, are thought to have been imported from Chile and Africa. And although you can't actually visit the premises, you can take comfort in admiring the tenants through the garden gate. An attraction for all Milanese residents, including Constance Gennari, who, at the tender age of ten, would tug at her father's sleeve and ask him to stop for a moment.


Villa Invernizzi, Via Cappuccini, 7

Head in the stars, feet in the city

Piero Portaluppi also designed the Milan Planetarium in 1930, and you will find it at the entrance to the Porta Venezia gardens. It's worth taking the time to enter this octagonal building with its dome overlooking three hundred original swivel chairs, from which you can crane your neck to admire the stars. Time travel guaranteed.

Planetarium, Corso Venezia, 57

A Milanese break

Admittedly, it's not the parent company, but this address has the air of a slightly hidden café for regulars: an atmosphere that we don't find at all displeasing. Stop for a moment in front of the fabulous pastry shop windows, then climb the steps that also lead to the Prada Foundation Observatory and sip your espresso at one of the bar tables overlooking the shopping mall - or at the counter and nowhere else. 

Marchesi 1824, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Milan Monumental Cemetery

The cemetery bears witness to an era that has been somewhat forgotten in Milan, buried beneath the modernity that has made the city's style shine so brightly... Milan's monumental cemetery blends Byzantine, Romanesque and, more broadly, eclectic influences typical of post-reunification Italy in the 19th century. Inaugurated in 1866, it continues to attract walkers who love monumental sculpture and other strollers looking for a moment of timeless silence.

Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale

Le cimetière monumental de Milan, dans nos bonnes adresses milanaises

Walk at the Milan's monumental cemetery

A legendary dinner at La Libera

There's no need to go too far: the iconic Libera has been established in Palermo for over four decades. The editorial team still remembers meeting the no less illustrious owner of the premises, Italo Manca, the man with the moustache and the cigar, always riding his bicycle and known to all on the cobbled streets of Milan.

Via Palermo, 21

Bar Basso

The legend of the Basso bar can be summed up in two words: negroni sbagliato. "Sbagliato", for "missing": this is where, in the 1970s, prosecco was allegedly poured into the famous cocktail instead of gin. Since then, people have been snapping up the negroni sbagliato in this bar with its red neon sign and cosy decor, which hasn't changed a bit.

Via Plinio, 39

Shop vintage clothes at Lambrate Vintage

Fans of the 1980s and 1990s are in for a treat. Leather jackets, faded jeans, thick trench coats, embroidery, chunky costume jewellery and other classics are all available here at Cecilia's low prices. But don't you dare steal Constance's layered looks - she'd take that very amiss.

Via Conte Rosso, 22

The history of Italian design at the Milan Triennale

The Triennale is not to be missed, with its superb exhibitions on the history of design, like the recent exhibition and analysis of the work of Enzo Mari and Gino Sarfatti! It is, by definition, Milan's cultural institution. And it's not just about design. Fashion, architecture, cinema and society all come under the microscope in the Palazzo dell'Arte and, since 2016, have done so throughout the city.

Palazzo dell'Arte, Parco Sempione

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