AROUND MILAN – Discovering the area of San Babila, Monforte e Corso Venezia – Adigrat RE
22 August 2023 - Insights

AROUND MILAN – Discovering the area of San Babila, Monforte e Corso Venezia – Adigrat RE

In the heart of the historic center, just a stone's throw away from the Duomo, this is one of the most exclusive and representative areas of Milan, where you can find a mix of chic shops, trendy bars, interesting museums, and beautiful architecture.

The area around San Babila, Corso Monforte, and Corso Venezia stands out as one of Milan's most iconic districts. Here, history, culture, and glamour converge harmoniously, crafting an enchanting atmosphere that truly embodies the spirit of the city and its lively energy.

We are in the heart of Milan's historic center, in an area that encompasses one of the city's most emblematic streets and one of its most important squares, which has recently undergone an important makeover for the inauguration of the new M4 metro line, a testament to the city's constant evolution and forward-thinking spirit.

History and fun facts

Many stories intertwine in this area of Milan. Let's start from San Babila, the square named after the Turkish martyr Babila who founded the Milanese diocese. Once a simple widening, this space transformed into a bustling square during the 1930s, catering to the needs of the city's burgeoning population. As time passed, Piazza San Babila witnessed the rise of iconic structures like the Snia Viscosa Tower, which proudly stood as Milan's very first skyscraper, symbolizing the city's ambitious and innovative spirit. The square was also the scene of political clashes and the crossroads of fashions and trends. Notably, it was at this very location where Italy's first-ever hamburger joint, the famous "Burghy," opened its doors, and the "Paninari" subculture started.

From Piazza San Babila, Corso Monforte meanders its way, guarding an intriguing history that remains largely unknown to many. Legend has it that the name of this street is linked to Monforte d'Alba, a village nestled in the Langhe region, where the Cathars captured by Archbishop Ariberto d'Intimiano in the 11th century resided. They were sentenced to the stake for their beliefs right along this very street in Milan. Centuries later, in the 1700s, Corso Monforte found itself in the spotlight once again as the birthplace of one of the earliest fashion magazines, the "Giornale delle Nuove Mode di Francia e d'Inghilterra," which can be considered a precursor of Vogue!

From Piazza San Babila you can also access Corso Venezia, the ancient "Corso di Porta Orientale" that once connected the heart of the city to the present-day Porta Venezia. This is one of Milan’s historic gates and next to it once stood the infamous "Lazzaretto di Milano" described by Alessandro Manzoni in his novel "The Betrothed.” Over time, the area underwent transformations. In the 18th century, when Maria Teresa of Austria's son assumed governance of Milan, Corso Venezia evolved into one of the city's most elegant neighborhoods. It became the favored residence of Milan's bourgeoisie, who constructed splendid villas and palaces here.

What to see

Things to see between San Babila, Corso Monforte and Corso Venezia? There are many things to see between San Babila, Corso Monforte, and Corso Venezia, starting from the ancient Basilica of San Babila, which encapsulates centuries of history and is believed to be Milan's oldest Christian church.

Continuing along Corso Monforte, you'll stumble upon a true architectural gem: Villa Necchi Campiglio. This magnificent residence, designed by the architect Piero Portaluppi, is now a house-museum that provides a glimpse into the high-society lifestyle of the local industrial elite back in the 1930s, who spent time between social gatherings, exquisite artworks, tennis matches, and leisurely poolside chit-chat

Villa Necchi is situated in the so-called “Quadrilatero del Silenzio”, a delightful area tucked between Corso Monforte and Porta Venezia, offering wonderful and unexpected sights. Here, you can witness the graceful pink flamingos of Villa Invernizzi or marvel at Villa Mozart's facade, entirely adorned with lush plants, a masterpiece that clearly anticipated the concept later seen in the Vertical Forest of the Isola district.

As you venture towards Porta Venezia, you can visit the Indro Montanelli Public Gardens, Milan's oldest public park, established in 1784. Strolling through its avenues shaded by centuries-old trees, you’ll come across the Museum of Natural History, showcasing a remarkable collection that includes the first-ever discovered Italian dinosaur, as well as the Civic Ulrico Hoepli Planetarium, the largest of its kind in Italy. Adjacent to the park, the GAM (Gallery of Modern Art) and the PAC (Contemporary Art Pavilion) are two prominent art destinations exhibiting important works and installations by both Italian and international artists. Make sure not to overlook the Art Museum of Fondazione Luigi Rovati on Corso Venezia, a new exhibition space housing Etruscan relics alongside contemporary artworks.

To wrap up your visit, take a stroll to admire the magnificent Liberty-style architecture of Porta Venezia. Among the must-see buildings are the former Cinema Dupont on Via Frisi, the original façade of Casa Galimberti on Via Malpighi, and the splendid palace of Hotel Diana Sheraton on Viale Piave, which once housed Italy's very first public swimming pool back in the 19th century.

Take note of these addresses

The area between San Babila, Corso Monforte, and Corso Venezia offers a wide selection of restaurants, stylish venues, and bars, making it one of the most popular areas in the city.

When the clock strikes aperitivo time, enjoy the classic Bitter at the historical Ginrosa bar in San Babila, cocktails with breathtaking views of the Duomo on the twelfth floor of The Brian and Berry Building, and the sophisticated drink list at DG Martini on Corso Venezia.

For a delightful lunch or dinner experience, you can indulge in the Michelin-starred delights of Andrea Aprea on Corso Venezia, the Mediterranean flavors of LùBar near the Giardini Intro Montanelli park, the elegant menus of Valentino Vintage on Corso Monforte, and a taste of Lombard tradition at Ristorante 10_11 in the charming Hotel Portrait (where their white pasta has taken the culinary world by storm!). To complete your culinary journey, treat yourself to one of the famous cocktails from Nottingham Forest.

Shopping in this area is just as diverse, offering a wide range of options from artisanal shops to upscale boutiques in the nearby Quadrilatero della Moda. There are also interesting historical venues, like Drogheria Radrizzani, one of those places with a retro atmosphere where you can stock up on high-quality food and wine products.


This central zone in Milan boasts excellent connectivity to the rest of the city. Besides the many bus and tram lines available, including 61 and 94, there is the Milano Porta Venezia railway station for convenient suburban train access. Furthermore, there are three stops along the M1 subway line - San Babila, Palestro, and Porta Venezia.

Additionally, with the recent inauguration of the new M4 metro station at Piazza San Babila, you can now conveniently reach Linate Airport in just 12 minutes.

The real estate market in the area of San Babila, Corso Monforte e Corso Venezia

From a real estate standpoint, the area encompassing San Babila, Corso Monforte, and Corso Venezia is considered a prime location for high-end offices, commercial ventures, and luxury hotels. And with the recent introduction of the M4 subway line, it has further enhanced its appeal to potential investors.

From a residential point of view, this is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious areas to call home in Milan. Here, you can find exclusive housing solutions inside charming period buildings, seamlessly blending modern comforts with the timeless elegance of historical architecture.