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My Milan: By Serapian bespoke manager Giovanni Nodari

Words by Rob Chilton

A guide to Milan from a man in the know

Born and raised in Milan, Giovanni Nodari Serapian knows the city inside out. The bespoke manager at expert leather workshop Serapian, which started in Milan in 1928, reveals his favourite places in the Lombardy capital.


Cracco’s is one of my favourite eateries, and chef Carlo Cracco one of my favourite chefs, since he opened his very first restaurant. He is an eclectic and non-conformist chef who has revolutionised the essence of upscale dining in Milan.


I’m an early bird and I like to enjoy a good coffee with a savoury croissant in Sissi, one of the best pasticceria in Milan, and right next door to my house. During the weekend I relax there with one of their fantastic fresh pomegranate juices while reading their great selection of newspapers.

Cracco’s restaurant

Art gallery

Nilufar Gallery is considered one of the most influential design galleries in the world, founded by Nina Yashar in 1979, initially specialising in antique carpets before extending into the modern and contemporary design world, becoming a reference point for collectors and enthusiasts.


The Giardini Villa Reale is the perfect spot to enjoy a sunny day in Milan. The park is also super child-friendly, making it the perfect place for family picnics.


Villa Necchi Caffe is a hidden gem, found on one of the lushest and greenest corners the city has to offer in the district of Il Quadrilatero del Silenzio. It is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Conveniently, it is located directly in front of Villa Mozart, the Serapian headquarters in Milan.

Villa Necchi Caffe

Sports venue

Alle Colombare Q.H. is one of the oldest equestrian centres in Italy when it comes to the Quarter Horse breed. The farm is located 90 minutes from Milan and is now a family breeding centre renowned for these unique and powerful horses.


Mudec, a great transformation of the old Ansaldo industrial factory always features interesting art exhibitions dedicated to the many different cultures of the world. Gallerie d’Italia also houses treasures of the 19th and 20th centuries and gives access to the Garden of Alessandro Manzoni displaying contemporary art sculptures.

Gallerie d’Italia


Teatro Franco Parenti is a stone’s throw from Milan’s imperial Porta Romana and has always been a point of reference for Milan’s cultural scene. The theatre’s programme has an eclectic vocation focused on innovation, reinterpreting the classics from a contemporary perspective.


Room Mate Giulia Hotel is a new boutique design hotel that embodies the new young and international energy that has come to define Milan. The interior design was overseen by Patricia Urquiola who has given the rooms a familiar, almost vintage touch that I always appreciate.

Room Mate Giulia Hotel


Since a kid, I have always lived near Porta Venezia and because of this nostalgia, I really love the area. It is quiet, near the gardens, and has lots of restaurants and good spots to enjoy an aperitivo before or after dinner.


I’m quite classic, and for quality coats or suits, I always shop at Bardelli. I also enjoy Mazzolari, the perfect perfumery and great symbol of the Milanese elegance that is owned by a very dear friend of mine. It is the place to go for Christmas gifting.

Villa Invernizzi


To reach my office in Villa Mozart, every morning I enjoy a quick bike ride past some of the most charming places in Milan. Piazza Eleonora Duse and Villa Invernizzi – with its pink flamingos! – always remind me of my childhood and exploring with my grandmother.

Flamingos at Villa Invernizzi

Food shop

Faravelli is the best place in Milan to get the best quality Italian meat, and also serves as a great deli. It offers the best options for what to take when invited to a friend’s house for dinner.

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