The Perfect Day: Romina Ciferni’s food-and-drink-filled guide to Milan

Romina Ciferni, an industrial design and visual communication grad from Politecnico di Milano who now works in public relations, has been living in Milan for 20 years and says that the landscape of the city has been constantly evolving while she’s been there. The last few years running up to Expo Milano 2015, which was themed “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” brought particularly inspiring transformations to the city, including the Bosco Verticale as well as Piuarch’s White Wave building in Porta Nuovo. Ciferni’s perfect day in Milan involves a 15-kilometre walking tour that reads like a love letter to Italian architecture. And it just so happens that a number of her favourite spots boast the best food and drink menus in the city.

The early bird gets the espresso
“Quiet, beautiful and a magnet for light in the morning, Bar Luce [luce means “light” in Italian] is the best place to grab an espresso and a traditional Italian breakfast, a cornetto [croissant]. The café’s decor is designed by film director Wes Anderson and breathes a retro air of 1950s to ’60s Italian pop-culture, but also pays homage to the decorative details of the building’s original structure — the arched ceiling mirrors the glass roof of Milan’s famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele ll.”

Catch a new exhibit
“After breakfast, I love checking out what new exhibits have popped up within the Fondazione Prada [an institution dedicated to contemporary design and culture]. A distillery redeveloped into an art and culture compound by Rem Koolhaas, even the buildings themselves offer a feast for the eyes.”

Mangia, mangia
“One place I keep going back to is Spazio by Niko Romito Formazione. It’s a teaching kitchen, so the menu is always evolving and an incredible four-course lunch comes at a really decent price. I also love the atmosphere here; it’s really romantic and the venue offers a panoramic view of the Duomo. Great for people watching!”

‘One place I keep going back to is Spazio by Niko Romito Formazione. It’s a teaching kitchen, so the menu is always evolving’

Stop and smell the roses
“One of my favourite walks through the city is within a developing area that lies at the base of the skyscrapers in Porta Nuova. A perfect balance again of new and old, in Isola you’ll find award-winning garden terraces. Coined Bosco Verticale, which means ‘vertical forest,’ this little urban greenhouse offers 10,000 square metres of greenery and flowers planted within the buildings.”

Explore a landmark
The Triennale Design Museum is more than 100 years old. I try to make it there at least five times a year. A tourist hot spot, it’s a must-see.”

Aperitivo in the park
“Next to the Triennale is Parco Sempione. I love getting lost in the lush greenery and stopping in for a pre-dinner aperitivo at Bar Bianco; they have a lovely outdoor terrace.”

Say formaggio!
“I adore cheese and LadyBù always has a diverse seasonal selection. And when you pair it with their homemade focaccia bread, it’s magic. A fairly typical Italian menu at fair prices, it’s very famiglia friendly and makes me feel like I’m at home.”

Have a nightcap
“After dinner I love walking through the Navigli to meet up with friends. Rita & Cocktails is my standard. I like it not only because my mother’s name is Rita, but because it’s one of the best cocktail bars in Milan. My drink of choice is Gin Zen. It’s a cool, fresh cocktail accompanied by warm service.”

An evening passegiata
“I love being able to walk everywhere. Milan is very easy to get around by foot. And since the city has been going through so many transformations, it’s nice to be able to take a few minutes to really look, reflect and notice the details that I don’t normally notice on my day-to-day.”

Read more from La Carte’s Food & Drink issue here.

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