Rossana Orlandi’s Milan

The gallerist, curator and tastemaker transformed an abandoned factory in Milan into Spazio Rossana Orlandi in 2002. Today it is one of the world’s most cutting-edge design stores

Rossana Orlandi at Museo Bagatti Valsecchi
Rossana Orlandi at Museo Bagatti Valsecchi | Image: Albrecht Tubke

“Weekends are my time to step away and not think about work or anything too serious. At home in Milan, Saturday begins at 7am with a leisurely breakfast of coffee, orange juice, toast and marmalade – in bed, listening to Mozart or Radio Monte Carlo. I scroll through the news on my iPad before heading off for a day of exploration with my husband, Guido. Our first stop is Chinatown and the area surrounding Via Paolo Sarpi. This neighbourhood has a traditional Italian feel blended with a strong Chinese community and it is full of charm.

We walk to the Macelleria Muuu, where the owner prepares meat in interesting ways and always has wonderful stories to tell. Then on to Corey’s Soul Chicken, a little store owned by the handsome Corey, who was a model for Valentino in the 1980s and now makes the most excellent fried chicken and potato salad. Our next stop is always Galleria Luisa delle Piane, run by my good friend Luisa. We share a similar aesthetic and chat about everything but work.  

Next comes the most important time of the day: lunch with our family, including grandchildren, nieces and nephews, at Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone. This is a wonderful place because all of the children can run around freely before eating their specially made panini.

Afterwards we might visit the Museum Bagatti Valsecchi to browse in the design shop that I opened there. There’s a Golden Hope Bird by Jaime Hayon that chirps a welcome to visitors and always puts me in a good mood. If the weather is nice we take the kids to the Parco Villa Reale, where we’ll meet friends and stroll through the gardens, or we might visit my beloved gallery. In either case, we are surrounded by friends and spend much of the day chatting.

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Saturday evening is often spent going to the Cinema Anteo to watch films in their original language, followed by dinner at new pizzeria Dry, which was opened by my friend Tiziano Vudafieri. I absolutely love pizza and this place is beautiful and full of young people. We also like to see performances at the Teatro Franco Parenti, where you can enjoy spaghetti con salsa peperoni in the café. And if we’re not too tired, we might stop by the Blue Note, where Nick the Nightfly plays the best jazz in town.

On Sunday morning we go to the Chiesa di San Marco, where the priest and musical composer Don Luigi celebrates a vibrant mass with a sermon lasting just 10 minutes. It is the most wonderfully concise sermon you will ever hear! After the service, we head with friends to Bar Brera, where we talk about everything from exciting new areas of Milan to the latest restaurant and hotel openings. On the third Sunday of every month there is a chic flea market in Brera, where we find antiques, prints and vintage jewellery.

From here we will stroll to the Orto Botanico [botanical gardens], stopping at the Marc Jacobs café in Piazza del Carmine. They serve an excellent fillet steak here and it is also a central meeting point for many of our friends. For entertainment we often go to La Scala, where I take visiting guests to view the private rooms full of portraits of the stars, and I also arrange for special stage tours.

Sunday evenings are usually spent at the home of our friends, designer Stefano Giovannoni and his wife, Elisa. We all enjoy a dinner that is based on fresh fish, and the atmosphere is full of charm and creativity. Back at home, feeling happy and relaxed, I will start checking my emails and planning new projects for the week ahead. At 1am, after a bit of FreeCell solitaire on the iPad, I go to bed rested and refreshed.”

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