Milan is the financial capital of Italy, but it is not just business, fashion and design. It is much more than that, and it is stepping effortlessly into the role of world-class hub for the contemporary Italian renaissance, becoming the expression of an elegant and stylish lifestyle. In order to find out more about the wave of renewal that has swept through Milan, we spoke to six personalities whose identities are closely linked to the city’s characteristics.
Alberto Nespoli, interior designer
Which are your favourite locations in Milan?
The places I love most are Villa Necchi Campiglio, the terrace on the Fondazione Prada tower, and the rooftops and spires of the Cathedral.
How has Milan changed over the years?
When I was at University, Milan was less approachable and harder to understand. It has always been different to Rome, in that its beauty is hidden, within its secret courtyards. When I arrived in Milan, the digital revolution hadn’t yet arrived, there were no smartphones or social media.
What are the characteristics of a 21st-century Milanese man?
Courtesy in both business and leisure circles. It’s an attitude, the way you are, more than the way you look.
Flavio Angiolillo, entrepreneur and mixologist
Flavio, you are from Rome, and you have lived much of your life in France. Why did you choose Milan?
Because Milan gave me the chance to achieve my ambitions. It would never have been possible in another city. My favourite locations: Piazza Sant’Alessandro, a bench in front of the church of San Cristoforo on the Naviglio Grande canal, and Iter, in via Fusetti 1. Other places linked to my work as a mixologist include the Camparino café in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Rita, and MAG Café.
What are the characteristics of a 21st-century Milanese man?
Humility, and elegance in everything he does! Elegance is more than just style in clothing. It’s about the way you hold a glass of wine, how you eat, pay the bill, how you walk, and the fragrance that you wear.
Gustano Martini, designer and artista
Gustavo, you were born in Rio de Janeiro. What brought you to Milan, and why did you make it your city of adoption?
Milan is the world capital of design, a place where you can work with skilled Italian artisans, a remarkable experience. It is a relatively small city, but it has a truly international outlook. I like its green areas, but my favourite location is Hangar Bicocca, for its focus on art, and the way that its immense size helps us reflect on our own concept of proportion.
Graziano Della Nebbia, fashion DJ
What made you fall in love with Milan?
In Milan, a lot of attention is dedicated to elegance and looks, and club-goers are glamorous, creative, with an exceptional eye for detail. More than any other city in Italy, Milan keeps up with the spirit of the age, and even initiates trends and styles. It is a city with unlimited resources of originality.
Francesco Cirignotta, barber and hair stylist
Why did you make Milan your home?
Children belong to the people who bring them up. Milan adopted me when I was a child, and it has always been with me, allowing me to make mistakes, excel, grow and attain success. Milan returns the favours you pay it, like a fruit tree carefully cultivated by a man of the land. My favourite place is the hill named Monte Stella, near San Siro. I went running there for years, and I find it enchanting. I like walking up in order to think.
How would you describe 21st century Milanese elegance?
Vanity represents a force propelling the quest for beauty, and, for Italian men who often feel inextricably linked to their historical heritage, it helps give meaning to the concept of elegance, at least as regards image and content. It is up to us all to rediscover the most profound values of elegance.
Fabio Tameni, actor
Fabio, you were born in Brescia, you lived in London for three years, and you have been in Milan for seven years. What do you like about Milan?
It was work that brought me to Milan, but very soon, I fell head over heels in love with the city. Its frenetic weekdays were attenuated by rainy Sundays eating out at a small, family-run restaurant in the Porta Romana district in the company of a few dear friends. It’s difficult to express, but Milan has a very special atmosphere if you manage to experience it in this way.
What are your favourite locations?
Without doubt, the pastry-shop “L’arte del Dolce” is one of my favourite venues. Benny and Rosy are my aunts of adoption, they are virtually my second family in Milan. I love the antiques markets and the vintage shops in the canal district, the trees on Via Ampère, and Ebony Bar. These are all places that I first experienced when I was 17, studying at the acting school “C.T.A. – Centro Teatro Attivo.”
Considering Milan as a giant stage, which locations and performers express the city best?
The Porta Romana lifestyle, genteel ladies sitting at café tables and sipping Prosecco, or walking their dog, going shopping, meeting on the corner of via Orti for a quick greeting. Other places that I love are Bar Basso and Pasticceria Cucchi, the Ortica dance-hall, and Sala Venezia.
How has Milan changed from when you first arrived?
I was 17 when I reached Milan in 2007, arriving from the province where things were simpler and more straightforward. I found Milan beautiful and innovative, but to a degree straitjacketed, as if trapped inside a crystal ball. But even then, you could feel the tremors that represented the prelude to the meteoric development that would bring it to where it is today.
The venues chosen by the 6 personalities:
Villa Necchi Campiglio, Via Mozart 14, 20122 Milano, tel. +39 02 7634 0121
Fondazione Prada, Largo Isarco 2, 20139 Milano, tel. +39 02 5666 2611
Hangar Bicocca, Via Chiese 2, 20126 Milano, tel. +39 02 6611 1573
Iter, Via Fusetti 1, Milano, tel. +39 02 3599 9589
Camparino café, Piazza del Duomo 21, 20121 Milano, tel. +39 02 8646 4435
Rita & Cocktails, Via Angelo Fumagalli, 1, 20143 Milano, tel. +39 02 8372 865
MAG Café, Ripa di Porta Ticinese 43, 20143 Milano, tel. +39 02 3956 2875
L’arte del Dolce, Viale Umbria 15, 20135 Milano, tel. +39 02 5501 0611
Ebony Bar, Via Ampère 98, 20131 Milano, tel. +39 02 2847 572
Bar Basso, via Plinio 19, 20020 Milano, tel. +39 02 2940 0580
Pasticceria Cucchi, Corso Genova 1, 20123 Milano, tel. +39 02 8940 9793
Ortica dance-hall, Via Giovanni Antonio Amadeo 78, 20134 Milano, tel. +39 02 7012 8680
Sala Venezia, Via Alvise Cadamosto 2/A, 20129 Milano, tel. +39 02 2043 765