The Brera District, the artists’ quarter: Milano’s most famous area buzzes with stylish bohemians, aperitif aficionados and loved-up couples. Its vibe also entices sophisticated shoppers - who pause in rapture in front of the dazzling innovative and antique shop windows - and mingle with the Fine Arts students frequenting the famous Academy.
Via Brera and its adjacent streets are tranquil oases in the city; somewhat detached from the frenetic rhythms and deadlines of the nearby hustle and bustle, the artists’ and writers’ quarter is where the pace of life slow down a beat. It feels good to sit and linger outside Bar Jamaica for an aperitif; the legendary venue is part of the history of Brera, much frequented by artists and intellectuals, habitués who gathered here to exchange views on literature or art.
Then, as the sun goes down, you could take a chance with one of the self-styled palm readers to find out what your future might entail or you could dine in one of the many eateries that line the narrow cobbled streets. If you’re a market lover don’t miss every third Sunday of the month (except August) when via Brera and via Fiori Chiari come alive with antique stalls selling jewels, worked glass and modern antiques.
Here, especially in the small surrounding streets where it feels good to let go and indulge in the enchanted maze, you can inhale the understated luxury of the countless ateliers, shops and artisan spaces that conceal infinite treasures, ready to be discovered and coveted.
Moving towards via Solferino, not far from via Brera, you’ll come across historic churches that are a treasure chest of artistic gems such as that of ancient San Marco.
It’s hard to resist stepping over the threshold of the impressive Palazzo di Brera to visit the famous Pinacoteca di Brera art gallery that vaunts masterpieces by Raphael, Mantegna and Piero della Francesca, then you can enter the Botanical Garden (free entry) to pause a while in one of the city’s most enchanting and secluded places, or even fit in a visit to the fascinating Astronomical Observatory and museum.
From here you can head towards the centre to the legendary La Scala opera house and, of course, the Duomo, a few minutes away, not before having admired some of Milano’s most beautiful noble palazzi along the way.