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On Sundays, many shops and restaurants are closed in Milan – almost all of them, actually. So walking around the city could be an unsatisfactory experience... unless you know where to go.
Sunday mornings in Milan are as tranquil as they come. There are few cars around and locals have fled the city to relax elsewhere. The most peripheral neighbourhoods look deserted, tourists invade the city centre, museums get filled and finding a place serving food or drinks is not always so simple. Here are a few ideas for a pleasant Sunday in Milan, living it to the fullest.
Museums are all open and crowded. Palazzo Reale usually has a long queue out front, especially on the first Sunday of each month when entry is free.
While many wander around the Duomo, between the Museo del Novecento and the Pinacoteca di Brera, only a few know about the Modern Art Gallery, or GAM. This municipal museum in Villa Reale, which faces the gardens of via Palestro, houses the civic collection of 19th century works. The Villa (including the back garden) is itself a masterpiece of Milanese neoclassicism and hosts both temporary exhibitions and a permanent one that is unfortunately little-known, with works by Canova, Segantini, Medardo Rosso, Hayez in addition to international artists like Manet, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, Matisse and Renoir.
Start from Isola, the Milan nightlife district, and walk along the longest and most beautiful pedestrian path in the city. Cross piazza Gae Aulenti in the Porta Nuova district, then head towards Corso Como and then along Corso Garibaldi. From there, you can easily reach the Duomo. Other popular areas where shops stay open are Corso Buenos Aires, Corso Vercelli and Corso di Porta Ticinese, toward the Navigli district.
Italians are not too keen on brunch. The Sunday lunch is still the tradition, but some new places are interpreting the Anglo-Saxon rite in their own way, successfully.
Pandenus has several locations in Milan and offers a laid-back happy hour and lunches, based on the Italian bakery idea, and available all day long. At brunch every Sunday, three dishes are inspired by some of the most famous European neighbourhoods – Belgravia, Saint Germain, Charlottenburg – and based on egg. You’ll also find burgers, baby menus (for smaller options) and other treats, individual dishes and the bakery basket for those who prefer self-service. Menus include toast, butter and jam, coffee.
Within the Rinascente annex near the Duomo, the true Ligurian focaccia in Milan is the perfect break any time of day, especially a quick lunch or aperitif. The brunch offers the flavours of the Riviera every Saturday and Sunday. The legendary cheese focaccia is the star of the menu, alongside quiches, coffee and juice, plus a sweet finale.
Pastel colours and classic French patisserie in the heart of the Isola district. L’Ile Douce offers a brunch based on fried, scrambled or poached eggs and little treats like freshly made crepes suzettes.Besides coffee and juices, you can choose a glass of bubbly by small Italian and foreign wineries.
Big hotels in Milan offer a unique Sunday experience, opening their doors to guests and locals. For families, there is the classic brunch at the sumptuous Hotel Principe di Savoia. Fish and seafood tastings, fresh Italian cold-cuts and cheese, and some Italian traditional recipes revisited in a modern key. To end on a sweet note, there’s a parade of desserts. Another weekly event is on the seventh floor of the Excelsior Hotel Gallia for a typical “Italian Sunday”. The menu is dictated by tradition and inspired by the family lunches of the Cerea brothers of the 3-star Michelin restaurant Da Vittorio. Enjoy saffron risotto, Mondeghili (meatballs) alla Milanese, veal shank, ragu sauce, and much more…
A Campanian chef from the Procida Island, with experience at the restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, and a 28-seat restaurant in Milan Navigli district: The perfect formula for a surprising Sunday dinner (or lunch), made of Southern Italian flavours in a contemporary way. Marco Ambrosino’s cuisine is surprising and comforting, as found in his signature disheslike tagliolini with fondant leeks, powdered capers, lemon confit; burnt onion with fermented strawberries; ricotta cheese cake, pollen and roe ice cream. At 28 places, you can have three courses for €35 at lunch, but we recommend one of the tasting menus, either at lunch or dinner. Natural wine is available.