It has been great fun to connect with Barbara Conelli, a writer who divides her time between New York and Milan. As she puts it, her mission is to “bring Fantastic Fearless Feminine Fun into women’s lives.” Barbara shares her passion for Milan in her book, Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita and is following that up with Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore. You can also listen to her delightful Radio Show AND Barbara’s Blog is a must click if you’re planning a visit to Milan–full of insider’s advice about everything from trattorias, to spas, gardens, and bookstores.
I’m so grateful to have this expert join in to give advice for A Golden Day…
All around the world, Milan is seen as the metropolis of haute-couture and the venue of one of the most popular Fashion Weeks. Therefore, the visit of Quadrilatero della Moda, or Quadrilatero d’Oro – Fashion or Golden Quadrangle – is a Milanese must. Maybe just for the luxurious and truly golden atmosphere strangely divorced from the everyday reality.
Quadrilatero d’Oro includes four streets: Montenapoleone, Spiga, Sant’Andrea and Manzoni: Wide boulevards lined with neoclassical palaces. During the day, the streets are full of famous and not-so-famous models, their rich lovers and foreigners from far away.
The best thing you can do is visit the Golden Quadrangle during Milanese spring or fall sales. International fashion brands sell their creations with a huge discount and it’s the best time to acquire something juicy for your wardrobe and feel like a famous star for one day. I’m sure you will treat yourself to the visit of French fashion houses such as Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Hermès or Louis Vuitton, but don’t forget the Italian ones – after all, you’re in Milan.
Apart from notorious brands – Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Moschino, Missoni or Trussardi – there are also brands a little less known abroad but very popular in Italy. Your shopping day in the Golden Quadrangle is a great opportunity to discover, explore and admire them.
One of such stores is Roccobarocco in Via della Spiga. Don’t worry, it has nothing to do with Baroque, although the name implies it. The founder of this brand is Rocco Barocco, a very successful and popular Italian fashion designer and creator of both haute-couture and prêt-à-porter. You will fall in love with Rocco’s clothes and handbags if you’re not afraid of bright colors and extravagant cuts. Rocco revels in striking colors of Italy and in silhouettes that accentuate long legs, wide shoulders and slim arms. Roccobarocco celebrates Italian femininity in all its glory and highlights everything that’s typical for Italian women: Charm, elegance, sense of humor, lightness and self-confidence.
Of course, the uncrowned king of the Golden Quadrangle is the house of Armani that today offers not only clothes but also cosmetics and make-up, watches, jewelry and even luxurious hotels. Megastore Armani in Via Manzoni 31 is a three-floor giant and paradise for Armani lovers from all around the world. You can try on whatever you like and chat with obliging stylists who are ready to create a unique Armani style just for you. And if you haven’t had enough of Armani yet, have lunch in the nearby Emporio Armani Caffé in Via Crocerossa 2. It’s distinguished not only by the Armani design, but also by delicious meals prepared only from organic fruits and vegetables, fresh seafood and high-quality meat.
After lunch you will probably realize that your feet are starting to hurt and the shopping bags in your hands are too heavy. Relax and have a cup of excellent coffee and a fluffy dessert in Via Montenapoleone 8, in Cova, the oldest Milanese café and patisserie.
When you swallow the last piece of the cake and the last sip of your cappuccino, let your exhausted body enjoy a few hours of pampering and intoxicating pleasure at a local spa. They will spoil you rotten so much you will not want to go back to the real world.
L’Espa Gianfranco Ferré in Via Sant’Andrea with black and gold mosaics and a gorgeous private garden is scented with aromatic oils and as soon as you enter, its chromotherapeutic lights soothe you and pleasantly slow you down. The space of L’Espa Gianfranco Ferré is inspired by ancient baths and returns to the age-long Italian tradition of caring for both your body and spirit.
Bulgari Spa is located in the private alley of Via Fratelli Gabba. Its oriental emerald-green hammam lit by candles and the pool made of golden mosaic will carry you to the world of A Thousand and One Nights. You can turn into a harem sweetheart and indulge in extraordinary pampering, a dream come true for every woman.
The Milanese Golden Quadrangle is a magically beautiful quarter worth visiting and admiring. It’s a perfect opportunity to have a day just for yourself and feel like a chique Italian princess for as long as you wish. La dolce vita at its best.
Grazie Barbara, for showing us The Way!