Milan + the Lakes Region

Things to do in Milan + the Lakes Region

Balbianello is owned and maintained by the Fondo Ambiente Italiano—the Italian National Trust. In addition to the gardens, a magnificent 18th-century loggia, which has columns delicately laced with well-tended garlands of ficus, is open to the public.

Inside a colonnaded 16th-century palace, you'll find Mannerist frescoes by Giulio Romano, a pupil of Raphael's.

Little seems to have changed in this coffee and cake shop on Via Santa Maria alla Porta since opening in 1824. Baristas still wear white shirts under black vests and bowties while dispensing pralines, éclairs, and 30 different types of cream cakes.

Perhaps the finest example of 17th-century Italian Baroque garden art. When seen from the town of Stresa, the island looks like a giant ship: the Borromean Palace at the stern balancing the 10-terraced garden at the bow of the island.

Insider Clout: For a writer client researching a novel about World War II–era Italy, Grisdale opened her little black book to arrange meetings with a Venetian countess, the scion of Italy’s oldest silk-weaving company, and a former U.S.

Founded by Italian designer Consuelo Castiglioni and her husband Gianni in 1994, this avant-garde clothing company now has almost 100 stores in fashion capitals across the globe, including London, Paris, Madrid, and New York.

The only place where one can purchase women's clothes by Anna Fabiano, the former Fiorucci designer's store is located in Milan's trendy Porta Ticinese neighborhood.

In May the garden is aglow with azaleas and rhododendrons. A Moorish pavilion placed right at the water’s edge, a well-manicured allée of pollarded sycamore trees, and a delightful Japanese water garden are among the attractions.

The century-old shop has unveiled a futuristic Design Supermarket with a whimsical collection of stylish tech toys, tableware, and more by the likes of Zaha Hadid and Ettore Sottsass—all displayed in a sleek underground space designed by Armani store architects Claudio Silvestrin and Guiliana Sal