Milan is Italy’s fashion-forward metropolis; the country’s answer to New York City in that it has a fabulous restaurant scene, a robust banking sector, and a rich design scene to match. But what about environmental awareness? Like the rest of the world, Milan is moving in the direction of sustainability and botanics, one green hotel and community garden at a time. Here’s where to stay, what to eat, and what to see on your next “green” trip to Milan.
Starhotels Milan E.c.ho.
Starhotels Milan E.c.ho. is a luxe, minimalist, eco-friendly hotel located right next to Milano Centrale, a mere 3.2 km from Milan Cathedral, aka Duomo. What better way to explore one of the world’s most fashionable cities than to commune in a beautiful green hotel? With 143 chic rooms that don’t skimp on the creature comforts, you can feel good about knowing that your room has been furnished with recycled materials, sustainable fabrics, energy-efficient heating and lighting systems and a garden terrace for minimal environmental impact. Rooms come with free Wi-Fi and a lovely breakfast is also complimentary, featuring fresh local produce, meats, and artisan cheeses and eggs as well a suite of locally-made baked goods.
We love the stylish bar and the gorgeous rooftop fitness center with panoramic city views– but above all we love the hotel’s dedication to true sustainability, even in the smallest details. Hotel wallpaper boasts a “Nordic Ecolabel” certification while all paper-based materials are certified with the FSC. External walls are thermo-insulated, while stoneware flooring features a “Livegreen” certification, and floor corridor carpeting has a “Solution Q” certification. hot water is produced by cooling plant heat recovery and grey water is recovered for WC flushing and plant irrigation. To top it all off, the space is beautiful– exactly the kind of refine elegance you’d expect of a dream Italian getaway, without the negative impact on the environment. What could be better?
LùBar‘s unique brand of slow street food is a little unusual for Milan– a city that loves long, luxurious, multi-course dining. But with easily accessible locations on via Palestro and in Milano Centrale (Central Station), the cafe and coffee bar is accruing more and more attention from locals and tourists alike. LùBar has what is, in our opinion, the best avocado toast in the city, and beautiful botanical decor that keeps popping up on Instagram.
Villa Necchi Campiglio
Villa Necchi Campiglio is the beautiful estate and garden featured in Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love thriller featuring Tilda Swinton and music by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Today, Villa Necchi is an oasis of calm in the centre of Milan, featuring a beautiful villa built between 1932 and 1935 by architect Piero Portaluppi, as well as a swimming pool, garden, and tennis court that belonged to Angelo Campiglio and his family– a prominent Lombard industrial family. The decor as well as the garden have been maintained in the style that would have featured prominently in the villa in the 1930s.
Joia‘s “high vegetarian cuisine” is a rare find in veal-obsessed Milan, but Michelin-starred chef Pietro Leemann handles vegetables with aplomb. Expect a micro-gastronomic take on rich European haute flavors, as well as flawless plating and the best and most colorful local produce that Milan has to offer. Enthusiastic parties should make a reservation for weekends or during tourist season, as there can be a wait.
Bosco Verticale is a landmark that every “green” lover should see on a trip to Milan. Located in Milan’s Porto Nuova district, this pair of tree-covered residential buildings contains more than 900 trees! Originally designed to fight air pollution, the buildings have become a tourist attracting in their own right, standing as a symbol of the way in which Italy’s architects are setting an example for how to live in concert with nature without destroying the city’s architectural past. Principle architects include Stefano Boeri, Giovanni La Varra, and Gianandrea Barreca, who won the International Highrise Award for this achievement in 2014.
Fondazione Prada is an interactive art exposition space dedicated to preserving and championing what is considered some of the most future-forward art in Italy– which is to say that it is a little eccentric, conceived around the idea of promoting “dialogues with acclaimed contemporary artists.”
Since 1995, Fondazione Prada has been co-chaired by Miuccia Prada (she of the clothing line) and Patrizio Bertelli, who together organized over 24 world-class solo shows at various exhibition spaces around Milan until they opened this permanent space in the city in 2015.
Milan has no shortage of trendy bars, but the Wes Anderson-designed Bar Luce might be the most special. Located just inside the Fondazione Prada, the cafe features a set of Bill Murray-inspired pinball machines, retro wallpaper, and even a jukebox, the culmination of which make the place feel like the set of a real Wes Anderson movie. The sandwich menu and bakery are also excellent– opt for a slice of the iconic “pink” Bar Luce cake, order an espresso, and bask in the perfect afternoon.
The best grass-fed gelato in Milan can be found at Terra, whose name– “earth”– is the operating credo. One might think that all gelato in Italy is local, but not all of it is produced from antibiotic-free, grass-fed cows. Not so at Terra, which was recently voted the best gelato in Milan. You can’t go to Italy without experiencing boutique gelato, right?
God Save The Food
This trendy neighborhood staple is a great place to go for a modern take on locavore food. God Save The Food is a young Milano’s preferred hang out, with heathy veggie-heavy options with an Italian twist. Try the fresh, local caprese salad or their ricotta-filled take on a burrito, or simple opt for a colorful green salad with fresh avocado and turmeric-olive oil dressing (you get the idea). Stay for the people watching at the Brera location– it’s very young and hip.
C & C Milano
For gorgeous objet and conscious, local design, visitors to the city need go no further than C&C Milano, one of the city’s original design hubs known for their incredible, elegant linens, ceramics, and assorted homewares. Whether shopping for home, a hospitality environment, or (lucky you!) a yacht, C&C has all your design needs taken care of– from their rich archive of locally made heritage textiles to the timeless wallpapers and accessories that keep design lovers coming back for generations.