Steeped in history, arts and culture, there’s certainly no shortage of things to see and do in the magnificent Italian city of Milan. Whether it’s soaking up the amazing and unique examples of Gothic or Neoclassical architecture, or marveling at the modern skyline of towers reaching for the clouds, there’s plenty to catch the eye.
Milan is also considered one of the fashion capitals of the world, offering one of the most famous shows on the fashionista calendar, thanks to being the home of world-famous brands such as Gucci, Versace and Prada. Sports fans will also be familiar with the capital of the Lombardy region and Italy’s biggest stadium, the San Siro, which is home to soccer clubs Internazionale and AC Milan, two of the most successful clubs in the world.
Beyond the hustle and bustle of the main tourist attractions and the biggest crowds, however, there are plenty of hidden gems to discover in Milan. Let’s take a look at three of the best kept secret locations to discover.
Dining and sightseeing on the move
Image Source: @SergioSierra67 via Twitter
The first thing to say about our first offering is that it has no fixed location, and that’s perhaps what makes it so unique and appealing to those who aren’t familiar with the heart of Milan. Classic trams are still a familiar sight in the city, which produced and exported them around the world – even as far as San Francisco – but there’s one that’s quite special here.
Bedecked in dark green and yellow livery, the ATMosphera tram contains a fully-functioning restaurant inside one of the oldest streetcars in Milan, offering a unique way to dine, sip fine local wines and take in some of the most famous sites in the city. Book in advance though, because there are only 24 places at the tiny tables within.
Treasuring the history and art of tarot
Image Source: Il Meneghello via Facebook
There’s always been something mystical and fascinating about the tarot, not to mention the captivating art of the images depicted in the cards themselves. During the early Renaissance period, some of the most famous ‘tarocchi’ card designs first appeared back in the 15th century, becoming popular amongst the Milanese aristocracy who spend small fortunes commissioning artists to make them. In fact, tarot readings are still popular today and they can even be done online and by phone.
One artist preserving the legacy and history of tarot in Milan is Il Menghello, with a fascinating shop in on Via Botelli Guiseppe 2, dedicated to the craft of creating beautifully detailed cards. Aficionados of the esoteric arts can enjoy speaking with an expert in the field, who utilizes both antique and classic block print designs, along with his own colorful flair.
Something unusual in the Zone of Silence
Image Source: @BabyMarelli via Twitter
Tucked discreetly away from the noise and hubbub, the Zone of Silence is aptly and so-named because of its tranquil and quiet surrounds which set the location apart from the urban center. It’s also why one residence known locally as the ‘House of the Ear’ makes passers-by pause for a second look, because that’s exactly what adorns the entrance.
Sculpted in 1930, the bronze ear is actually a novel early intercom design, into which guests would shout to announce their arrival at Casa Sola-Busca, instead of knocking on the door or using a doorbell. Sadly, your shouts and greetings will fall on deaf ears these days, as the current owners grew tired of tourists shouting into it as they passed by. Still, the giant ear is not something you see every day beside a front door.
There we go, a trio of rarely visited secrets to discover in Milan; there are many more unique and unusual hidden gems just waiting to be found when exploring this marvelous Italian city.