This is a great occasion for you, most of all because all the streets of Brera district are pedestrian areas and you can wander around freely throughout the alleys.
We advise you to get there by tube – MM2 green line – and get off at Moscovastop.
You can start your tour browsing around Corso Garibaldi: a cheerful street teeming with very very peculiar small shops and stores. While walking, you will see – between one shop window and another – a strange wooden statue, the one of an apache… Do you know who apaches are? They are South American Indians who after fighting many wars and battles throughout history were recognized as a real community. Let’s go back to us… This statue is just a hint of the Indian world you will discover simply entering Don Quijote, a very unique shop that you – and your father as well – will surely like!
Going on, you will reach Piazza San Simpliciano where you can see the beautiful San Simpliciano Basilica. Inside you can find some beautiful cloisters, which unfortunately are often closed except for particular events such as the open courts days. However, since you are here you can stop by and see if you are lucky enough… If you will be allowed to enter you will be surprised!
At the end of Corso Garibaldi you will reach via Mercato. On your right you can’t help noticing an historical Milanese shop… How beautiful! Maybe it is not so cheap, but it is very well-stocked if you want to dress up! It is Torriani – La Bottega del Carnevale (Carnival’s store). You will be amazed only looking at its colourful shop windows.
If you are here and it is lunch time, just go straight on, and on your left you will find a very plane yet well-known place, famous for its delicious pizza! This is Pizzeria Sibilla, don’t miss it!
Now turn left, and you will find yourselves to be in one of the most beautiful parvises of the city.
You are in Piazza del Carmine, in front of Santa Maria del Carmine Parish. Do you know that here you can express a wish to Sant’Espedito? It is said he really cares about schoolboys and students wishes… So if you are worried for a test, an interrogation or for your report cards… Well, go in and express your wish!
Now just live the city noise behind and go to that alley called Via Madonnina. This is a lovely pedestrian area and you will feel like not being in Milan anymore.
If you come here on the third Sunday of the month, you will find one of the most peculiar local markets of the city: Brera street market. Shops will probably be closed but you will find plenty of stands selling jewels – most of all old ones – as if you were in your great-grandma attic. Besides old objects you will also find ethnical items, vases, small statues and knick knacks to decorate your house with or even to give as an Asian-style present.
If you turn right, you will suddenly find yourselves to be in via Fiori Chiari, just at Brera district core! This is a peculiar area that has now become quite touristic… Small restaurants, with tables outside in the summer- and wintertime, food pictures and menus translated in different languages… It is better not to stop here to eat, you may have some unpleasant surprises as for the prices!
Just look… While ringingaringaround you can see how many old signs are there! Indeed, this is a very old area and some of these signs still have their original names: you might read “vines and liquors” even though clothes are sold! At the corner, you will find an historical shop, Ditta Crespi: an ancient paint factory with its old golden sign! Close by – on the left – there is a very famous bar, Jamaica Bar: a meeting place for writers, painters and weird people from the show business. Just stop by and have a look if you’d like to have a coffee.
You are close to Accademia di Brera/Pinacoteca di Brera – if you want, you can have a look at this beautiful palace. If you get in front of the main entrance you will be received by the bronze statue of Napoleon acting as Mars the Pacifier: just a preview of Raffaello, Caravaggio, Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, Fattori and Canaletto works of art you will find in the exhibition halls. Further on, you can stop at street number 16 at Galleria d’Arte Moderna – Il Castello (Modern Art Gallery) together with mom and dad who probably are art lovers: they will tell you something more about the main Italian and foreigner artists and their works – periodically exposed here.
Now we would like to take you to a beautiful place, maybe a little neglected yet surprisingly charming because of the contest it is located in – Brera Botanical Garden. At the crossroad, go straight on and you will see that Via Fiori Chiari changes its name in via Fiori Oscuri (how weird!). Almost at the end, on your right, you will find a huge door and some long colonnades taking you to the botanical garden. A beautiful place – more than words can say – that you should visit during the spring when all the plants are blooming.
Stay here because, inside this building, we advise you to visit Brera Astronomical Museum.
Once outside – in via Fiori Oscuri – you can’t help noticing one of the oldest drugstores in Milan. Try to stick your face to the window of Antica Farmacia di Brera (Brera Ancient Chemist’s)… Look, it’s more than 100 years old, with its wooden counters and showcases… A notice outside says that this chemist’s belonged to Carlo Erba, famous pharmacist that founded the first Italian drug industry. It is open on weekdays and Saturday mornings only!
Now manoxmano gives you two alternatives and the decision is up to you: would you like to grab a bite and stretch your legs at the park or go back and visit the neighbourhood alleys and weird shops?
If you’d like to have lunch, go towards via Borgonuovo– also known as “La contrada dei nobili o dei sciori” (“Nobles and Sirs district”). A long street where – once upon a time – the Naviglio flowed and where you can admire and endless row of old noble palaces and houses with broaden courts and beautiful gardens, like Casa Valerio at No. 24. Just close by, you can have your lunch at Borgo Nuovo 26: a bar where you can have a delicious salad or a sandwich at a fair price.
From here, turn left in via dei Giardini– a beautiful street leading to a place known to the very few. We are talking about Perego Garden): an oasis of peace and calm where your little siblings will have fun, playing with the wooden toys available.
Otherwise, if you are curious enough and not tired yet, manoxmano suggests you to walk along via Brera towards the city centre.
This is not a pedestrian area anymore, however traffic is limited. Lots of peculiar shops will catch your eye, by the way we would like to suggest you one particularly: Rigadritto. This is a small yet amazing stationery store, perfect for those who love organizers, exercise books and notebooks – as if you are in Pinocchio land of Toys. Yet no worries at all, here you will not see long noses and donkey ears. Close by – on your right – pop around via Melone, via Ciovasso and via Ciovassino leading to via dell’Orso where the traffic chaos will bring you back to reality.
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