Exploring the traditional and yet bohemian district of Brera, Milan

The Brera district of Milan is the heart of contemporary culture, happening bohemian art and where the creative youth hang out. Yet despite this it is also the traditional centre of the city, the way the Milan of old would have been: Narrow cobbled streets, colourful Italian facades and a maze like layout. Here you can step back to a world before the wide roads and high rises of the downtown area and wander the backstreet in search of inspiration and something original…which you are guaranteed to find!

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The Brera district fast became our favourite area of the city where we could go for a wander around the extensive and yet compact feeling area. With hundreds if not thousands of place to eat to choose from, galleries on almost every corner to wander in for free and the buzz of the Milan Design festival in full swing.

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The place was alive with colour and activity, on every street was an event showcasing the latest trend, and what better place to do that than here. The heart of creativity in the city of style!

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Even the food that we ate here: A vegetarian pesto and cheese lasagna was a work of art. Served on a piece of slate and carefully presented it was almost too good to eat! But eat it we did and every mouthful was an absolute pleasure…just what you expect and dream of when it comes to authentic Italian food. Although it can be expensive to eat around here if you aren’t too picky, we managed to have this amazing meal for less than 30 Euros (with Bruschetta and drinks – this was a treat after cooking our own food/ eating for free at the hostel/ eating cheap pizza – which was actually amazing too!)

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Often referred to as the “Milanese Montartre”, this artistic and bohemian centre of the city, the district fans out around Brera street. The name comes from the old medieval Italian word “braida” meaning land lacking in trees. Around 900 years ago this area would have been outside of the city limits and would have been kept clear for the military.

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So Brera’s history goes back a long way, but places like the historic Brera Academy of art and impressive Brera Art gallery helped to make this area an artistic haven. The restaurants, bars, clubs, antique shops, boutique galleries, market stalls and student population make this a wonderful area for a stroll. At times it can feel almost like a completely different city to that of the rest of Milan which almost amazing, can be harsh and full of barging tourists. Even when the area is bustling there is a chilled out and easy going vibe that we totally fell in love with.

brera, art, bohemian, culture, milan, milano, design week, italy, italia, off the beaten path, off the beaten track, places to see, things to do, places to eat, vegetarian food, explore, wander, travel, travelling, traveling, backpack though europe 

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