Shopping and eating in Isola, Milan
If Rome has Testaccio, Milan has Isola. Both are areas that have been subject to renewed urban interest, and both have the atmosphere of a village where creatives and locals live side by side.
Isola takesits name from the agricultural isole or farmholdings that usedto occupy the area. It's appropriate for a neighbourhood where when the Garibalditrain station was built in the 19th century, Isola (which also meansisland) was effectively cut off from the rest of Milan by the train tracks andlinked to the rest of the city by a bridge.
Urban landscaping of the Garibaldi station andex Varesine areas over recent years have changedMilan's skyline and injected new energy into the area. The Porta Nuovaskyscrapers just over the train tracks form an impressive background for vibrantstreet art and the traditional case diringhiera or popular housing consisting of blocks of flats characterised bya shared balcony that runs along each floor. Over recent years it has become popular with creativesand young families who have chosen to live here and has developed analternative vibe that mixes with the local feel.
Ambroeus (www.ambroeusmilano.it) sellsvintage and second hand clothing. Even though there are specialised vintageshops that have been around for years in Milan, the second hand scene isslightly less familiar to the Milanese but shop owners Giorgia, Ettora andMassimo have already ensured a large following. Follow their Instagram account (@ambroeus.milano)for their daily look. For more vintage, head to Live in Vintage (www.liveinvintagemilano.com).Also go to Le Vintage for new items with a distinct retro feel. Look out fortheir Le Solferine shoes (www.lesolferine.com) designed byowner Silvia Berolaja. If you love jewellery, you have to go to international jewellerydesigner and photographer Monica Castiglioni whose creations are architecturalmasterpieces. This is her Milan shop. The other is in New York, the other cityfrom which she takes inspiration, particularly in her photography.
And finally, don't forget Isola marketwhere you can stock up on some Italian food goodies while you're there or justgenerally enjoy the atmosphere. Marketdays are Tuesday 7am-2pm and Saturday 7am to 5pm.
Ache(www.anche.it), translated as also, is abar, restaurant and baker's all rolled into one. Head there for your morningcappuccino and brioche, and keep in mind that the baker's stays open till 4.30in the morning so if you're still hungry after a night out, you know where tohead. And seeing as though we are in Milan, you should go for an aperitivo.It's a Milanese tradition of drinks with snacks, and you may find you end upskipping dinner altogether. Try Frida (www.fridaisola.it).Their courtyard is very popular during the warmer months, and they also hold variousmarkets. For a taste of home, check out Australian brand Deus ex Machina forsurfboards, motorbikes and bicycles, and their Deus Café (www.deuscustoms.com/cafes/milan).For jazz, Blue Note Café is the onlyEuropean venue of historic New York jazz club Blue Note.