Seeing as though the train ride to Milano is around 2 hours from Tuscany, we couldn’t miss Milano.
From my perspective, I feel like Milano is forgotten by the average tourist, or overshadowed by the impressions we have in our head – fashion and finance mecca of Italy. But, there was so much more to see in Milan than I’d ever guessed.
What We Saw
Not only does this contemporary art museum hold mind-blowing works of art inside, the building itself is an architect’s wet dream. For higher quality pictures google image search “fondazione prada.” My images don’t capture the landscape of the entire grounds. I was stunned by the gold building they have, the mixture of warehouse-like concrete structures next to white buildings with mid-century glass build and glass walls.
My favorites were looking at some art by H.C. Westermann, and an exhibit devoted to some gnarly Chicago artists from 1965-1975. Those artists were the Chicago Imagists (Roger Brown, Ed Flood, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, Christina Ramberg, Suellen Rocca and Karl Wirsum). These artist were influenced by Surrealism and Brutalist art. This inspiration led them to produce street art, graffiti, wild cartoons and urban murals WAY before it was popular in the 80s and 90s. To be honest only after I finished the exhibit did I learn the art was from the 60s-70s. It looked STRAIGHT out of the 80s and 90s cartoons and street art I have seen. Think 90s MTV and 90s Nickelodeon weird-ass cartoons.
There were also some really weird pieces of art. Like a huge statue of a man bending over backwards and peeing into his mouth. The pee was a high fountain. Also a wooden structure that was many floors high in which you were encouraged to sit and smoke in the base.
After the art we visited “Bar Luce,” a bar in the museum that was designed by film director, Wes Anderson. If you are a fan or an interested Anderson onlooker, this bar is worth a visit. The way it is decorated makes you feel like you are on an Anderson movie set in a 1960s Italian bar. After drinks you can even play on a Steve Zissou pinball machine.
The wealthy Italian family, “The Necchis” built this mansion from 1932 and 1935, designed by Piero Portaluppi. The movie has been featured in the Italian film starring Tilda Swinton called, “I Am Love.” Portaluppi’s design style was rationalist and realist – bold, square, no frills. The Necchis had to abandon the house during World War II, and during that time it was occupied by the Fascist army. When the family returned, they hired architect Tomaso Buzzi to refurbish the house in a 17th century style. You can see the many layers of completely opposite styles in every room.
I’d give this museum visit a 50% approval rating. The design was beautiful and interesting to walk through – sort of like living in an Elle Decor photo shoot. The tour guide was a volunteer who filled in for a colleague last-minute. She wasn’t knowledgable about the house, the history, or the background so she was limited to telling us the same details over and over again. The villa let too many people in at once, so we were not able to spend enough time in the room everyone is interested in – the room where the Necchis hung there personal, private collection paintings of Picasso, Matisse, and Modigliani. I really wish the tour wasn’t so poorly organized and timed. That said, I still recommend visiting this mansion if you want to see a beautiful 20th century Italian mansion.
What We Ate
We chose sushi over Italian and went to the expensive, but quality Yoshinobu. The sea urchin we ate was to die for. spongy texture at first touch to tongue and then a creamy umami mouth explosion. The service was great and the menu only features the freshest of fish.
Don’t be fooled by going to the other sushi restaurant of that has the exact same name in Milan. There you will find cheap buffet style sushi – We did this and had to get a cab to the “real” Yoshinobu. Ha!
Where We Partied
Capetown Bar – Strong drinks and a friendly, funny bar staff. Enough said. After this first bar we continued to bar crawl in the neighborhood.