Not just a fashion capital - Lorenzo's guide to Milan

Lorenzo Bringheli, Italian fashion and portraiture photographer based in Milan – Roomorama blog

City guide: Milan

Lorenzo Bringheli is an Italian fashion and portraiture photographer who is based in Milan. He is also the co-founder of the brand, CB Made in Italy, and is passionate about healthy cooking.

What kind of traveler are you?

It really depends on where I am going and for how long I'll be there for. On long holidays, I can definitely unwind more and therefore be more laid back. Generally though, as a frequent flyer always on the go, I think I'm pretty laid back, except for when I'm queuing at security control in the US or in London.

What is your favourite destination to date and why?

My favourite destination will always be the Mediterranean sea. I adore Positano and Capri, as well as Pantelleria. I guess it's because of the beauty in all these places, and the smell somehow transports my mind and soul back in time and brings me back to my childhood. And let's not forget about the wonderful fresh food over there!

You live in Milan (or at least for the most part!). What do you love about the city?

I love the reserved atmosphere. It's a city with plenty of hidden places waiting to be discovered - but not screaming to be too crowded. It's a city that can be understood only by discerning and acculturated audiences. People in Milan are polite and very hard-working. And the city is less than a two-hour drive away from the Alps, lakes or the amazing seaside. Big big plus.

What is the best way to get around the city?

Milan is fairly small, so I would suggest walking - that's if you like it and have the time. Otherwise, you can rent a public bike or get Uber pop, a cheap and nice way to get around. Anyway, Milan is set up based on the Roman idea of a city. There's a center, and every big street (if taken in the right direction) brings you to the center. There are also 3 or 4 major circles that go around the city in a loop that brings you literally everywhere.

Can you tell us where to eat, drink and party in Milan?

In Milan, authenticity trumps trends.

The evergreen Bar Jamaica in Via Brera is great for lunch or for wonderful aperitivo and drinks after dinner. It has to be enjoyed more for the atmosphere.

I also have a great deal of fun at Bar Basso, a little less central, but with amazing bartenders and a retro feel hard to get nowadays. For food I stick to Italian as I believe that no ethnic food is as good as you may find in New York or London. Often, I will also go to the La Libera restaurant in Via Palermo, where there's a mix of people of every age in an informal yet very elegant atmosphere, enjoying simple food cooked in a contemporary way. If I want to eat authentic Milanese traditional food, then I will go to the best of the best: Matarel, in Via Solera Mantegazza.

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Pictured above: Bar Jamaica (credit: Flavia Arditi), Bar Basso (credit: Giulia Lenzi)

What are your 3 favourite neighbourhoods in Milan?

  1. Brera
  2. Chinatown
  3. Ticinese / Colonne di San Lorenzo

In Brera, go to La Libera for a warm and cozy ambiance - perfect for a night out.

There is also Il Patuscino, a unique piano bar that has karaoke nights thrice a week.

In Chinatown - go to any Chinese restaurant, but it's more about wandering the streets in the area. For a drink, head to Cantine Isola.

In Colonne di San Lorenzo, go to Tutti Fritti for cheap fried food. For a drink afterwards, move to Cape Town Cafe and try out their mojito and vodka gimlet - both recommended by the locals.



Pictured above: Tutti Fritti (credit: Daniela Abbrunzo) and Cantine Isola (credit: Suconlavite)

What are some local tips you would give someone who was visiting Milan?

Do not be afraid to stop the locals and ask for help! Using their limited English skills, they would gladly help you out.

What are some must-go-to places in Milan for the art and design buffs?

Visit the cenacolo in Santa Maria delle Grazie to admire the "last supper" masterpiece. Also, do visit these galleries: Il Museo del 900, la Pinacoteca di Brera and Corso Como 10 and Rossana Orlandi.

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Pictured above: Santa Maria delle Grazie (credit: Marcin Białek), la Pinacoteca di Brera (credit: Mikestravelguide)

What are some shops/boutiques/brands to look out for for men's fashion?

As a photographer by profession, do you also enjoy taking pictures when you travel?

Funny question. I used to enjoy more a few years ago, when I felt the urge to prove myself to be able to take good pictures all the time. I started to put myself under pressure to shoot great images all the time even while on vacation, and I came to the conclusion that it was too stressful for me. The best photos taken while on vacation are the ones that I shoot of people whom I love, in moments that I love and I don't mind shooting simply with just my iPhone. It's less stressful, more spontaneity and easy to archive and share with my beloved ones. Nowadays, the iPhone's photos really have a great quality and I love the limited technique that you can apply. It becomes a challenge to adapt my eye and style to that...

What are some of your must do's when you travel?

To eat well, be polite and respect the customs and traditions of the countries that are hosting you and never forget to be a guest.

What are your 5 travel essentials?

  • Clean underwear and shirts
  • iPhone and chargers
  • Adapters
  • Passport
  • Sleeping pills

Have you ever stayed in a non-hotel accommodation on any of your trips?

I adore staying in non-hotel accommodations. Especially if I am not working for a prolonged period of time. I try to stand by this rule: if I need to sleep somewhere for more than 4 nights, I will rent a mini-flat. It's incomparable - the pleasure of being able to have a kitchen and not be forced to eat out in restaurants all the time. I rent flats whenever I can - it could be Paris, Bangkok or anywhere else. For hotels - when I am really busy working or for a short period of time. But they must be the top of the class and luxurious otherwise it is better to rent a flat. It's too sad to sleep in ugly hotels.

Stylish vacation rentals in Milan

This sleek apartment is located in the district of Porta Venezia.

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Going to Milan? Check out more vacation homes in Milan on Roomorama.