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A hidden spot in Milan: Fonderie Milanesi

Milan is considered one of the most chaotic cities in the world. And I am not going to deny that! Milan is the world capital of fashion (yes Milan and not Paris), some will be surprised by reading that but the city still retains its crown despite the competition with the French capital during the last 10 years.

It is the epicenter of national finance, advertising and publishing, the headquarters of several companies. The typical winter fog makes it look gray and gloomy and even though someone might find these characteristics not very attractive, I see them as an asset instead: they give to Milan a sense of uniqueness and an aura of mistery.

Milan Cathedral is a gothic style church with 135 spires built in 1386

The view from the rooftop of Milan Cathedral

The shopping street of Via Dante leading to Sforza Castle

I've always considered Milan, the city where I was born, as a tiny New York for the characteristics that I mentioned above. However, like any other metropolis in the world, it has a hidden face, the one few people notice amid the city rush.

It has a private side, where the aesthetic prevails and where creative souls lie tucked away in courtyards, behind gated streetscapes. Many tourists just spend all day roaming around, unaware of what is hidden behind a door. When I was a child my mother told me about those hidden spots in Milan of which the non residents are unaware of. She said that there are still well kept secrets in the middle of my beloved city that cannot be found so easily unless you are a local or you have your google map available.

It's a fusion of style and urban degradation. The secret places of Milan are a fertile ground for artists, writers, fashion designers and even chefs whose creativity is nurtured by the local buzz in its bohemian streets, hidden restaurants behind a garden (chic and cozy at the same time), public gardens and parks, cobbled streets that lead to unexpected spots, navigable canals and private clubs not visible from the road. All this and much more.

Roaming around the bohemian streets of Brera

10 Corso Como, Café and Concept Store, are both hidden in a quiet typical milanese courtyard, behind a discreet façade of gates and gardens. The garden café is surrounded by a lush of perennial plants and seasonal flowers.

The National Braidense Library, Brera

Beautiful small houses in the heart of Milan. Turn the corner and you'll find unexpected cheerful and bright colourful houses surrounded by gardens sprouting roses, fruit trees and fragrant flower beds. We are in Via Lincoln.

Club 1930, aka "the bar that doesn't exist" (not even Google map can find it!), set in the back shop of MAG Café, behind a secret door. Strictly by appointment only.

Spazio Rossana Orlandi: Milan’s Most Eclectic Destination For Art & Design

The Navigli district

Courtyards are a typical feature of Milanese architecture. Here is the hidden beautiful courtyard of Palazzo Isimbardi

The entrance of Arsenale Theater. The building dates back to 1272 and it is a bit hidden compared to the other street's buildings. Such an hidden place that it doesn't even have a street number!

Among the myriad of the hidden places that Milan offers to us there is a place near the center of the city which is not very easy to find. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city traffic, you enter in a gated road and find yourself in the middle of a tipical 1950s milanese courtyard. At the end of this road is Fonderie Milanesi.

As soon as I walked in I fell in love with the setting of this place. The industrial chic style perfectly matches with the building: this was once an old foundry indeed and it is amazing how the owners transformed this in a cozy and original place for a drink, maintaining the charm of an ancient past. There is a great atmosphere inside, it is a vintage and elegant location at the same time and you have the impression of going 70 years back in time.

Banisters house in the courtyard of Fonderie Milanesi. It is very typical of Italian towns, mostly in the Northern part of the country, to have this peculiar style of inner courtyards where all the house floors and the apartments entries are like open balconies overlooking the courtyard itself.

It really seems to be 70 years back in time...

The entrance of Fonderie Milanesi ... and myself :-)

Vintage posters, restored 1950s chairs and tables and exposed brick walls

Steel factory style windows and old trade signs on walls.

The 1950s gasoline pump is certainly an eye catching element of decoration in this room.

Its original exposed brick walls frame a vintage furnished interior. A petrol pump machine lies in front of the bar and if you look up towards the ceiling you will notice not just the exposed beams but also a bicycles hanging from one of those beams, like the old bicycles shops used to expose their models in the 1950s. If you had lived in this period you would have probably found plenty of these bicycle shops in Milan, as not everybody could afford a car like nowadays. Each piece of furniture is detailed designed with the intent of giving to those who go inside a flashback of what the post WWII old foundries looked like.

A vintage bicycle hanged from the exposed beam ceiling, like old bicycle shops used to do in 1950s

The owners prefered to keep the original design of the foundry interior. Here is one of the exposed brick walls.

Two framed old newspaper front pages: the topmost page is about the first man on the moon (21st of July 1969). The lower one talks about Italy declaring war against Great Britain and France during the WWII (11th of June 1940)

In this room: a bicycle and vintage framed pictures on the shabby chic wall.

Foundry workers, 1896

Outside this unique place, set in the outer courtyard, there is a wonderful vintage looking gardenfull of plants and flowers, a romantic pergola and vintage wooden coffee tables, where during the hot summer evenings you can dine with the lights of the old streets lamps or enjoy an aperitif with sunset lights. A truly magical atmosphere for a special night out!

The enchanting garden outside in the courtyard

Steel factory style windows and a creeper growing along the brick wall. The wooden dinner table makes the place so rustic and original.

Besides being one of the most original location in Milan where enjoying an aperitif or a dinner with friends (if you have the chance to go during a live music evening the atmosphere gets really magical) Fonderie Milanesi offers one the most delicious brunch (on Saturdays and Sundays). You can enjoy your pancake with strawberry jam and choose something at the rich buffet table.

Fresh made pancake, strawberry jam and fresh fruit. Let's start the Sunday brunch!

The brunch buffet table served on Saturdays and Sundays.

Live music makes the atmosphere really magical

So if you are looking for a very special place Fonderie Milanesi will immediately win you over. And once you get out from here you will have the urge to talk about it with friends and colleagues and tell them that you have found this outside-the-box place and that sometimes it is worth to roaming around the unknown streets of Milan. Because you never know what is hidden behind a door. That’s Milan: when you think you know everything about this city you will sure get a new discovery! All that you need is an aimless walk, just for those who want to be amazed …

If you wish discover more about Fonderie Milanesi visit their web page or their facebook page Fonderie Milanesi


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