It’s fair to say Sarah Hutchings, owner of Orsini Fine Jewellery, has a job most of us would envy. “I specialise in Italian fine jewellery, so I go to Italy every year to see my suppliers,” she explains. While her love of jewellery takes her to Vicenza, Florence and Arezzo, it’s Milan – home to luxury jeweller Pomellato – that has captured Hutchings’s heart. “There is a sophisticated, stylish atmosphere in the air,” she says. “When it comes to fashion, Milan is the Italian cousin of Paris, London and New York.”
Where to shop
The shopping in Milan is amazing, there is one main shopping area, a square made up of the following streets: Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni, Via Sant’Andrea and Via Montenapoleone. They form what is colloquially called the Quadrilatero d’Oro (rectangle of gold). All my brands, Pomellato, Marco Bicego , Dodo & Gucci are situated in this quarter. Milan is also home to the stunning Galleria Vittorio Emanuele shopping mall. I visit this every time I visit Milan and sit in the outdoor cafes to people watch.
- Bella figura: Appearances are important so dress smartly.
- Courtesy: covering your shoulders and thighs and talk in a respectfully quiet tone when visiting religious sites.
- Greetings: Shake hands and say buongiorno (good day) or buona sera (good evening) to strangers; kiss both cheeks and say come stai (how are you) to friends. Remember to only use first names if invited.
- Asking for help: Say mi scusi (excuse me) to attract attention; and use permesso (permission) when you want to pass someone in a crowded space. If you would like to see something in a shop ask a sales assistant to help you.
Where to Stay
We stayed in a luxury Milan Royal Suites apartment we rented for a week near the Bulgari hotel. This was a fabulous location and I loved being able to visit the Mercato at Via San Marco for local produce. When we travel for weeks on end I love to cook Italian! Another place I would love to stay on our next travels is the Boscolo Milano, this looks like a fun place with stunning decor. By far the best place to stay is the Hotel Príncipe di Savoia Milano.
Where to hydrate
We love to have a vino in 10 Corso Como, in the lush green uber-chic courtyard area. The Armani Bamboo Bar is always a favourite for the quiet luxury and views of Milan. A fun place we were recommended to visit which is situated quite close to Pomellato headquarters is the Fonderi Milanesi, they have live music in the evenings and have lots of locals which is always great fun. Fun areas to wander in the evenings is the Navigli district and the famous canal waterway lined with bars, and of course the Brera district with the sublime Bulgari garden bar. The coolest bar to visit is Nottingham Fores, amazing creative cocktails.
When to plan your trip
We love to go in May, it is before the very busy tourist season and before the Milanese go on their summer holiday. It is also hopefully a bit warmer without having the extremely hot months, which are very tiring when travelling – however, be prepared that it can sometimes be unseasonably cold, being such a large continent.
Best kept secret
It only takes an hour by train to get to Lake Como, pop up there for lunch by the lake.
View Sarah’s top picks for Milan in the gallery below.