How to Get Your Culture Fix While Eating and Drinking Like a Local in Milan
Dreaming of a stunningly beautiful city where culture reigns supreme and food is more than a big deal? Here’s a glimpse into life in Milan, from architecture to aperitivo, through the eyes of our friends at Musement.
Meet your tour guides
Based in Milan, the capital of Italy’s Lombardy region, team Musement helps travellers enjoy in-destination experiences by sourcing local knowledge and recommendations.
Musement—one of Italy’s leading startups—is growing fast and building an international, dynamic culture in a city famous for knowing a thing or two about culture. The team’s on a mission to help people be locals wherever they go, so what better place to start than their own home? We asked team Musement to reveal their must-dos and must-sees in Milan, and boy, did they deliver!
So you only have 24 hours to spend in Milan?
Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you don’t need to spend any of those hours wondering what to do next.
Start your tour from the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, one of Milan’s most ancient churches. Continue your stroll along Via Lanzone, Via Brisa, Corso Magenta, and Via Dante, historical Milanese streets you won’t mind getting lost in.
If you’ve planned this ahead a bit, take the time to see Il Cenacolo/The Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci’s legendary masterpiece in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, and Vigna di Leonardo — a beautiful museum dedicated to the story of Da Vinci in Milan.
From the Vigna di Leonardo, it’s only a 15-minute walk to the imposing Castello Sforzesco in Parco Sempione, a lush green space with free Wi-Fi (yay!). Now is a good time to rest your legs and browse through Musement’s job openings on Jobbatical, because you’re almost certainly considering moving to Milan at this point.
From there, continue to the Brera neighborhood, the artistic heart of Milan. Pop into the Biblioteca Braidense and Pinacoteca if you’re a true fan of the fine arts (which we hope you are, because, well… this is Italy — art is kind of a big deal around here).
Next, head to Teatro alla Scala (known colloquially as La Scala), one of the world’s leading opera and ballet theatres. If you don’t have time to see a show, just taking in the culture-soaked atmosphere and magnificence of this legendary building is an experience in and of itself.
Now it’s finally time to take a gander at the splendid Duomo di Milano — the largest church in Italy and third-largest in the world. Infinitely Instagrammable and impossibly intricate, this Gothic cathedral is the dictionary definition of awe-inspiring.
After the cathedral, head towards Via Torino and Corso di Porta Ticinese: there, you’ll find the beautiful Colonne di San Lorenzo — stunning Roman ruins that offer a perfect place to rest. It doesn’t hurt either that there are plenty of nice shops and bars to choose from in the area.
Speaking of bars, you must be ready for some serious eats by now. Have dinner at Valà in via Cesare da Sesto and then head to the Navigli District, a charming area named after the system of canals that run through it — any bar there will be worth popping into.
But wait… I was told there would be aperitivo?
No, we didn’t forget. You can’t do Milan without following the time-honoured tradition of the aperitivo — a wonderfully laid-back combination of food, drink, and socializing.
(If you’re indecisive and don’t like having options, you can stop reading here and skip to the food chapter.)
Musement sent a virtual avalanche of bar recommendations our way, and we’re damned if we’re keeping all this juicy inside information to ourselves. — nothing dampens a traveler’s adventurous spirit quite like not knowing where the best drinks are.
Speaking of spirit, check out Spirit de Milan for a chill place to to dance, eat, drink, and make new friends. Deus Cafe, Fonderie Milanesi, Frida, and La Cerba also come with the local seal of approval, as do La Buca di San Vincenzo in Via San Vincenzo, Red Red Wine in Via Carlone, Santeria Paladini, and Bar Cuore in Via Mora.
But you’re not done bar-hopping through Milan yet! Take your pick between Rob de Matt, Mare Culturale Urbano, Circolo Ex Combattenti e Reduci Bastioni Di Porta Volta, Frizzi e Lazzi, il Picchio, and Otto — all among team Musement’s favourites.
(Don’t have time to try all of these on one trip? Guess you’re just going to have to move to Milan.)
And now the most important part — Milanese food
An aperitivo is all very well, but you can’t leave Milan without trying the city’s most famous dishes. For a perfect Risotto alla Milanese, Ratanà comes highly recommended. Be sure to also try the Cotoletta alla Milanese at Osteria Brunello.
What else could you possibly eat in Italy?
There’s a reason this legendary pie is one of this country’s most famous exports. If you want to see eyes light up, ask Italians about pizza (and if you want to start a fight, tell them you like pineapple on yours).
When it’s time for dessert in Milan, gelato is the name of the game. Try Oasi del Gelato in Piazza della Resistenza Partigiana, Wally in Piazzale Lavater, and Baci Sottozero in Piazzale Siena. In particular, the salted pistachio gelato at Artico comes highly recommended. Got a sweet tooth but getting tired of all the ice cream? Any of the sweets at Pasticceria Marchesi are guaranteed to blow your mind, if it somehow wasn’t sufficiently blown by Milan already.
Congratulations! You’ve eaten and drunk your way through Milan — and seen countless world-famous sights along the way.
You’re now ready for the next step: moving there! Musement is hiring and — SPOILER ALERT — they’re a dream employer. Check out their openings here:
Don’t forget to show Musement & Milan your love by hitting that 👏
This post was written for the Jobbatical Blog by Maria Magdaleena Lamp. My thanks to Francesca, Adrien, Alyssa, Federica, and Margherita from team Musement for their invaluable information. Not all of their amazing suggestions even made it into this article, so keep your eyes peeled for a follow-up!