Grand Hotel Villa Torretta, Local Guide Milan

We sent Yodeler Nicolee Drake to Grand Hotel Villa Torretta Milan Sesto, Curio Collection by Hilton to create a Milan, Italy Local Guide. Nestled in the scenic Parco Nord, this 17th-century residence once belonged to Milan’s most illustrious families and has been reimagined with modern comforts while maintaining its unique spirit. Explore the city’s rich culture with ease – the hotel is close to the Milan Central Railway Station and just 15 minutes from city center. Nicolee created an incredible travel guide with travel tips and local secrets just for you.

Name? Nicolee Drake

Occupation? Photographer. 

Preoccupation? Gelato.

Can you sum up Milan? Pack your vintage suitcase and meet me in Milan. From Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper to the magnificent gothic cathedral that dominates the city’s main piazza, there is no shortage of things to see, but to truly appreciate Milan, you have to embrace its culture. Milan is the undisputed fashion and design capital of Italy, where money talks and looking good is an art form. While it may not have the historical attractions of other Italian cities, it is a treasure trove of contemporary art, art deco, and rationalist architecture where you will find a perfect combination of old and new. Few European cities offer such a vibrant cultural scene as Milan. It is sophisticated, cosmopolitan, energetic, and every little detail is curated to perfection.

What is the best thing about Milan? Its unique sense of style.

What is a perfect day in Milan? A perfect day in Milan means going at your own pace and not trying to keep up with the pulse-quickening momentum of the city. Milan is less about sightseeing and more about experiencing the lifestyle. Stroll through Parco Nord or Parco Sempione. Take advantage of the endless shopping opportunities, from top designer brands in the Quadrilatero d’Oro to boutique shopping in Brera, to vintage shopping in Navigli, there is something for everyone. Immerse yourself in contemporary art at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Triennale di Milano or Fondazione Prada. For interior design lovers, Nilufar Depot, Fornasetti, and Dimore Gallery are all sources of infinite inspiration. Sample traditional Milanese fare, such as risotto alla Milanese, cotoletta alla Milanese, or Panzerotti. Relax, take your time, and don’t try to fit everything into one trip. 

What are the people like in Milan? If Milan is the perfect edit, then the Milanese are audacious, industrious, and creative. 

If Milan was a person who would it be? Cruella de Vil

What was your impression of the Grand Hotel Villa Torretta? Grand Hotel Villa Torretta is nestled in the lush greenery of Milan’s Parco Nord in Sesto San Giovanni, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. What stood out for me is how wonderfully peaceful and quiet it is. But I especially loved my room. The walls are adorned with 15th-century frescoes; it has an original decorative fireplace, a private garden, and a giant Japanese soaking tub. I would have been perfectly content to stay in my room all day. The hotel also has its own private chapel, the Oratory of Santa Margherita, which was rebuilt in 1607 and has original frescoes on the walls and ceilings.

What was your experience like staying at the Grand Hotel Villa Torretta? I had a lovely experience staying at Villa Torretta. The Team was warm, welcoming, and professional, and the service was impeccable. There was always someone there to take care of my every need. The property itself was once the residence of Italian nobility and still embodies its 17th-century grandeur but with modern interior design and all the amenities of an upscale hotel. The public spaces were comfortable, well-appointed, and always inviting. Also, the WiFi works perfectly everywhere on the property. I loved everything about my stay, and I will be back.

What do you do with 24 hours in Milan? No trip to Milan would be complete without visiting the majestic Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in the city’s center, but to experience Milan properly, you have to escape the usual tourist routes. A perfect day in Milan is easy if you plan it right. During my stay, I took the metro everywhere, it’s easy to use, and the best way to get around the city other than on foot. From Villa Torretta, the Bignami metro stop is an eight-minute walk through the beautiful Parco Nord surrounding the hotel. Enjoy a typical Milanese breakfast of cappuccino and brioche at Il Vico della Torretta, stroll through the park and hop on the metro to Garibaldi FS. From there, walk up the stairs to Piazza Gae Aulenti and have a coffee with the locals at Feltrinelli. Piazza Gae Aulenti is also home to Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest), two impressive sustainable residential towers covered in greenery. 

Next stop? Shopping. While you’re in the neighborhood, head over to 10 Corso Como, this hybrid concept store, café, gallery, and bookshop is a Milan institution and a must-visit for all discerning fashion and art lovers. Stock up on culinary souvenirs and gifts at the nearby three-level Eataly

Swap contemporary for ancient and head across town to Castello Sforzesco, a 15th-century fortress built by Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan. Behind the castle is Parco Sempione, Milan’s English Garden, designed by Emilio Alemagna in 1894. 

By now, you should have worked up an appetite. Milan’s charming Brera District is an easy ten-minute walk from the castle, and Savini Tartufi is sort of on the way if you’re into truffles. Otherwise, Brera has numerous restaurants on picturesque streets to enjoy a long Italian lunch. For light bites and some of the freshest fruits and vegetables you’ve ever seen, pop into L’orto di Brera. Spend the early afternoon shopping in the district’s many boutique shops. For vintage, I love Cavalli e Nastri, exquisitely curated and offering pristine vintage clothes and accessories. For a little culture, explore the halls of the Pinacoteca di Brera which house some of the most important art collections in Italy. 

Our last stop is the Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan’s majestic Piazza del Duomo. This piazza is a tourist hot spot, so it will likely be packed with people, but there are a few hidden gems here and strategies for soaking in the splendor. Located on the fifth and sixth floors of one of the Galleria’s main buildings, you’ll find Osservatorio Prada, an art space dedicated to photography and visual languages, and provides a lovely view of the stunning glass dome that covers the arcades. Tip: your ticket also gets you into Fondazione Prada, so hold on to it. On your way out, stop on the mezzanine floor to visit Pasticceria Marchesi, one of Milan’s oldest and most beautiful pastry shops and the embodiment of Milanese style since 1824. 

For the best view in town, head to the rooftop of the Duomo to see its spires up close and a take in the breathtaking panorama of the piazza and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. For a view of the Duomo without all the chaos, walk across the piazza to Museo del Novecento, a beautiful museum dedicated to 20th-century art, and the best secret view of the facade of the Duomo. 

Aperitivo time! Aperitivo is an Italian tradition, but Milan does it best. And Villa Torretta puts a unique twist on it with their Torretta Spritz. Make your way back to the hotel, grab a cocktail and some cicchetti, and kick back and relax. 

For dinner, don’t miss chef Angelo Nasta’s award-winning saffron risotto at Vico della Torretta




Best place to eat:

Paper Moon

Best place to drink?


Best place to shop?

Boutique shopping in Brera.

Best activity? 

The best outdoor activity: strolling through Parco Sempione 

The best indoor activity: an evening at the world-famous Teatro Scala

Local tip?

Flip flops are not shoes.

Best place to stay?

Grand Hotel Villa Torretta, Curio Collection by Hilton