The tall, narrow tower jutting out of Parco Sempione makes for a distinct contrast to its surrounding greenery and treetops. Well, the structure is Torre Branca, or Branca Tower. If you’ve seen the movie Io Sono L’Amore (I Am Love), you might recognize it from the opening sequence that spotlights different Milan landmarks.
The Tower went up in 1933 as part of the Milan Triennale, an art and design festival that occurred every three years.Designed by Gio Ponti, the tower went up in a record two months in time for the start of the Triennale festival. At 356 feet high, the top promenade offers one of the best views in the city that includes the Alps and Appenines.
In its less-than-one-century lifespan, Torre Branca has gone by a few names, its first of which was for the fascist era in which it was designed. After their demise, the went by a literal moniker, known simply as “the tower in the park”. After falling into a bit of disrepair, the tower closed in 1972 and stayed that way until the Branca family came to the rescue. The liqueur-producing funded the restoration so it opened to the public again 30 years later, in 2002.
Nowadays, Cavalli Caffè sits just beside the tower, and is a scene hole among the well heeled, and fashion crowds during both Fashion Week and Salone Mobile.
The Branca family is indeed the name behind Fernet-Branca, the bitter herbal amaro that is one of Italy’s most iconic distillates. Anyone interested in the history and culture of this company can visit the still functioning distillery on Via Resegone, in the Bovisa neighborhood. At the time of its construction in the early twentieth century, this little leg of Milan was still part of the country. There’s a museum onsite that showcases the museum’s history and objects from its past.
The tower is open mid-May through mid-September, weather dependent of course:
- Tuesday 3.30 – 7pm/8.30 – 12am
- Wednesday: 10.30am – 12.30/3pm – 7pm/8.30pm – 12am
- Thursday and Friday: 3.30pm – 7pm; 8.30 – 12am
- Saturday and Sunday: 10.30 – 2pm/ 2.30 – 7.30/ 8.30 – 12am