Quadrilatero della Moda - 1

Quadrilatero della Moda - 1, Milan, Italy (A)

Fashion is synonymous with Milan and the “Quadrilatero della moda” (really, a Golden Rectangle) is the district where the most famous fashion brands have their showrooms and ateliers. The 4 sides of the Quadrilatero are via Montenapoleone, via Manzoni, Via della Spiga and Corso Venezia but within the area other important streets deserve a visit. This is where you can find the roots of the Milanese upper class culture.
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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Quadrilatero della Moda - 1
Guide Location: Italy » Milan
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 Km or 0.4 Miles
Author: Morena Menegatti
Author Bio: Morena Menegatti is a journalist who's been working for over 20 years in the communication field, developing important experiences on traditional and digital media (internet, sat tv, web tv, radio, newspapers and magazines), focusing on different audiences. She's been dealing mainly with tourism, technology and social and multimedia communication. She lives between Milan, Rome and Ferrara, in Italy, and loves travelling and photographing.
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Via Montenapoleone
  • Fratelli Pederzani, Gioielli
  • Ars Rosa
  • Larusmiani
  • G. Lorenzi, coltellinaio
  • Faraone
  • Gioielleria Cusi
  • Mario Buccellati
  • Armani Hotel
  • Arte della Seta
Via Montenapoleone

1) Via Montenapoleone

Via Montenapoleone, in Milan, has always been considered as the heart of fashion and, for sure, the district of the city that people were supposed to enter following unwritten, but very clear, elegance codes. This was the so-called “Quartier de Riverissi”, where well-mannered gentlemen used to “riverire” (in English, “to pay their respects to”) women, raising or taking off their hats when meeting ladies along the way, and where women in the Fifties started wearing silk tights and hats, which differentiated them from dowdy women.

This street rises onto the ancient path of the Roman Walls that were built following the route of the Seveso river, still flowing underneath, along the odd numbers of the street.

This street was named Via Montenapoleone after Monte di Pietà, the pawnshop once located at number 12 and in 1804 transformed its name into Via Montenapoleone to celebrate Napoleon Bonaparte when he was consul for the Cisalpine Republic.

It was between the two World Wars when the street imposed itself as a place for luxury residences of rich and important families, antique dealers, jewellers and tailors. Today, the so-called “Salotto di Milano” (Milan’s salon) is at 4th place in the world for its squared metre turnover and represents 25% of yearly touristic shopping in Milan.
Fratelli Pederzani, Gioielli

2) Fratelli Pederzani, Gioielli

Opulence in via Montenapoleone is evident since you take your very first steps in the street. At number 1, in fact, in 1947 Gino Pederzani took over an old stamps shop and started his activity as a jeweller. In 1963 the “Gioielleria Pederzani” (Pederzani Jeweller’s shop) incorporated the next door famous coiffeur Giusto and became as big as it is today. This family run business reached the pinnacle of success in the 70s, when they started selling heart-shaped and Fancy Yellow diamonds, many of which were put up for auction at Christies’ and belonged to several noble European families. In 1976 Gino Pederzani left his legacy to his children who changed the name of the shop into “Fratelli Pederzani, gioielli importanti a Milano" (Pederzani Bros. important jewels in Milan) which is still in use today. Pederzani is open Mon 3pm-7pm, Tue-Fri 10am-12.30pm and 3 pm-7pm. Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Ars Rosa

3) Ars Rosa

Since 1952 Ars Rosa by Bettina Rossi is the boutique of underwear in Milan. Ladies are fascinated by her exquisite taste for elegance. Her lingerie, almost all in silk, but also featuring clothes in shiny satin and linen, is embellished with hand made embroidery, Valencienne laces and broderie anglaise. Made to measure cachemire knitted dressing gowns are warm, soft and in bright colours. Entering Ars Rosa means looking for the right balance between glamour and charm, for those women wishing their partners fall under their spell. Ars Rosa is open Mon 3pm-7pm, Tue-Sat 10am-12.30pm and 3pm-7pm. Closed on Sundays.

4) Larusmiani

This internationally famous Italian brand was born from an idea of Guglielmo Miani, an Apulian tailor who arrived in Milan in 1922 setting up his own atelier in Via Manzoni, on the ground floor of Palazzo Borromeo d’Adda, after an apprenticeship period to a tailor’s workshop in Corso Vittorio Emanuele. His atelier was named Larus, after the Latin name of the seagull whose waterproof plumage was intended to remind the raincoats thanks to which Miani won his fame. He dressed journalists, politicians and actors like Prince Antonio de Curtis (known as Totò), Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Queen Elizabeth named him “Officier of the British Empire” for the import, development and trading of the most prestigious tissues and English clothes. In 1954 Larus opened the actual shop in Via Montenapoleone and in 1970 Guglielmo’s son, Riccardo took over the company whose name became Larusmiani. Today Larusmiani is synonymous with high-end fabrics and has recently launched his female collection. British architect David Collins revised the shop concept mixing style, elegance and design, together with tradition so that entering Larusmiani is a real experience: fitting rooms with private toilets, a 12 metres fountain, unique incunabula and manuscripts of international literature and science and a fireplace in the salon. Downstairs a caveau protects a prestigious collection of watches. Taste is a must at Larusmiani and through refinement their clothes truly become fine pieces of art. Larusmiani is open Mon-Sat 10am-7.30 pm, Sun 10.30am-1.45pm and 2.45pm-7pm.
G. Lorenzi, coltellinaio

5) G. Lorenzi, coltellinaio

The art of grinding is old in Milan, dating back to 1929, when the Lorenzi family started its tradition in town opening the “Lorenzi cutlery shop” in Via Montenapoleone. Over the years, their activity evolved into handcrafting their own knives, authentic masterpieces especially demanded by experts and collectors from all over the world. Their “love for blades” took the family also to put together a precious collection of over 4000 razors coming from all over the world, that you can visit upon appointment. The history of shaving and male care has its temple in here. Lorenzi is open 9am-12.30-pm and 3pm-7pm. Closed on Monday mornings and Sundays.

6) Faraone

At number 19, another famous Milanese jeweller had started working in 1945: Raffaele Faraone, whose brand dates back to 1919. Known for being a good judge of the elites tastes and talented with unbeatable creativity and taste, in 1960 Faraone decided to merge his charm with the experience of the Florentine Settepassi family, amongst the most skillful goldsmiths in Italy, who took over the brand the following year, keeping the name “Faraone”. In 2010 the new Faraone’s concept store in Montenapoleone was designed by architect Massimo Iosa Ghini who used traditional materials for the interiors, choosing several woods with various shades of gray drawn near amber glasses, bronzed or brassed metals and soft leather chairs. Jewels caskets are made of fine crystal. Faraone is open daily, 9am-1pm and 3pm-7pm. Closed on Monday afternoons and Sundays.
Gioielleria Cusi

7) Gioielleria Cusi

At the end of the 19th century jeweller Annibale Cusi founded here his jeweller’s shop soon becoming internationally known for his knowledge and capability to purchase the most precious stones on the market. His production was made of accurately chosen stones and pearls, assembled both through traditional techniques (such as chalck impressions) and innovative techniques. In 1915 Cusi became the official supplier of the noble Savoia family (kings of Italy until 1946) and today his descendants (Ettore, Rinaldo and Roberta) still set the trend of Italian jewellery in the world. (Ernesto and Rinaldo’s shops are outside the Quadrilatero -respectively in Via Clerici, in the ancient family building, Palazzo Cusi, and in Via Monforte-, while Roberta followed her ancester’s steps remaining in Via Montenapoleone, in the house where during Renaissance, on March 18th 1848 the patriots headquarter coordinated the various sectors of the Resistance against Austrians, as a plate on the wall of the house states). Cusi is open daily 9am-1pm and 3pm-7pm. Closed on Monday mornings and Sundays.
Mario Buccellati

8) Mario Buccellati

At number 23 of Via Montenapoleone, Mario Buccellati does not need any introduction. He’s probably the most famous jeweller in Milan. His family story begun in 1700, when Contardo Buccellati started working as a goldsmith in Milan and in 1903 Mario Buccellati revived the family tradition, apprenticing at Milan’s prestigious Beltrami & Beltrami. In 1919, Buccellati took over the firm, changing its name to Buccellati. International acclaim came when, exhibiting at Madrid’s 1920 Exposition, Mario Buccellati caught the public’s attention hurling an expensive compact out of a window when a woman asked for a discount, shouting, “I am not a tradesman!” Buccellati was then invited to exhibit his work at a solo show; Spanish aristocrats came in droves, including the royal family who became lifelong clients. In the following years, Mario Buccellati’s work gained a loyal following in Italy and abroad, including the Vatican courts as customers. Besides making fabulous jewels he also was excellent at chiseling pochettes, powder compacts, cigarette cases, vases and cups. Poet Gabriele D’Annunzio dubbed him “The Prince of Goldsmiths” and ordered pieces for many of his fiancées and for his famous house, known as Vittoriale degli Italiani (in Gardone Riviera, on the Garda Lake), where a Mario Buccellati inkpot is still preserved. In 1951, Buccellati became the first Italian jewellery designer with a location on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Buccellati is open daily 10.30am-1pm. Closed Sun and Mon.
Armani Hotel

9) Armani Hotel

Seen from above, “King George”’s hotel has the shape of an A made of iron and glass. Open in November 2011 on top of his megastore, the Armani Hotel features 95 rooms (the largest in town), with breathtaking views on Milan, all provided with an entrance projected to protect from viewing what is inside. On the 7th floor people can enjoy a very high-end restaurant, a lounge, a bar and a SPA overlooking the city from the top floor of the building. The most innovative invention at Armani’s is the abolition of the reception in favour of the lifestyle managers, who are in charge of every customer’s needs.
Arte della Seta

10) Arte della Seta

At the beginning of the 20th century this shop (in English, The art of Silk), was the temple of silk in Milan. Run by Mastro Giuseppe Lisio, both an artist and an entrepreneur of silk, it opened in 1924. After many years of experience in the silk-weaving sector, working for “Luigi Osnago” company in Milan, he opened his first shop in Florence in 1906, backed by a workshop with a small number of handlooms. Paintings by the greatest Italian artists, works of decorative art, and above all surviving examples of woven silks of the past inspired Giuseppe Lisio while developing his patterns and designs.The Company quickly achieved great success in Italy and abroad,which convinced Lisio to open a new shop in Rome, move his workshop to Milan and open Milan shop, which soon became a highly representative point of sale and a high-end reference in the textile environment. Friendship between Lisio and poet Gabriele D’Annunzio took several important people of that period to Lisio’s factory, coming from the world of culture and contemporary art, together with architects (Giò Ponti just to name one), noble people and high ranks Vatican representatives. D’Annunzio named him “Tessitore di tutti i colori” (in English, “The weaver of all colours”) for his commitment to perpetuate the ancient art of hand-weaving textiles in silk and precious metals. Today this ancient shop is home to “Illulian”, an historical brand standing out in the carpets and tapestries antique trade, exposing and selling exquisite specimens of different ages. At number 37 is instead their prestigious and elegant showroom with luxury furnishings and innovative proposals of a high level and contemporary design, attesting carpets as real works of art. Open Mon 3-7pm, Tue-Sat 10am-1pm and 2.30-7pm (on Saturdays 3-7pm). Closed on Sundays.

Here you're halfway through your run. The second part of this walking tour will introduce you into the warmest and most distinctive area of the Golden Rectangle: Via della Spiga and its surroundings will dive you into a cross-section of well-to-do society at the end of the nineteenth century, ably mixed with the shrines of contemporary fashion.

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