Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors

Think of Milan, and visions of fabulous fashion, delicious food and world-famous monuments such as the majestic Duomo will no doubt spring instantly to mind. Hidden away out of sight behind a multitude of doors and archways, however, is a whole secret world waiting to be discovered. We take you off the beaten track and open the key to a panoply of exclusive experiences to enhance your stay, from 150-year old family jewellers to a unique vineyard just a heartbeat away from where Leonardo da Vinci painted his masterpiece “The Last Supper”, combined with personalised itineraries that ensure you do not miss out and walk straight past some of the most spectacular and lesser known sights of the city.

Find out more details about our Here To Stay Itinerary Service here, and discover our ‘Off the Beaten Track in Milan’ recommendations below.

 

EXCLUSIVE PRIVATE TOURS

Leonardo’s Secret Vineyard in the Heart of Milan

Step in the footsteps of Leonardo and into a hidden oasis in the centre of the city, just across the road from where the Last Supper masterpiece is located, to discover a taste of Renaissance Italy that is now available to the public after years of concealment. The Casa degli Atellani opens its doors to welcome you into the place where Leonardo da Vinci once tended the vineyard that had been gifted to him by the Duke of Milan shortly before the French successfully invaded Milan. In addition to the entrancing courtyard and visit of the frescoed ground floor of the family home, including the incredible Zodiac Hall and ceilings decorated by Bernardino Luini, you will be able to stroll around the gardens where the original vines have now been reproduced by wine geneticists and learn about the fascinating history of this private residence through the centuries. Situated just 10 minutes’ walk from the Duomo, this visit is highly recommended as part of a private tour of Milan.

Here To Stay blog article – read more here.

Private Guided Tour incorporating Leonardo’s Vineyard and the Casa degli Atellani duration : 3 hours

Maximum size of group : 6 people

Request further information and reserve your guided tour here.

 

The Hidden Gem of San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore

Walking past the front of this sober Renaissance building on Corso Magenta just ten minutes from Milan’s central Duomo cathedral, you can have no idea of the secret treasures inside. Possibly the most stunning church in the city, what has been dubbed the ‘Sistine Chapel of Lombardy’ dates from Roman times and became the most important Benedictine convent in the 9th century, before being commissioned and painted throughout by Bernardino Luini in the 1500s.

The cycle of extraordinary frescoes, which cover the entire church wall to wall and from floor to ceiling, were in turn completely restored over a period of two decades in recent years, and can now be admired in their full glory during this privately guided visit. Highlights of this unforgettable tour: learn the stories of some of the most famous female martyred saints depicted on the walls, observe the massive pipe Antegnati organ in situ and step behind the front dividing partition to discover the nuns’ remarkable choir cloister behind the scenes, where they remained in beautiful isolation for centuries.

Here To Stay blog article – read more here.

Private Guided Tour incorporating San Maurizio church duration : 3 hours

Maximum size of group : 6 people

Request further information and reserve your guided tour here.

 

UNIQUE “BEHIND CLOSED DOORS” VISITS

Bespoke Jewellery Creation in the heart of Milan’s Historic Centre

Transform your visit to Italy into an unforgettable memory, by designing your very own unique piece of jewellery to treasure forever. ‘Merzaghi Gioielleria’ was born just footsteps away from Milan’s Cathedral back in 1870, and is now proud to celebrate five generations of exquisitely refined jewellery-crafting, creating unique and authentic hand-made art pieces for their clients. Rino Merzaghi, the family’s highly reputed second-generation craftsman, enjoyed an especially glorious moment of growth and creativity at the beginning of the 20th century during his collaboration with famous goldsmith Alfredo Ravasco, and was responsible for embedding the stones into the beloved Pope Pius XI’s coronation tiara crown, which was offered to him by the Milanese people in the 1920s.

Over time, the Merzaghi family also became known as the reference for Milanese nobility and high society, conceiving brilliant jewels for great occasions such as the opening night at the Scala. Tradition held it that ladies attending the opera would display the stunning brand-new piece of jewellery that had been commissioned, showing off unique gems that would amaze onlookers on the night and then remain for posterity in the bosom of the family.

Great-grandchildren Paola and Mauro, still operating in the family’s heirloom atelier and using the original tools of the trade, are today as deeply committed as ever to continuing the family’s contribution to the history of Italian craftsmanship: join them for a fascinating private tour behind closed doors, where they will welcome you for a visit to their historic “bottega storica” workshop and share with you the intricate hand-drawn sketches they are preciously preserving for succeeding generations. As well as watching Mauro demonstrate his craft using the original goldsmith instruments, it is also possible to organise an appointment by prior arrangement to design a personalised, bespoke piece of jewellery for yourself or a loved one. You may also purchase one of the unique items in their boutique at the end of your guided visit.

Private Guided Visit of the Merzaghi Gioielleria workshop : 1 hour

Maximum size of group : 6 people

Request further information and reserve your guided visit, or book an appointment to design your bespoke item of jewellery here.

 

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK RECOMMENDATIONS

THE SMALLEST COCKTAIL BAR IN THE WORLD – BACKDOOR 43

Blink, and you miss it. If you didn’t know it was there, you would walk straight past the hidden entrance to what is claimed to be the smallest bar in the world in the midst of Milan’s buzzing Navigli district, without a clue of what lies behind the mysterious ‘BackDoor43’. Reserved only for the initiated, this unique, bespoke bar is one of the most discreet cocktail address in the city, undiscovered even by many of the locals who have been unknowingly passing by its front door for years. Read more here…

 

An Unforgettable Weekend in Milan…Nicola arranged our trip from the moment we touched down, from how to get the taxi from the airport to our lodgings, to the seamless organization of all our visits, to actually getting us tickets booked way in advance to see the very coveted “Last Supper”, to amazing food experiences… (Eataly!!), to knowing exactly which time of the day was “perfetto” to climb up to the top of the Duomo…After spending the weekend in Milan, you understand why this elegant city is a must see destination in Europe, especially if Nicola gives you the keys to her city!” Sally B.