“Sleek, contemporary and well-priced apartments and suites in or near the vibrant Brera district (sleeping 2-6)”
The split-level, slope-raftered Garibaldi Apartment, sits on the 5th floor of a 1950s steel-and glass block. It has a mezzanine double bedroom (reached via a twist of glass and metal stairs, and with a thick glass panel in its floor), and a sofabed in the kitchen-sitting-dining room below, should you want to bring kids. It feels softer and cosier and was our favourite, though all are lovely. Since our visit they've added 8 equally snazzy apartments and suites/studios, located in various buildings around the city. Whichever you choose, you won't want for a thing; these really are homes away from home. You get WiFi, a satellite TV, an iPod dock, and a substantial DVD, CD and book collection to chill out with. While the apartments each have small kitchen, the suites/studios are better suited to those planning a short trip or lots of dining out. Most are approximately a 20-25 minute stroll from the Stazione Centrale and Duomo, so you can live like a local but explore with ease.
- Good value for money, considering the fresh, modern design and central location in an expensive city
- The wealth of shops, restaurants and buzzy bars in the vicinity, plus the Pinacoteca di Brera museum - Brera is a great neighbourhood
- Ideal for a romantic weekend, or for a city break with a young family - each apartment has a baby cot, and most have sofabeds
- A big choice of films and box sets to watch, and pay-per-view movies on TV
- A lengthy information document, with tips on Milan's museums, restaurants, takeaways, spas, grocery stores and lifestyle stores
- We've only viewed the Brera and Garibaldi Aparments, and are yet to see the others in person
- Some have a restaurant or bar below the window, which may generate evening noise (we found shutting the window effectively restored our peace)
- Only Brera 23 Apartment has a balcony, though it's too small to sit out on
- The suites/studios lacks kitchens and apartment only have hob cookers (no ovens)
- Not all of the apartments are in Brera, check their room descriptions for specific street locations
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Apartments
- Self-catering (+ restaurants nearby)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Laundry Service
- Maid Service (every 3 days)
The 3 Brera Apartments are roomy, open-plan spaces, complete with air-conditioning. You enter the block via big wooden doors on the Via San Fermo, which open into a private cobblestone courtyard, and a little lift delivers you to your floor.
Each apartment has high ceilings, white walls and a wide, low queensize bed with downy duvets and crisp white linen. White floor-length curtains waft at the windowsand your dining table and chairs are designer creations of leather and tubular steel.
Brera 1 and 3 are slightly larger than Brera 2 (and able to sleep an extra person on a rollaway divan bed). We stayed in Brera 2 and found it very clean, elegant and comfortable - though we couldn't get the espresso machine to work! The bedroom/sitting-dining area felt nicely minimalist and spacious; the bathroom was more compact but perfectly sufficient.
On the 5th floor of a 1950s steel-and-glass block off the Via Amfiteatro (with a concierge on duty from 8am-12pm and 1-5pm), the stunning split-level Garibaldi Apartment is also open-plan and counterpoints whites with designer lamps and polished parquet floors. It has a sea-green feature wall, twisted glass steps to the mezzanine bedroom, a slim glass dining table overlooked by cool arc lamps, and a plump, retro sofabed. Its bathroom is bigger, with blue-green tiles and a washing machine.
Since our visit, the owners have added a variety of apartments and smaller, simpler suites/studios (the latter lack kitchens). Each appears to have its own distinct style, but bear in mind, they are spread around the city, and may not be located in Brera itself. We’ve haven’t personally visited any of them yet, so check the rates page for full details and street locations.
- Air conditioning
- CD player
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Ipod dock
- Satellite TV
You'll have to rely on dining out if staying in the Borgonuovo or Gio Ponti’s Building Studio - they have little more than a minifridge, kettle and coffer maker - but this could work well for shorter stays or those wanting to enjoy Milan's culinary offerings.
In contrast, the apartments are well set-up for self catering, with little kitchens (hob but no oven) and cool dining spaces for 4. You get a full quotient of crockery, and a range of pots and pans, as well as some useful equipment (good knives etc). A welcome pack awaits you, with tea, coffee and bottled water, and for everything else there's a Carrefour Express supermarket Via della Moscova, as well as various smaller shops in the various neighbourhoods.
Brera is one of Milan's top drinking and dining hubs, so there are plenty of dining choices nearby. At Il Verde, an elegant yuppie favourite in the Piazza Carlo Mirabello, we enjoyed a delicious risotto con Ossobuco (traditional Milanese saffron risotto with veal), and their chocolate mousse is heavenly. You can't book for lunch but can for dinner, and they'll deliver phoned-in orders, too. Just doors from the Brera Apartments is the popular Fioraio Bianchi Cafe, an old flower shop become bijou restaurant, which does its own baking. And, on Via Palermo, there's the cosy Gran Italia where we had a scrumptiously fat yet light slice of Diavolo wood-fired pizza. The Neapolitan restaurant here, Anema e Cozze, is recommended by Brera's owners.
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Restaurants nearby
- Welcome hamper
- The neighbourhood's Pinacoteca di Brera museum has a small-but-perfectly-formed art collection, including works by Italian masters like Titian, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Mantegna and Bellini
- Don't miss the Duomo, a 20-minute walk away. This fantastic cathedral took 500 years to completel if it's a fine day, head to the roof for panoramic views
- Take a boat cruise along the Navigli canals to see the old washhouses, the Scodellino bridge and the 17th-century Darsena port. Alternatively, stroll beside the canals to browse antique stalls, visit art and craft galleries and dine by the water: every last Sunday of the month there's a huge antiques market alongside the Grand Canal
- Holster your credit card for the Vuitton, Gucci and Prada boutiques in the mosaic arcade of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, or the designer emporiums of the Quadrilatero d'Oro ('Rectangle of Gold')
- The world-famous La Scala opera house now has seat-back screens complete with lyric translations! Catch a performance while you're in town; the acoustics are incredible
- Spend a 15-minute slot viewing da Vinci's The Last Supper - possibly the greatest Renaissance painting ever - at the church of Santa Maria della Grazie (pre-booking essential)
- Join the party in the hip Corso Como area and dance the night away at clubs like Hollywood or Loolapaloosa
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Shopping / markets
Children up to 3 stay for free and there's space for a baby cot in each of the apartments.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
The Porta Venezia and Fiori Chiari Apartments are the largest, sleeping up to 6 plus a baby. Most of the others can sleep 4 plus a baby. Families may want to avoid the Gio Ponti’s Building Studio and Borgonuovo Suite, both of which lack self-catering facilities.
Families Should Know:
Children will need to take care around the Garibaldi's glass and metal spiral staircase.