Discovering Arco della Pace: enjoy Milan like a local
If you decide to visit Milan, it’s unlikely that your guidebook will suggest you to spend more than a couple of hours in the neighbourhood around Arco della Pace and Parco Sempione, other than to visit the famous Castello Sforzesco. This is because the district is mainly a residential area, although still worth a visit being at walking distance from any main attraction and surrounded by any type of service one could need, and at the same time far enough from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Furthermore, the main square, Piazza Sempione, was renovated and redeveloped in the 90s, finally giving the neighbourhood a fresh start after many years of neglect. As a matter of fact, today the area is vibrant and full of young energy thanks to the many restaurants and bars scattered around.
The history: a land of nobility
Home to numerous noble families that reigned over Milan throughout the centuries, the history of this land is dense and complicated. What is now known as the Castello Sforzesco, was once a roman fortification and later, in medieval times, the Visconti Family Castle, until the Sforzas came into power in the 15th century. Around that time the palace was renovated and many rooms were decorated with frescos commissioned to the famous Leonardo da Vinci. The castle then became a ducal citadel during the Spanish domination. It was when Napoleon ruled over the city that the circular square, which is now Piazza Sempione, was built together with the huge park, which served as a parade ground. Finally, the military use of the park ceased and the current Parco Sempione was designed following a Romantic English model.
At the same time, at the beginning of the 19th century, the neoclassical marble Arch was built. The reasons behind its constructions were actually more than one: first in honor of a wedding, then to celebrate a victory of the Napoleon army, and finally to symbolize peace between European nations after the Vienna Congress. The Arch was inaugurated in 1859 with Napoleon III and Vittorio Emanuele II both passing triumphantly through it.
Explore: what you can’t miss
- The Arch (Arco della Pace) and the park behind it (Parco Sempione) are undoubtedly worth a visit. You can either just walk around the main square and take a look at the Arch from every perspective or decide to relax under the shadow of a tree at the park. You’ll definitely feel like you escaped the chaotic city of Milan.
- If you feel like visiting the Castello Sforzesco, it’ll be worth it: free admission for its gardens from 9 to 19:30 every day and the tickets to the museums inside the castle are only €5 for adults or €3 for 18-25 and 65+. The museum is open from Tue to Sun, 10 – 17:30. For more information visit the website: https://www.milanocastello.it/en
- On Via Alemagna 3, you can’t miss the Triennale, which hosts the Museum of Design and many other temporary exhibitions. Open from Tue to Sun 11- 20, the Triennale also features a beautiful garden and a really fancy restaurant. For more information check out the website: https://triennale.org/en/visit/plan-your-visit
- Like any other major city, Milan has a Chinatown, and it happens to be right next to Arco della Pace. You can walk through Via Paolo Sarpi, where you’ll see the typical Chinese lanterns and merge yourself in a different culture.
Time for food!
Since its renovation in the 90s, the area around Piazza Sempione has been attracting more and more businesses, such as restaurants, cafes and cocktail bars, becoming a cool hangout place for many young locals. For this reason, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from in terms of food and drinks! Here are some recommendations:
- For either breakfast, dessert or “gelato”, we suggest you check out Bellavia, which is a nice bakery with a Southern touch. Their Sicilian “granite” (shlush-like drinks) are fantastic. If you’re looking for fresh pastries, such as homemade cakes, mignons and brioches, PastiCherie is also a great place to have breakfast (or an all-day treat).
- For a quick lunch, Panino Giusto is the perfect match: of course, their specialty is “panini” and sandwiches, but they also serve hot dishes and offer great vegetarian options. If you’d rather have some true Italian Napoli style pizza, Starita is just around the corner with numerous toppings and special flavors pizzas.
- Fancy some seafood for dinner? Pisco will be the right choice! From the simple “spaghetti alle vongole” to more sophisticated dishes, their menu won’t disappoint you.
- For both “aperitivo” and an after-dinner drink, you can opt for Living Milano, which is a modern-looking bar right on Piazza Sempione and entertains both locals and tourists all day long with some good food and cocktails. For a more classic experience, Duomo also offers some very nice drinks accompanied by tasty bites.
Where to sleep? With us of course!
With RELSTAY, you can sleep right next to the Arco della Pace in our conveniently located accommodation. Right on Via Cagnola, we offer a cozy one bedroom loft with fast and unlimited free WiFi, a well equipped kitchen and a washing machine, which will give you hotel-like comforts in a home-like environment.
The RELSTAY experience is unique and grants high quality standards and amenities. With contactless digital self check-in and check-out and 24/7 real time assistance, you won’t have to worry about anything.
What are you waiting for?
Come and discover this vibrant district and book a RELSTAY stay!