The business capital of Italy — Milan, resonates with everything new, fresh and innovative. The futuristic villas (similar to the aesthetics of Villa Necchi Campiglio from the movie "Io sono l'amore" from 2009); and the CityLife residential complex created by the famous female architect Zaha Hadid, are both living proof of that. In the Isola area, the skyscrapers of Bosco Verticale (in Italian the "vertical forest") seem to be perceived as a separate sight-seeing spot, where the 'Macha Cafe' network and yoga studios have merged with the traditional Italian architectural style.
Adopt the joyful lifestyle of Italy,
Learn the mindful practices of India,
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Italian traditions are in the air: above the romantic channels of Navigli which was designed by Leonardo da Vinci, in the corridors of Pinacoteca di Brera, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana and in the not-so-famous but no less luxurious Museo Poldi Pezzoli: all of which introduce guests to Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio, and other everlasting artists.
Paving my "laptop-gallery-laptop" routes for the month, I was subconsciously thanking the man that invented freelancing. I got to listen to Bach in the Santa Maria Sergeta church, meet amazing people who introduced me to the Italian language and the old trattoria Laghett over a home cooked dinner. Although the brightest memories are those that don't fit into a check-list of vegetarian cafes, yoga studios and vintage markets, these never hurt as a lifeline!
Fresh and conceptual yoga studios in Milan are quite a rare find (I counted three). Therefore, even if you are only staying here a week, you can tick them all off our to-do list! The most popular one is Сity Zen. The space also offers many healing arts such as osteopathy, Ayurvedic and Thai massages, and doctor consultations. Passing through a spacious guest room with wide windows, you'll find a library (all books in which are, of course, in Italian) and a small shop where you should definitely stock up on some Here After essential oils.
If spending money on your practice was not part of the budget plan, but you miss your time on the mat — check Nalu Yoga out! Make sure to say "privet" ("hi" in Russian) from Dasha. Do it in Russian though, since this studio is founded by a mother and her daughter from Chelyabinsk. Your soul will fill with warmth of the light sliding in through the roof windows while taking your first class there, which was made to be free in the best traditions of Eastern European hospitality. The studio is located in the beautiful courtyard of Via Olona and on your way there you'll immediately recall their slogan: "save the date for magic!". Later on in the day make sure to head down to Spazio Garibaldi 77 to the Yoga Essential store — the space is located in one of the most prestigious areas of Milan — Brera, where you can stock up on all your yogi travel essentials!
While all Italian avocado-addicts are waiting for Avocadino's opening, the alternative is in the face of another green "drug" just around the corner — the Macha Cafe network. A refreshingly gentle matcha ice latte (best on rice milk) will be your daily caffeine fix and make sure to try their specialty: the matcha cheesecake. Head to Fancytoast or Acai Sisters for a snack, and after seeing the famous Duomo di Milano cathedral, escape the crowds of tourists at Flavors and give their blue chi-pudding a chance to conquer your Instagram feed. The ideal dinner for any foodie has already been thought out at Soulgreen, where you can savour either the beet juice or the soulwine (to each their own, as they say!) in great company on an outdoor terrace. If later in the day you find yourself meditating at the Naviglio Grande, make sure to stop at the blooming VersoVerde bistro for a late-evening snack.
If your friends are indifferent to acai bowls and smoothies, drag them along anyway: on most menus they will find fresh fish, meat, eggs and Italian cheeses, and if you have burger fans among them, you'll all enjoy the Flower Burger. There, vegan stuffing is decorated with pink, blue and yellow buns. Find more things at Fotto Bene Burger in order to satisfy the empty stomachs of any burger connoisseurs.
For swings instead of chairs at a place where the kitchen staff won't understand the word "gluten"- go to Pan Per Me and enjoy a great cup of tea and a fresh brioche for breakfast. Coffee lovers should pay a visit to the home of talented baristas in Milan — Orsonero Coffee. Later on, take away lunch from V3raw and have a picnic in the Indro Montanelli park across the street or smash a training session with #VTR3INING on the roof. If you find yourself in need of an additional meal along the way through the city center, head down to Ecooking and pick up some bigger portions for dinner.
Although Milan is known for being the fashion capital of Europe, it hides no less valuable gems in I Sentieri del Vento, which you won't leave without a pink salt lamp, incense seashells and a bunch of sage. On the second floor of the Milano Centrale station, where you'll find yourself saving up on the airport to hotel shuttle, don't get lazy to look for the unique gemstones and crystals at Le Pietre delle Meraviglie. After making your way one floor down, look for Rupi Kaur's new novel "The Sun and Her Flowers" in la Feltrinelli. Generally, if you're on a hunt for books in English, you will find them in Rivolli, passing Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, as well as in the American Bookstore and in the cult concept store at 10 Corso Como. For quality newspapers and magazines, go to the kiosk at the junction of Via Statuto and Via Solferino.
For vegan chocolate, superfoods and herbal collections check out the online store Bio c Bon or Centro Botanico. In Eataly, take a look at the detox juices Baba Succo (the beautiful packaging are a piece of art on their own!). You can also stock up on some coffee beans or spaghetti there as a gift for all your beautiful people back home!
When mainstream stores bore you, prepare for a vintage hunt after unique findings in Ideadada and through the not-so-secret markets of Milan — the East Market and Mercatino Milano Centrale. You'll find everything from plates to oversized jeans there, and trust us when we say that you won't be able to help falling in love with the milk-coloured shirts and embroideries from Madame Pauline's Vintage or with the midi dresses from Indian cotton in Batika Boutique. Don't leave without postcards that feature Italian history — you'll find them at the Pettinaroli printing house, founded in 1881 on Via Brera, 4.
Despite how many city guides you'll read through, how much time you spend walking through historical arenas, pinakothekas and gently pink alleyways, to us, the most accurate description of the country will remain a quote from Bill Wilder's comedy "Avanti!": "Italy is not a country, but a feeling".
Acai Sisters | Gian Carlo Castelbarco, 17 | 4-7,5 €
Ecooking | Gaetano Giardino, 3 |
Flavors | Gaetano Giardino, 2 | 3-14 €
Flower Burger | Vittorio Veneto, 10 | 6,5 - 9 €
Fancytoast | Alessandro Volta, 8 | 4,5 - 9 €
Fotto Bene Burger | Col di Lana, 6 |
Macha Cafe | chain |
Orsonero Coffee | Giuseppe Broggi, 15 |
Pan Per Me | Monte Nero, 57 |
Soulgreen | Giorgio e Guido Paglia 1/D | 5-12 €
VersoVerde | Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 150 |
V3raw | Lazzaro Spallanzani ang. Regina Giovanna, 16 |
Daria Beloglazova, Your Om founder