Exploring Piazza Vetra like a local

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Exploring Piazza Vetra like a local

The Milanese love spending their evenings in this historical and trendy neighbourhood. When it is time for an aperitivo, soak in the festive atmosphere that permeates Piazza Vetra.

Exploring Piazza Vetra like a local

A chic and stylish night in Milan

When you come through the doors at The Yard, you enter the inviting world of a collector's cabinet of curiosities. Your stay in Milan is off to a good start. Tucked into a shaded courtyard, between the Naviglio Grande canal and the Piazza Vetra – the epicentre of Milanese nightlife – your urban refuge exudes a dandy-chic vibe where time seems to have stopped. Pull yourself away from your cosy room, decorated in a sporty theme, to soak up the atmosphere of this bustling Milanese neighbourhood.

The Yard
Piazza Ventiquattro Maggio 8
20123 Milano MI
Italy
+39 02 8941 5901
www.theyardplaces.com/the-yard-milan

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Exploring Piazza Vetra like a local

A Roman basilica and shady park

Nearby is the majestic Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio. Take the time to contemplate this thousand-year-old building in red brick, which was an important pilgrimage stop in the Middle Ages. Legend has it that the relics of the Three Kings are kept here. Inside, immense Romanesque vaults alternate with wonderfully preserved multi-secular frescos.

As you continue along, you step into the timeless beauty of the Portinari Chapel. This gem from the Lombardy Renaissance houses an ornate marble sepulchre with Saint Peter Martyr.

Next, enter the peaceful Parco delle Basiliche, also known as the Parco Giovanni Paolo II. Locals like to stroll around this green oasis in the middle of the Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio and the Portinari Chapel, two of the city's most prestigious cultural treasures. Take the Via Molino delle Armi and settle onto a bench for a bit of people watching. Families are always out and about enjoying the fine weather for picnics under the shade of the oak and maple trees, while others opt for more active endeavours on the sports fields and volleyball courts.

Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio
Piazza Sant'Eustorgio 1
20122 Milano MI
Italy
+39 02 5810 1583

Portinari Chapel
Piazza Sant'Eustorgio 1
20122 Milano MI
Italy

Parco Giovanni Paolo II
20121 Milano MI
Italy

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Exploring Piazza Vetra like a local

A grandiose atrium

At the northern end of the Parco delle Basiliche, you will find 16 Roman Corinthian columns from an ancient temple. The Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore rises up just beyond them, behind a forecourt where a bronze status of the emperor Constantine the Great stands. It is an homage to the Edict of Milan, which granted religious freedom to Christians in 313 AD. The monumental atrium is fascinating. The church is worth a visit to see the imposing cupola – the largest in Milan – and its superb Byzantine mosaics.

At the back of the basilica is an enormous mural commissioned by the Church that tells two thousand years of Milan's history. You will likely recognise certain illustrious figures, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon on his legendary white horse and the Milanese composer Giuseppe Verdi.

San Lorenzo Maggiore
Corso di Porta Ticinese 35
20123 Milano MI
Italy
+39 02 8940 4129
www.sanlorenzomaggiore.com/

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Exploring Piazza Vetra like a local

Where Milan's youth mingle

It is now time to let loose and step into the festive atmosphere of this neighbourhood known as the centre of Milan's nightlife scene.

As afternoon morphs into evening, Milanese youth take over the space. Amongst the illuminated columns of San Lorenzo, groups of friends exchange ideas with a drink in hand. Piazza Vetra lies just behind the basilica, with excellent restaurants and inviting cafés. There are several fascinating legends associated with this site, where witches were burned during the Middle Ages. Some locals can tell you about the ghosts of Pierina Bugatis and Sibilla Zanni, two young women declared guilty of witchcraft in 1390 who still haunt the piazza. The charm of the history permeating the neighbourhood lends a special magic to the air.

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Exploring Piazza Vetra like a local

The art of the aperitivo!

Terraces begin to fill around 7pm, which is the sign that it is aperitivo time! Every person you see is more elegant than the next: the Milanese are always dressed to impress. Take advantage of the experience to rub shoulders with the locals, who after their long workdays meet up here to relax in the cafés.

Head to the Vetra pub, named after the Piazza itself. Order a light Spritz or a Vetra Tripel 6 craft beer before grabbing some snacks from the gigantic buffet. Take another piece of pizza, a slice of local prosciutto or a plate of pasta: this is what aperitivo is all about! Enjoy the impressive spread before tearing yourself away from this charming spot and the lively discussions to make your way to a nearby restaurant that is something of an institution.

Vetra
Piazza Vetra 21
20123 Milano MI
Italy
+39 02 9280 1104
vetramilano.it

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Exploring Piazza Vetra like a local

Italian cuisine gets an update

A candlelit dinner awaits at the Cantina della Vetra. This family-owned restaurant, furnished with old tables and checkered tablecloths, has an ambiance of a traditional Milanese tavern. Start with the server's recommendation of fried salami ravioli. Delicious! For your next course, try the surprising beetroot and hazelnut risotto. Finally, an almond semifreddo – the famous Italian frozen dessert – adds a last sweet touch to your divine dinner.

With your stomach full and your heart light, ramble back to your hotel as you gush about this updated regional cuisine. If you are not quite ready to turn in for the evening, stop in at the Doping Club. The Yard's lounge bar will draw you in with its sophisticated cocktails to be sipped in the snug and elegantly charming decor, which is much like the rest of your day in Milan.

Cantina della Vetra
Via Pio IV 3
20123 Milano MI
Italy
+39 02 8940 3843
www.cantinadellavetra.it/en/