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Inside Portrait Milano, a shocking new Milan resort owned by the posh Ferragamo model 



It could possibly be the plot of a Hollywood film.

Hidden behind big locked gates lies an historical former seminary and an enormous secret courtyard.


It sat untouched for many years on the coronary heart of Italy’s trend capital, Milan, till its likelihood discovery by a really well-connected resident.

Now after ten years of negotiation, planning, design and building, vibrant new life has been breathed into this extraordinary area – one thing that appears like probably the most fashionable of movie units.

The Sixteenth-century seminary (a school for monks) has been reworked into Portrait Milano, a shocking new resort. The massive paved courtyard, now renamed Piazza del Quadrilatero, is the most important public sq. in Milan’s famend trend district.


The large Baroque gates stand open and the piazza gives a pedestrian route from bustling Corso Venezia to the unique designer haunts of Through Sant’Andreais. Excess of only a fashionable cut-through, the imposing sq. hosts boutiques, bars, eating places and common exhibitions.

Ian Walker checks into Portrait Milano, a seminary-turned-hotel that lies in Milan's fashion district

Ian Walker checks into Portrait Milano, a seminary-turned-hotel that lies in Milan’s trend district 

The building, which was 'untouched for decades' before its renovation, overlooks a 'vast secret courtyard'

The constructing, which was ‘untouched for many years’ earlier than its renovation, overlooks a ‘huge secret courtyard’

Success on such a grand scale is testomony to the imaginative and prescient and willpower of Leonardo Ferragamo, chairman of the famed luxurious model Salvatore Ferragamo, and Valeriano Antonioli, the person who first glimpsed the seminary from the highest flooring of a neighbouring web site and the chief govt of Lungarno Assortment, the corporate’s rising hospitality arm.

The overall spend of the bold venture stays shrouded in thriller, however the 73 rooms of the resort, by far the most important Ferragamo providing so far, scream opulence, from the deep pile of the cardinal pink rugs, larch-boarded flooring and Carrara marble loos to the studded, polished wooden, felt, leather-based and lined garments storage areas paying homage to Nineteenth-century luxurious steamer trunks. 


Particulars such because the elegant spiral door handles, which look like fabricated from wooden however are literally of tooled leather-based, and framed design sketches give a nod to the Ferragamo historical past of making beautiful footwear and trend.

After I visited locals and friends alike strolled by way of Milan’s latest piazza expressing their appreciation for entry to an area most by no means knew was there. Antonioli admits he was astonished when he first set eyes on the seminary, having repeatedly cycled previous the closed gates, with no concept of the ‘magnitude’ of the location behind it.

Above is the seminary before the restoration. 'The total spend of the ambitious project remains shrouded in mystery,' says Ian

Above is the seminary earlier than the restoration. ‘The overall spend of the bold venture stays shrouded in thriller,’ says Ian 

An impressive spa, 19m (62ft) pool and fitness complex are due to open later this summer

A formidable spa, 19m (62ft) pool and health complicated are on account of open later this summer season

Regardless of the Ferragamo pedigree it took two years of debate to green-light the event below a 30-year lease settlement with the Catholic Church.


It took an additional eight years to beat planning and building hurdles to make sure the preservation of the historic construction, together with the spectacular first-floor double loggia colonnades whereas putting in heating, air con, elevator banks and the remainder of the paraphernalia anticipated of a luxurious resort. 

Architect Michele De Lucchi greater than fulfilled his transient with strikingly modern 15-ton sheets of sliding glass put in behind the 152 first-floor columns, making a spacious terrace and seating space outdoors rooms that may be both open or shielded from the climate. 

An equally spectacular spa, 19m (62ft) pool and health complicated are on account of open later this summer season.


The luxe interiors by Michele Bonan are delicate, traditional and cozy, that includes velvets, tweed, buttery gentle leather-based, walk-in closets and big beds.

It’s not possible to remain right here and never applaud the monumental achievement in remodeling this constructing, which was based in 1565 and has integrated many additions and renovations alongside the way in which, however key to its success will not be solely the sympathetic remedy of its traditional traces and grand proportions.

The rooms of the hotel 'scream opulence', Ian reveals, from the deep pile of the cardinal red rugs to the larch-boarded floors

The rooms of the resort ‘scream opulence’, Ian reveals, from the deep pile of the cardinal pink rugs to the larch-boarded flooring 

Ian admires the Carrara marble bathrooms adjoining the hotel's guestrooms

Ian admires the Carrara marble loos adjoining the resort’s guestrooms 

These efforts can be tougher to understand had been it not for the proficient and endearing employees. If they’d tails they’d positively be wagging them on the sight of latest friends, such is the real welcome at reception and their unfeigned enthusiasm for the resort and piazza.


Add to this the unbeatable location, which is inside strolling distance of wherever price seeing in Milan, together with the awe-inspiring Duomo di Milano. The icing on the cake is a extremely glorious restaurant – the ground-level ’10_11′, named after the road numbers of the 2 entrances to the piazza. 

The massive bar that curves spherical from the restaurant to a chic lounge space is the go-to spot for an ideal alternative of achieved cocktails.

The hotel is set in an 'unbeatable location', Ian reveals, adding that it's 'within walking distance of anywhere worth seeing in Milan'

The resort is about in an ‘unbeatable location’, Ian reveals, including that it is ‘inside strolling distance of wherever price seeing in Milan’

Garments purchasing is de rigueur when in Milan and far to my shock doesn’t have to interrupt the financial institution with an enormous alternative of first rate boutiques and shops on the resort’s doorstep.


Additionally on the listing for a metropolis break in Milan needs to be a go to to the tremendous fashionable Dolce and Gabbana bar and bistro within the Martini constructing. The collaboration of two iconic Italian manufacturers is a triumph of glitz, with every little thing branded in traditional D&G model from the outsized art-installation gentle shades, sofas and cushions to the tableware and serviettes. Sitting below a shocking glass ceiling within the stone-paved ‘veranda’ space I sampled a fairly first rate pizza, however the spotlight was the modern martini cocktails and the people-watching. 

From fashionistas of all ages, sizes and styles embracing the total printed pyjama look, to aged devotees of the most recent pattern for heavy, black platform ‘bovva’ boots clinging to the tip of fragile limbs, it was a visible feast. 

Ian dines at the hotel's 'really excellent' ground-level restaurant (pictured above)

Ian dines on the resort’s ‘actually glorious’ ground-level restaurant (pictured above) 


Rooms will likely be obtainable ranging from €935 per night time. For additional info and bookings, please go to


In fact, no journey to Milan can be full with out visiting that magnificent celebration of human endeavour, the Duomo di Milano, which took almost six centuries to finish. Building started in 1386 and completed in 1965. It has many contrasting kinds which have led to each admiration and outrage from such different figures as Oscar Wilde, ‘The Cathedral is an terrible failure’, and Mark Twain – ‘What a surprise it’s! So grand, so solemn, so huge! And but so delicate, so ethereal, so sleek!’ 

I’m with Twain and discover a magnetic attraction within the Duomo from its pale Candoglian marble exterior to its rooftop forest of pinnacles, statues and spires, finest skilled with a ticket to go to the roof, up by way of a carry and down by the steps.

If that sounds an excessive amount of effort I additionally had a wonderful view of the Duomo glistening within the afternoon sunshine from Maio, a rooftop restaurant, perched on high of the upmarket La Rinascente division retailer.


Much less well-known, however effectively price a go to is the close by Villa Necchi Campiglio, a Nineteen Thirties mansion, the town’s first to have a personal swimming pool. Designed by Twentieth-century Milanese architect Piero Portaluppi, the villa was the placement for the movie I Am Love starring Tilda Swinton and supplied inspiration for the interiors of Portrait Milano.

Now this architectural treasure has been reworked for future generations, it could be solely a matter of time earlier than it has a starring function in its personal film.

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