To the west of the Duomo lies one of Milan’s oldest and most well preserved treasures: 5 Vie, which formally goes by “5VieArt+Design.” When I compare Milan to Rome, I often comment that as much as I loved Rome’s tiny narrow serpentine cobblestoned streets, I eventually began to miss sidewalks. On several occasions during a journey a piedi, I’d hear the roar of a car, scooter or bike engine that was made even louder by its own echo reverberating trough the tiny alley-way like street, and would have to spread eagle myself along the buildings to let the vehicle pass. Now, the in the 5 Vie district of Milan this can happen, too. (However, Milan has pave, not cobblestone.)
The neighborhood’s name literally translates to 5 streets, and like the Golden Rectangle of Fashion, these “five streets” comprise a little more than five, but the basic five are: via Santa Marta, via Santa Maria Podone, via Santa Maria Fulcorina, via Bocchetto e via del Bollo. These charming thoroughfares are home to some of the city’s best shops, antiques, crafts, artisans, galleries, Roman ruins, architecture, clothing and more. Just go and get lost…it’s glorious! As you stroll, all you’ll want to do is take pictures, yet be warned that the narrowness can be a bit limiting when it comes to trying to get that perfect shot so you might have to challenge yourself just a tad to find the perfect angle.
You can red more thoroughly about what to expect in this little neck of the Milanese woods here, but some of my favorite places are here like Pasticceria Marchesi (one of my favorite breakfast spots and all around favorite places in Milan), San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, Madonna del Grembiule, Maurizio Cattalen’s L.O.V.E. (also known as “that statue with the middle finger”) and some of my favorite shopping destinations like Wait and See, Funky Table, Rossana Orlandi and Labarotorio Paravicini. Also of note are Arosio interiors, know for its upholstery; Cose che parlano, an adorable objects shop; and Stone Italiana design shop.
Other local gems include Santa Maria presso San Satiro, a Catholic church and pilgrimage site characterized by a magnificent Trompe-l’œil built on an ancient worship site as well as Fondazione Francesco Messina, a museum dedicated to the iconic titular sculptor located in the former church of Saint Sixtus.
During Salone Mobile, the annual design fair that takes place every April at the Rho fairgrounds, 5 Vie the place to see and be seen (probably even more so than the Brera) for for the “Fuori Salone”” events.