A reborn cathedral joins fashion-forward galleries and hotels.
Compared with the Italian troika of tourism — Florence, Venice and Rome — Milan is often an afterthought. But with novel, eye-catching design emerging around the city, that should soon change.
For years, unsightly scaffolding obscured the Milan Cathedral; now that most of it has been dismantled, the newly scrubbed Gothic masterpiece, also known as the Duomo, is worth a fresh look. Across the piazza, the city’s collection of 20th-century art is now showcased at the Museo del Novecento, which opened in December in the restored Palazzo dell’Arengario.
Outside the historic center, former factories have been transformed into design studios, old warehouses have been repurposed as unconventional art venues, and galleries are packed with avant-garde works. The eclectic Spazio Rossana Orlandi gallery displays the latest creations from emerging designers, while large-scale art installations from acclaimed international artists like Anselm Kiefer are exhibited at HangarBicocca, a cavernous art space that re-opened last year.
And though fashion followers still flock to the wish-filled windows of Miu Miu and Marni, fashion in Milan now extends beyond retail and runways. Arguably the most fashionable addition is the Hotel Milano Scala, which opened last year in a renovated 19th-century mansion singing the eco-chic promise of “zero-emissions hospitality.” In a country where green directives are not yet widespread, it proves that Milan is, once again, on the cutting edge.