A Rainy Day in Milan

How can you best spend a rainy day in Milan? There are so many options! 

One of my personal favorites is to visit Milan’s covered shopping center La Galleria, between the Duomo and Piazza Scala.

View from the Marchesi café over Milan’s Galleria

Here are the very ingredients for enjoying the city even when it’s pouring: fun people-watching, comfortable seating and a snack or aperitivo worthy of the name, at Pasticceria Marchesi above the Prada store. 

Waiting for your order at Marchesi

The experience is not cheap, but the pleasure of an hour in a comfortable, unhurried and beautifully-appointed Italian cafè overlooking the shoppers below, is worth it! You’ll discover what the 19th century shopping experience must have been for the well-heeled Milanesi of that era.


Marchesi dessert display cabinet

The desserts on display at Marchesi are nothing short of perfection, and believe it or not… they taste as good as they look!

This outstanding pastry shop was opened in 1842 by the Marchesi family and has been a beacon of confectionery excellence in the city ever since. 


Next time you are in Milan, don’t miss it! Let me know when you go, so I can meet you there.

Joia Restaurant

Ristorante Joia is quite simply my favorite restaurant in Milan for many reasons: the delicious food of course, the calming, quiet atmosphere of the restaurant, the values that underpin the decisions made by Joia’s visionary chef/owner Pietro Leemann and the reasonable prices (especially for a Michelin-starred restaurant).

Joia’s lunch menu has many seasonal and beautiful options but I invariably choose the Piatto Quadro (“Square Meal”), an ingenious invention where lunch diners have the pleasure of trying five of the chef’s newest recipe creations presented on a single square plate. Since the price is so reasonable for such an exceptional place it’s easy to go back again (and again!).

Piatto Quadro (square meal)

Pietro Leemann‘s serious vision for eating well plays out in the use of super-fresh, flavourful ingredients and the satisfying texture and consistency found in each dish. Going to his restaurant means trying whatever is in season in that moment, presented in a creative, attractive yet simple manner. The flavour pairings are occasionally unexpected but always harmonious, and I have never tasted an unsuccessful combination. Pietro enjoys using Lombardy’s local cheeses as well as seeds and other pleasing ingredients that go crunch when you put them in your mouth. It will be an unprecedented flavor experience who will probably leave you satisfied. 

Going to Joia for lunch is one of the pleasures of living in Milan.  The recommendation of a vegetarian restaurant in Milan may be surprising, coming from a carnivore born in Kansas.  Pay Joia a visit, and you will see why. The restaurant is right in the beating heart of Milan’s eclectic district of Porta Nuova, near the Giardini Pubblici, and can be easily reached with the underground.

Klein/Fontana at Palazzo Reale in Milan

Luigi and I visited the fascinating Klein/Fontana exhibit at the Museo del ‘900 in piazza Duomo. Klein was a ground-breaking French artist who during his short life changed perceptions about pure color and used his iconic blue pigment in striking works of performance art and minimalist art. Lucio Fontana was an important mentor and collector. The exhibit ends 15 March. http://www.museodelnovecento.org/en/le-mostre/presente-menu/581-klein-fontana.

We enjoyed the exhibit and were glad we weren’t in the long lines in front of the Palazzo Reale to see Picasso!