Where to get inspired in Milan. A guide by Lidia Forlivesi

2019-05-29 This is the third year of my partnership with SapienStone, as I like building real relationships with the companies I work with and believe in consolidating them over time. The partnership began to show the features of SapienStone countertops, through some of the recipes created over the years and published in my blog. This year I moved house and SapienStone created countertops for my kitchen and studio to show, through my photos, how SapienStone porcelain countertops become a valuable aid over time, not only for their beauty, but also for their functionality.

I wouldn't be a real food blogger if I didn't love not only cooking, but also hosting friends at home, preparing meals and aperitifs. That's why I'm not what you call a “bon viveur”, because I like living my home to the full. However, this doesn't mean that I don't like going out, trying new places and falling in love with others. As I also say in my blog bio, I like simple, but never banal, things. I like care, attention and research and when I see these characteristics in the places that I visit, they then become my favourites.

When SapienStone asked me to compile a guide that would inspire those like me who love cooking and food, I thought that the list would be too long. What I'm offering is not a real guide to Milan with all the places where you can find inspiration, but a collection of my favourite places, where I like to go back time and time again, because I feel at home in them and because they inspire me. They are place where you can not only eat, but also buy things for your home and kitchen.


Design Republic is one of my favourite household stores in Milan and I've bought a lot of furniture for my new home there. It has a Nordic style, with mainly Scandinavian brands, with their pure, essential design. They have furniture in a minimalist style, but which at the same time offers warmth, welcome and character to a home.
The first Italian corner of “Hay Kitchen Market” has recently opened in the store. The name says it all: it is a range inspired by kitchens of the world. From plates to ice cream bowls (my favourites), tea towels and wonderful sponges. It's the perfect store for those who love their home, kitchen and design.


Just like a film by Wes Anderson. Bar Luce is the bar inside the Prada Foundation where Miuccia Prada asked Wes Anderson to direct, or perhaps in this case it's better to say design, the bar. On one hand, it reminds you of old Milanese bars of the '50s and '60s, with authentic Italian design and, on the other, there are fun, playful details that the director knows how to highlight. The colour pink, the wallpaper, the pinball machines, the style of the menus and lots of other details make it feel like diving into another world. It's great for a coffee and cake, perfect for a light lunch with classic Milanese panini, or for an aperitif.


Buying flowers is one of my oldest and nicest habits I've had ever since I lived alone.
Offfi is an unusual flower store in the Isola area. It's not really close to my home, but it's worth the distance. One thing that makes Mario, the owner, stand out is that he's chosen not to have fridges. This means that his flowers are always fresh. They're still beautiful when you take them home and they don't die off because they've been in a fridge for who knows how many days. It's also a store with an unusual choice of flowers. If you're looking for a classic bunch of roses, perhaps it’s not the place for you, but if you want something different in terms of flowers or their arrangements, go to Mario. There are also beautiful ceramic vases by artisans from Puglia and objects created especially for the store.


In the Porta Romana area, in an Art Nouveau building, there was once a stationery store here.
It is the perfect combination of taste and style, where elegance and attention to detail dominate. It's a great place for an aperitif or dinner.
It's unconventional. In reality there's no menu, just a series of tasting dishes of the day (which are always incredible), and the drinks are prepared to perfection.
It's a bit like being in a modern antiques store, it has a '60s style, from the tables to the chairs, lamps and armchairs, but without the coldness of a store, because everything is welcoming and perfectly balanced, like the staff who always give you advice when ordering.


The funny thing is that I discovered Mariavera, the artist behind the MV% Ceramics Design brand, when I still lived in NYC, many years ago. It was wonderful to find her beautiful studio in the Navigli area one day by chance.
Mariavera is an architect, but her passion for ceramics and using her hands led her to take another direction and create her brand in 2002.
The studio where she produces and sells her creations is a real jewel. It's a bit like going to a home and seeing how her objects take shape and transmit their personality.
It goes without saying that those who love their dining tables can buy plates, cups for breakfast and coffee, as well as ceramic fruit and vegetables and letters – all handmade, of course. This makes every piece unique, including with the imperfections that are a part of artisan craftsmanship.

Lidia Forlivesi