Milan is the industrial powerhouse of Italy, a fast-paced metropolis and a fashion capital of Europe. At first glance, it can seem worlds apart from other popular Italian cities like Florence or Venice.
But look beyond the surface and you’ll find passionate locals and a vibrancy that bridges the gap between old and new with true Italian style.
If you want to immerse yourself in the Milanese lifestyle – coffee, Campari and calcio (that’s football to you and me) – Bob’s got you covered with his well-equipped, eco-friendly apartments in the Ticinese district. This lively, bohemian neighbourhood is loved by locals for its family-run trattorias, vintage shopping and excellent nightlife.
Want to know more? Check out Bob’s guide to Porta Ticinese.
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No visit to Milan would be complete without a trip to the world-famous cathedral, the Duomo di Milano. This vast church is one of the world's largest and instantly recognisable thanks to its pale-pink marble exterior. The enormous cathedral contains impressive paintings and sculptures, but the rooftop is the real highlight for many visitors. Climb the 256 stairs (or save your legs and take the lifts) to admire a spectacular panorama of the city.
During your stay with Bob, we also recommend a quick visit to two city gates that have given this district its name: the Medieval Porta Ticinese and the neoclassical Arco di Porta Ticinese. The Medieval gate dates back to the 12th century and is one of only three remaining in Milan. The newer Arco di Porta Ticinese was first added in the 16th century while the city was under Spanish rule but was later rebuilt in honour of a Napoleonic victory. You’ll probably pass both while exploring the city, but they’re worth a closer look.
If paintings are more your thing, fear not – the city has several fantastic art galleries that are well worth a visit. The Pinacoteca di Brera is the main gallery for paintings in the city, with incredible works by several of the Old Masters – Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese.
Follow up your visit to Pinacoteca di Brera with a trip to the Museo del Novecento (the Museum of the 20th Century) to contrast the older works with more recent pieces by Umberto Boccioni, Campigli, and Marinetti, to name just a few. The building itself overlooks the Piazza del Duomo, so you’ll be right in the heart of the city (and only a few minutes’ walk from Bob’s apartments).
Milan is home to a whopping 15 Michelin–Starred restaurants, making this one of the culinary capitals of a nation already regarded as one of the best foodie destinations in the world. Lucky for you, there are several excellent restaurants around Ticinese that you can enjoy during your stay with Bob.
If you want classic Italian dishes with a fine-dining spin, look no further than Dal Bolognese. Their signature dish is the much-loved ragù from Bologna, but they also have sensational local dishes such as the iconic vitello alla milanese – super-crispy breaded veal fillet. Book a table here for hearty fare cooked with love and expert precision, with top-quality service.
Wine aficionados, treat yourself to a delicious dinner at La Dogana del Buongusto. With a 400-strong wine list, you’re sure to find something to wet your whistle. The food menu focuses on traditional Milanese and Lombardy cuisine. Sample some classic local dishes with the tasting menu, available every day at lunch and dinner. Diners with a smaller appetite can order from the a la carte.
The Ticinese quarter is widely loved by the Milanese for its broad range of trattorias – restaurants with more relaxed service. Try Nerino Dieci Trattoria for a family-run option. The menu is small and select, with typical Milanese and pan-Italian dishes made in a family style. This is food that Italians like to eat.
Another great choice is Ciciarà, a trattoria driven by seasonal produce that the head chef finds at local food markets. The menu changes regularly to reflect what’s available, but you can expect a combination of classic pastas and risottos, along with less familiar dishes to help you broaden your horizons!
Cafes and breakfast
Start your day right no matter what you’ve got planned – sightseeing, taking day trips out to the Italian lakes or working remotely from your stylish Bob W apartment.
One of Bob’s favourite local spots is Don Bistrò, a cafe that serves delicious coffee and pastries, as well as smoothies, pancakes and hearty bowls. It’s got some great vegan options and offers excellent service from friendly staff. Buy a Breakfast Pass from Bob to eat at Don Bistrò at a discount during your stay.
Another popular spot not far from your apartment in Milan is NOWHERE, a micro-roastery and coffee shop that also serves a brunch and lunch menu. The welcoming staff focus on specialty coffee, handmade fresh food and an inclusive atmosphere. Like the coffee? You can buy some beans to take home with you.
And for a sweet treat while you’re on the go, pop into Ammù Cannoli Espressi for a taste of Sicily in Milan. This pasticceria specialises in cannoli – you can order small, medium or large, fill it with creamy ricotta and add toppings of your choice. Absolute heaven.
Bars and nightlife
Ask almost anyone from Milan where to find a good place for a drink and they’ll tell you to head to the Navigli. These two canals – the Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Pavese – are lined with bars, cafes and restaurants, making this the perfect destination for anyone looking for aperitivo or a late-night tipple. You’ll find both just a 15-minute walk from Bob’s apartments.
For a pre-dinner drink and snack, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the MAG CAFE. Popular among both locals and tourists and is widely considered one of the best spots in the city for aperitivo. The menu has a fantastic combination of classic cocktails and more interesting creations, all made by experienced staff in a quirky and welcoming setting. Sit outside to enjoy the view of the canal or head indoors to grab a seat at the bar. If you want a similar vibe without heading into the Navigli, you’ll find a sister bar, MAG La Pusterla, only 10 minutes from your apartment.
For late-night elegance with sweeping city views, pay a visit to The Roof. This rooftop bar, just a few steps from the Duomo, is open from midday until late (1 a.m. most days, or 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights). You can pop in for a coffee before lunch or a spritz before dinner, or snag yourself a seat outside and settle in for the whole evening. Booking is recommended, as it tends to fill up.
Want to put on your dancing shoes? Head to TOM (The Ordinary Market). This bar-cafe-restaurant-club does a little bit of everything. You can work remotely while you eat lunch, come for aperitivo, grab a dinner with new friends or dance the night away with late-night music. Friday nights see a live music dinner followed by a nostalgic ’90s disco. It’s great fun.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Milan without a bit of shopping – this city is home to some of Italy’s most iconic fashion designers, including Moschino, Giorgio Armani, and Prada. You’ll find the best designer stores at the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, a luxury arcade that dates back to the 19th century.
But let’s be honest, most of us aren’t doing our regular clothes shopping at Versace. If you want designer clothes at a slightly more affordable price, check out Cavalli e Nastri. They sell vintage and second-hand designer clothes with true Milanese style. Browse the rails and treat yourself to a statement piece to treasure.
LaPatty Gelosa Bijoux sells beautiful handmade jewellery, including chunky rings, delicate necklaces and stunning earrings. The store itself is gorgeous, so it’s worth a visit even if you don’t plan to buy anything – but one glance at the pieces inside and you’ll want to.
If you’re in Milan for the last Sunday of the month, take a trip to the Navigli Antique Market. This huge flea market has more than 400 stalls, with sellers offering clothes, jewellery, books, furniture and anything else you can imagine. Wander along the Naviglio Grande and see what gems you can uncover.
Sports and wellness
Finding fresh air and green space in a bustling city isn’t always easy, but you can get your fill at the nearby Parco Giovanni Paolo II. This beautiful park is known to locals as the ‘Parco delle Basiliche’, or ‘Basilicas Park’, because it joins two gorgeous churches. Combine culture with a bit of exercise as you wander from the Basilico of San Lorenzo to the Basilica of Sant’Eusorgio through the peaceful stretch of greenery.
Or, if you’d rather stick to your at-home routine with a gym workout, visit 20Hours Club Zecca. Bob gives all his guests a complimentary day pass each day of their stay. It’s less than 10 minutes from our Milan apartments, so you can get a workout in before you go sightseeing or start your day.
Stay in the heart of the Porta Ticinese in Milan with a comfortable Bob W apartment. With complimentary gym access and discounted breakfast passes to Don Bistrò Milano, plus everything you need for short- or long-term stays, you’ll be able to live like the Milanese.
For the best rates and perks, book directly on bobw.co.