Meet the author Silvia Frau in Milan

Milan - Silvia Frau
Silvia Frau

Journalist Silvia Frau lives and works in Milan. She writes about travel, food and lifestyle and is the author of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Milan. Over the past decade, she has contributed to, among others, Vogue ItaliaCondé Nast TravellerCorriere della SeraBell’Italia, Bell’Europa and Ferrari Magazine. Her work brings her to every corner of her hometown; she prefers going everywhere by foot, so she can discover new places along the way, where she can pop in to buy coffee, flowers or a book.

What Silvia loves most about Milan

"I like the city's 'understated' style: Milan has a lot to offer in the areas of art, architecture, design and of course fashion, but it does not show off. I also love the beauty that lies hidden behind doors, like the courtyards of stately homes or the private gardens that you can catch a glimpse of from the street."

Milan - Pasticceria Cucchi
Pasticceria Cucchi

Silvia’s perfect day in the city might look like this

"I like to wander around Milan like a tourist in my own city. Sometimes I take a day off during the week, when most people are at work – in Milan, working is a serious matter. I like to go to popular bars and restaurants on days like these, when it's very calm. First, I would of course go for coffee. I love coffee, and one of my favourite places to enjoy a cup is the old-style Pasticceria Cucchi (one of the 5 traditional pastry shops in 'The 500 Hidden Secrets of Milan') - it feels as if time has stopped there. I like to read the newspaper at one of the outdoor tables. The pastries (like the homemade panettone) are delicious, but Milanese ladies seem to always be on a diet: that means no more than one croissant!


After coffee I would stroll through the narrow streets of the old town. I love the '5 vie' area with its many artisan shops, antique dealers and concept stores. I can’t pass by Funky table (from 'the 5 shops for designer items' list) without holding halt in front of the shop window. I always feel like a little girl in a toy shop here. During the Salone del Mobile this part of town is very peaceful; the old car-parking nearby hosts expositions of young designers.

On a perfect day like this, one should also visit the Fondazione Achille Castiglioni (it's included in the list of '5 places for design lovers'). The entrance used to be right across of the offices of Condé Nast Traveller and Vogue Italia. When I worked there, I was always surprised not to see long lines of visitors waiting to get in this wonderful museum - it's a truly enchanting place. Just a few steps further you'll find the Palazzo della Triennale, where there's always some large-scale exposition going on, yet the atmosphere is very relaxed and of course international. It's also a good place for a pit stop: the garden is a lovely space for a rest, or you can have lunch in the brand new Social Pizza space. For a drink with a view, head to the roof. Here you'll find the Osteria con Vista (it's included in the book in the list with 5 places for a drink with a view). The large windows offer impressive views over the Sempione Park up to the skyscrapers of Porta Nuova."

Terrazza Triennale in Vienna against a dark sky
Osteria Con Vista