Porta Venezia and Palestro: liberty villas and LGBT pride

Time needed: 1 afternoon + 1 night

What to see

The area located near Giardini di Porta Venezia (also called Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli) has a lot to offer both to tourists and locals even though both underestimate this charming neighbourhood that only awaits to be discovered with its wide range of architectural beauties, elegant palaces, shops, museums and a good restaurant scene.

All'interno della GAM di Milano in zona palestro
GAM – Galleria Arte Moderna di Milano, Palestro

Palestro is a very bourgeois neighbourhood that well represents the sober and refined soul of Milan with its museums, the liberty villas and the majestic architectures of Corso Venezia and Corso Monforte. There are many highlights in the neighbourhood!

First of all, there is the must-see Villa Necchi Campiglio. It can be defined as the masterpiece of Piero Portaluppi, the architect that shaped Milano at the beginning of the 20th century and that best embodied the new wave of functional architecture in his time. Villa Necchi Campiglio used to be a private residence of a very rich industrial family, the Necchi, which produced sewing machines used in the flourishing silk industry and for personal use. As they did not have any heir, the family donated the whole villa and its garden to FAI – Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano and the association restored and valorized – touristically speaking – the charming building. Fun fact: the pool in the garden is the second pool ever built in Milano!

In this neighbourhood you will also find Villa Invernizzi; it is known mainly because in its garden you can spot some… pink flamingoes! Isn’t it crazy that such an animal can be observed in Milano?

Villa Invernizzi e i suoi fenicotteri in zona Palestro a Milano
Villa Invernizzi, Palestro – Milano

Giardini di Porta Venezia park is not as big as Parco Sempione, and it doesn’t include a castle nor an acquarium, but it is for sure one of the most elegan parks in town, second only to Giardini di Porta Guastalla.
Moreover, not far from the park you can find many interesting museum where to get lost in: Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, PAC – Contemporary Art Pavillion and GAM – Galleria di Arte Moderna.

Then, there is Corso Buenos Aires and all the side streets: via Lecco, Tadino, Settala, Castaldi, Palazzi, Tunisia, Casati, San Gregorio. These streets used to host the North African communities; for this reason, you can still find some Eritrean and Ethiopian restaurants and shops. Nowadays, the area is almost completely gentrified and it is very lively. Via Lecco is the heart of the LGBT community and the whole district of Porta Venezia is overflowing with cocktail bars, restaurants, kebabs, happy hour places and much much more.

Where to eat

So, let’s talk about food. Porta Venezia district is for sure one of the best places you can go if you are looking for food.

If you want to have breakfast in this neighbourhood, the best place you can go is for sure Pavè; opened about 6 years ago, it is a café that broke the boundaries between cafè, confectionery and bakery with a very Italian attitude, vintage interiors and some of the very best croissants in town. Moreover, Pavè is not only open for breakfast but it also offers lunch and cocktails in the evening for aperitivo time.
In Porta Venezia you can also find one of the few third wave speciality coffee bars in town: the cozy Orsonero Coffee.

If you are wondering where you can eat the best chirashi in town, let us suggest you Poporoya; it is the first ever Japanese restaurant opened in Milano 40 year ago by Minoru Hirazawa (also ). It is very small, often crowded, but their chirashi is definitely worth every effort.

Milan is also home to a vibrant Chinese community that is very active in the food sector. In fact, also Porta Venezia has some good and authentic Chinese restaurants; our favourite in the area is Impressione Chongqing where you can find the real Yunnan and Sichuan cuisine. It is usually full, so it is better to reserve a table if you are more than two.

Are you looking for something more traditional? Head to Maruzzella, a Neapolitan pizzeria and restaurant open since 1978 in Piazza Oberdan. Porta Venezia can offer also the new wave of good pizzas with the second establishment of one of our favourite pizzeria: Marghe.

Il Chirashi dello storico locale Poporoya
A bowl of Chirashi at Poporoya, the oldest Japanese restaurant of Milano

Last but not least, our favourite drink bars: the Nottingham Forest was awarded many times among the 50 best cocktail bars in the world. It is a bit dated now but their molecular cocktails are still very awe-inspiring and surprising!
In the are you should also visit Bar Basso: this is the place of birth of one of the most well-known drinks born in Italy and now world famous: the Negroni cocktail (and also the Rossini)!
Where do the local creatives go to find a down to heart and the genuine environment? To Bar Picchio, of course!

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How to get here

Lima and Palestro stops on the red line of the Metro.

Come here if…

… you love liberty architecture, you want to immerse in the most LGBT friendly district of Milan (via Lecco) or if you are a foodie.

To explore the other neighborhoods of Milan, click here.