Milano is a city intrinsically linked to its past and, in 2019, a record number of 549 historic institutions were officially registered as having traded successfully for over 50 years whilst still upholding their original aesthetic and architectural characteristics. Traditions that stem way back in time, unique in their kind, and that continue to be loyally preserved in the spirit of true authentic flavours.
Join us on our foodie itinerary - be it refined dishes or street food - to discover the places that are part of Milano's history.
A morning in piazza Duomo: breakfast at Camparino
What better treat than a leisurely breakfast overlooking the Duomo in the beating heart of Milano. As your gaze revels in the backdrop of Piazza Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, sit back comfortably and enjoy your coffee as you absorb the sounds of the pleasant early-morning bustle.
Take a sip and look around: the Art Nouveau walls and decorative furnishings perfectly evoke the atmosphere of the avant-garde era and it’s easy to imagine yourself back in 1915, mingling with the bar’s eclectic patrons.
The aperitif as we know it today did not exist yet: Camparino was the first bar to serve its customers a perfectly balanced cocktail of Campari and soda, delightfully thirst-quenching and always perfectly chilled. In the blink of an eye, the venue became the city’s most popular haunt and Camparino’s status and lengthy history saw it at the centre of attention of many; it was frequently under new management, and often with a new name, up until 2012 when it was once again named Camparino.
Where: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II corner Piazza Duomo
A lunch that sets a place in history: the flavour of Trattoria alla Pesa
But one cannot live by history alone, or even by Campari alone: it's time for lunch and the list of historic trattorie and restaurants in Milano is as long as your arm. Well worth a mention amongst the truly iconic venues is Trattoria alla Pesa, located where - from the nineteenth century up to 30 years ago - goods entering the city were once weighed, taxed and then admitted through Porta Garibaldi. Nowadays, it is a venue steeped in tradition and inherent good taste with a menu of typically Milanese flavours.
Where: Viale Pasubio 10
Classiness in Galleria: Ristorante Savini
If refined cuisine reigns at Trattoria alla Pesa, albeit in the simplicity of a trattoria, the city can also boast a traditional restaurant that once was the drawing room of the international belle époque: Restaurant Savini.
«The Savini Academy holds two, if not three, sessions per day: breakfast, aperitif time and après-theatre»
Giuseppe Fontana, Maria Callas, Tommaso Marinetti and Eleonora Duse are just some of the distinguished names from the world of art, culture, music and politics to have sat at these tables and exchanged their views, defining the international panorama that is part of us all.
Where: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The panzerotto that has united north and south: Panificio Luini
Eating out in Milano is history and culture, but also street food. Indeed on our list of historical locations, we also have a very central street food venue, take-away cuisine at its best!
Small, but not too small, satisfying, delicious and always oven-warm with just the right amount of crunchiness, the scrumptious panzerotti have delighted both adults and children since 1949.
The famous Panzerotti Luini was the brainchild of Giuseppina Luini. As a family of migrants from Puglia, the Luini family turned this bakery into a sacred temple of fast food where, over generations, Milanese and tourists have happily queued up for most succulent panzerotti in the city.
Worth a mention: the Luini family have proudly celebrated an impressive 70 years of trading (1949-2019) and the anniversary of the prestigious Ambrogino d’oro award!
Where: Via Santa Radegonda 16
To end on a sweet note: Pasticceria Cova
Like any great meal, our culinary excursus ends on a sweet note. In Via Montenapoleone, nestled amongst luxury boutiques and alluring shop windows, stands the famous pasticceria Cova. Initially known as Caffè del Giardino, from the moment it opened its doors it immediately became the popular après-theatre haunt for famous artists, writers, musicians and intellectuals.
Against a backdrop of vintage white tableware and furnishings, every sweet creation is showcased in the window like an elegant gem dressed for the occasion. A 200-year tradition endorsed by a chocolate button that has become the iconic symbol of this unique pastry shop.
Where: Via Monte Napoleone 8