A city is perfect when it is easily accessible to people of all age groups: children enjoy the open spaces dedicated to them, in particular parks and gardens with playgrounds; while the elderly are lulled between quiet streets and urban spaces. Although Milano is a very busy international city, and it may seem hectic, it is still capable of hiding historical places of extraordinary beauty, which take you by surprise, almost suddenly. The swirling streets - the city's biggest ones, if travelled far and wide - silently preserve squares that are modest in size but peculiar and unique in terms of aesthetics, representing not only places of social gathering, but also inspirational cues for photographs able to attract many likes on the Instagram. By the way, tag us in your posts: @visit_milano #YesMilano !

 

Transl. edited by @silaskin

and @yesmilano

Sant'Alessandro Square

Without detracting from the charm of Piazza Duomo, Piazza Castello, Gae Aulenti, the beauty of San Simpliciano or the busier Cadorna, Repubblica and Loreto, the less-known Piazza Sant'Alessandro, located in the urban center, leaves you breathless. With the church of the same name and its staircase, a modest little bar and the campus of Languages Faculty of Università degli Studi di Milano, it is one of the places where students gather together in the heart of the city. Quiet and welcoming, the square is a quiet walkway that connects the crowded Torino street to Piazza Missori. A photo at the chiurch's entrance door can evoke the history of the beautiful bell tower dating from 1600.

Mentana Square

On the opposite side, nestled between Cinque Vie ("Five Streets"), lies Piazza Mentana, frequented by a very young audience thanks to its kiosk - famous for its ginger mojito - which has become a regular gathering of Milanese students. The square is the heart of Roman Milano and is surrounded by historic shops of glass craftsmanship, paintings and elegant jewelry. It is framed by horse chestnuts trees and, at its centre, you can see the Monument to the Fallen of Mentana Battle, which has been inaugurated in 1880 in the presence of Giuseppe Garibaldi (the most famous Italian patriot and leader).

Affari Square

A few steps from the center there is Piazza Affari. Relaunched by Cattelan's famous "finger", it is the protagonist of numerous photographic shots, especially during the many outdoor aperitifs that are organized here. The sculpture of the Italian artist is entitled L.O.V.E., acronym of "Libertà, Odio, Vendetta, Eternità" ("Freedom, Hate, Revenge, Eternity"; respectively), a symbol of protest against high finance. Precisely for this reason it was installed in front of the Mezzanotte Palace, the headquarters of Milano Stock Exchange. The City of Milano then decided to keep it in the heart of the square.

San Fedele Square

When a place is only accessible on foot, it's pretty obvious that it's beautiful. Piazza San Fedele, a passageway behind the Duomo, is actually a complex of great artistic importance. Palazzo Marino gives its back to it, while the famous statue of Manzoni is placed in its centre.

San Fedele is an architectural aggregate formed by the sixteenth-century Jesuit church, the crypt, the sacristy, the "chapel of the dancers" and a museum of paintings and reliquaries containing works of art ranging from the Fourteenth Century to the present. There is also an Auditorium that offers a Season entirely dedicated to experimental music, a meeting point for true connoisseurs.

Santo Stefano Square

Behind the Duomo you can bump into Piazza Santo Stefano which along its side hosts one of the most fascinating places in Milan: the Ossuary of San Bernardino.

The concrete cast in front of the imposing Church apparently was the "Laghetto di Santo Stefano" ("Little Lake of Santo Stefano") in the past, a landing place for the boats that used to transport the marble for the construction of the Duomo. The square, with its perfectly rectangular shape, is a small oasis of peace within the city.

Laghetto Street

Adjacent to Piazza Santo Stefano is the historic block of Via Laghetto, whose toponymy has not recognized the quality of "square". Yet, a photo shoot can tell the intersection of these narrow streets that narrate a silent and hidden Milano among small buildings with elegant facades, low doors and colorful windows. A café-library overlooks Largo, a meeting place for young Milanese people who, after their lessons at the University, enjoy an aperitif or a coffee. When special events are scheduled, the block gets rid of parked cars and crowds of people who seem to give life, with their lively presence, to small village festivals.

Sant'Eustorgio Square

Continuing in southern direction, towards the Darsena, it is possible to admire the beauty of the small green area of Piazza Sant'Eustorgio, stopping among the benches under the trees, at the entrance of the church of the same name, which is behind the green area "Parco delle Basiliche". The complex of
Sant'Eustorgio is composed of various elements: the Basilica, the Portinari Chapel, the Bell Tower, the Cloisters and the (ex) S. Fede Hospital. A small treasure just a few steps from Navigli.

Enrico Berlinguer Square

In the design area of Savona Street, nestled between modern buildings at the intersection with Tolstoy Street, there is Piazza Enrico Berlinguer, inaugurated by the City of Milano in 2012 to pay compliment to the Italian politician 90 years after his birth. This cosy place, with entirely pedestrian access, is ideal for a stop, perhaps with a good book to read on one of the benches arranged in the shade, and for the fun of children, who can walk and play without danger, in an environment protected from traffic.

Cesariano Street

Via Cesariano, located in the block between Moscova and Chinatown, is the afternoon meeting place for many families who come to the public games to entertain the little ones. Rather than a "street", it is a carved-out little square, full of benches to take a break in the greenery. The bars located around the park are a refreshment point where you can stop in peace. 6 p.m. is usually the time for an aperitif, with many different proposals, from Chinese wine bars to clubs with more intellectual spirit, capable of combining good taste with reading: this time slot is a good moment to enjoy the square.

Santa Francesca Romana Square

Piazza Santa Francesca Romana is hidden in the area of Porta Venezia. Between the great streets of Corso Buenos Aires and Viale Regina Giovanna there is a quiet spot made of clear benches lined perpendicularly in front of the church of the same name, built between 1662 and 1720, and dedicated to Santa Rosalia.
Across the street, around the entrance of the subway train passerby, young people from the neighborhood meet to practice hip hop, performing street breakdance. Every wednesday it is possible to buy 0 Km fruit and vegetables at one of the stalls set up by the Mercato Agricolo di Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori (Italian Confederation of Farmers Market).