Dropped down amidst Porta Ticinese’s jumble of skate shops and record shops, tattoo parlors and Japanese cult fashion stores, you might not initially guess you were in Italy. But with the push and pull between experimental and refined, brazen and timeless, and chaotic and still, there’s also no place else in the world you could be but Milan.
The city’s Ticinese district is equal parts playful and stratified—a meeting of exuberant youth culture and frozen-in-time historic landmarks (the neighborhood’s name means “door to Ticino”, as it was a former gate to the city facing the Ticino River). For designers Fanny Bauer Grung and David Lopez Quincoces of Six Gallery, the combination makes this tiny, eclectic mecca of busy aperitivo bars, boutique shops, and ateliers feel like home as well as constant inspiration. The pair, who embody the current zeitgeist of Milanese style, casually inhabit their gallery space and brand new Sister Hotel just on the eastern periphery of the district. But as Ticinese is also directly south of Milan’s artisan workshops in the Cinque Vie neighbourhood, a stone’s throw from the Piazza Duomo, and a gateway to the rabbit-warren, canal-lined streets of the Navigli district and its cosy trattorias and vintage shops, it’s also the perfect jumping off point to take in the best of Milan from all angles.n“You have an area like Cinque Vie with all its historic grandeur on one side, and then you have young, fun Ticinese on the other,” Bauer Grung says of her chosen neighbourhood’s myriad of charms, “Walking from one end of the district to the other, you see how the traditional city slowly gives way to buzzing youth culture. That is what makes it interesting, the mix of the two.”
Here’s where Fanny and David say to immerse yourself in the rhythms of Porta Ticinese.
A Cafe That Transports Us to the 30s: Pasticceria Cucchi
Bauer Grung lovingly cites Cucchi’s “traditional splendour” as a reason to visit this beloved 1936 pastry shop and espresso house is a famously tranquil respite from the energetic shopping streets. The suit-clad servers trade in elegant sweets like the cecca—an eggy, slow-risen panettone perfumed with candied fruit—or the dense chocolate Viennese Sacher tort. Cucchi has begun hosting collaborations with local creatives, such as designer and architect Cristina Celestino, who recently reimagined the classic interior with velvet upholstery, silk wall coverings, and tropical palms. *Corso Genova 1, pasticceriacucchi.it
Two Kilometers of Antiques: Mercatone dell’Antiquariato (Navigli Antiques Market)
On the last Sunday of each month, collectors from across Italy descend upon the Navigli canals for one of Milan’s biggest and busiest vintage markets. Hundreds of vendors sell everything from prized mid-century design to hard-to-find antiques, plus paintings, books, tabletop, and furniture in their makeshift, temporary shops. “We often source pieces for our interior clients here,” Bauer Grung says of the buzzing market. “We are big believers that not everything needs to be branded or by an important name, just beautiful. There are many treasures to be found if you look carefully.”
Alzaia Naviglio Grande, last Sunday of every month
Fixtures Worth Flying For: Apparatus Studio
Aged brass pendants, sculptural sconces, and marble “neo lanterns” are some of the packable finds at this satellite showroom of the New York-based design firm that opened in 2018. The studio’s interior arches, regal turquoise carpets, and crafting techniques learned from all over the world make it a pilgrimage that feels more international than Italian alone. *Via Santa Marta 14, apparatusstudio.com
A Shop of Bronze and Silver Beauty: Osanna Visconti di Modrine and Madina Visconti
Roman Jewellery and furniture designer Osanna Visconti creates her intricately sculpted bronze pieces using a technique known as ‘lost wax casting’—kneading and carving each piece first in wax to then create a cast for the molten metal. Her creations, often inspired by the natural world like handsome side tables and delicate lamps whose posts are cast to resemble branches from nearby Italian gardens, are on view at her quaint via Santa Marta shop and studio. “Osanna and Madina’s are just two of the many talented artisans working from the Cinque Vie district,” Bauer Grung notes. “Their otherworldly pieces are a must to take home.” *Via Santa Marta 13, osannavisconti.it
Hand-painted Tableware Heaven: Laboratorio Paravinci
Mother-daughter team Costanza, Benedetta, and Margherita Paravinci have been producing the most intricate hand-painted tableware in this tucked away studio and shop for nearly thirty years. Designs include everything from dream-like illustrations of astrological symbols to classic chinoiserie, and techniques are inspired by those of historic Italian ceramic producers. *Via Nerino 8, 20123, http://www.paravicini.it
Sardinian Seafood Specialties: Il Faro
Though landlocked aside from its canals, Milan has long been known for its seafood. Bauer Grung cites this unassuming restaurant as one of her favourite places to eat it—or anything in Ticinese district, which has no shortage of excellent food. Cooking with influences from his native Sardinia, the chef Maurizio Azteni keeps a menu of fish-forward selections like fregola with cuttlefish ink and hand-braided lorighittas pasta with spiny-clawed langoustines. He also offers seadas con miele, a fried dough from his home filled with sheep’s milk cheese and doused in honey. *D’Oggiono 6, ilfarodimilano.com
The PRIOR editorial team, overseen by David Prior, works together to write and produce stories that inspire curiosity about, and the desire to connect to, places and people across the world.