Milan is getting ready to host one of the coolest events of the year, Design Week, the biggest international design fair that will take place between 17 and 22 April.


Milan Design Week is just around the corner and the city is ready to welcome thousands of visitors to the biggest and most popular design event in the world. For seven days Milan will become the mecca of designers, architects, and creatives, with a packed schedule of parties, exclusive presentations, secret pop-ups and beautiful palaces opening their doors to the public.

Let’s sort out the basics

The heart of the Design Week is Il Salone del Mobile, the international design fair where over 2,000 exhibitors will showcase their products and solutions for contemporary living. Taking place at Rho Fiera, the fair is open to members of the trade only during weekdays, while the general public is admitted over the weekend. Make sure to buy your tickets in advance on the Salone del Mobile website to avoid wasting time in long queues (it costs 35 euros or 39.50 including a return ticket for public transportation). 

Comfort is key for this event, so leave your fancy shoes at home and wear trainers, as you’ll be walking a lot. And leave all those colorful brochures and flyers and take photos instead, your back will thank you. Also, because of the great number of exhibitions and parties happening all over town, it’s simply impossible to see everything, so forget your FOMO (aka, fear of missing out) and write down a list of your must-sees instead.

Finding a taxi during Design Week is a real challenge, so you’ll better use the metro. However, make sure to buy tickets in advance using the ATM app in order to avoid queues at the ticket machines. 


Fuorisalone is the name given to a series of collateral events taking place in different areas of Milan on the same days of Il Salone del Mobile fair. Many brands take this opportunity to present their new collections and host special events, while prominent designers and young talents exhibit their creations in all sorts of places, from cloisters to reconverted factories and elegant lofts. The really cool thing is that, unlike Fashion Week where most events happen behind closed doors, Fuorisalone is open to everyone.

The events of the Design Week will be focused around 7 key districts: BreraTortona, 5VIE , VenturaCentrale, Porta Venezia, Lambrate and Isola

Here’s a list of initiatives not to miss at Fuorisalone:

  • Design Pride, perhaps the craziest show of the Fuorisalone with a colorful parade that will invade the 5VIE district (18 April, starting at Piazza Castello at 6 pm)

  • LEGO store will be turned into a living room by the only Italian LEGO Certified Professional Riccardo Zangelmi, who will use 30,000 LEGO bricks to create paintings, couches, and tables (Piazza San Babila)

  • Hidden Garden, a 140-sqm enchanting green space with hundreds of trees and plants among the skyscrapers of Gae Aulenti square (Piazza Gae Aulenti, from 10 am to 10 pm)

  • Living Nature, an installation containing four natural, climactic microcosms that will enable all four seasons to unfold at the same time (Piazza del Duomo)

  • Tram Corallo, a screening room on rails recreated inside a historic tram from 1928 that will run through the streets of the Brera District (get your tickets here)

  • Vanity Fair Green House, an oasis of relax organized by the magazine with beauty treatments, cocktails, talks and f course lots of design (Milano Studio, via Tortona 35)

  • MI-ORTO, a vegetable garden that will appear right in front of the Eataly store, with workshops, events, and conferences (Piazza XXV Aprile)

  • Material Immaterial Exhibition by the magazine Interni at the Orto Botanico in Brera, with a series of installations focusing on socializing, art and wellness

  • Souvenir Milano @ Brera Design Apartment, a special collection of souvenirs dedicated to Milan created by 12 international designers (via Palermo 1, from 12 pm to 7:30 pm, free entry)

Check out the Fuorisalone website for the full list of events. 

Where to stay

Find lodging during big trade shows like this one can be really tricky. Rooms fill up quickly and those that are still available usually cost a fortune. Your best bet is to rent a room or an apartment with Airbnb, where there seem to be some apartments still available for next week at about 100 euros per night.

Alternatively, you could consider staying in one of the towns just outside of Milan, such as Pavia, a pretty university town very well connected to Milan both by train (30 minutes, timetable here) and bus (40 minutes, timetable here).

Need to fuel up?

Running from one event to the other can be exhausting, so bring with you some snacks and water. You’ll likely find some drinks and finger food in most venues, especially from late afternoon, like at Design Cheers, the free wine tasting event at Appartamento Lago di Brera (via Brera 30, every day from 6:30 pm to 8 pm).

A great place to check out during the design week is the Eat Urban Food Truck Festival in Sant’Ambrogio, featuring some of the best food operators around (via San Vittore 49, Tue-Sun, from 10 am to 11 pm).

Alternatively, here are some places I can recommend:

Bar Luce – Fondazione Prada
Cute bar with interiors fashioned by film director Wes Anderson   
Largo Isarco 2 (metro station: Lodi)

Osteria con Vista
Delicious food and great cocktails with some of the best views of Milan skyline  
Viale Alemagna Emilio 6 (metro station: Cairoli)

Authentic local food in a 60’s atmosphere, just minutes from the Dome
Via Camperio 6 (metro station: Cairoli or Cordusio)

Carlo e Camilla
Drinks and dinner in a former sawmill 
Via Giuseppe Meda 24  (metro station: Romolo)

Pizzeria Da Zero
One of the best pizza in town  
Via Berardino Luini 9 (Cairoli or S. Ambrogio)    

Cascina Cuccagna
A farmstead in the heart of Milan   
Via Cuccagna 2 (metro station: Lodi)  

Fioraio Bianchi Caffè
A chic little restaurant in a flower shop    
Via Montebello 7 (metro station: Turati)

While you’re in town…

Here are a couple of places to check out when you need a break from all this design:

Frida Kahlo exhibition at Mudec     
This is one of the hottest cultural tickets in town at the moment.    
Via Tortona 56 (metro station: P.ta Genova)     

Highline Galleria Milano      
Take a walk on the rooftops of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and enjoy some pretty amazing views.
Via Silvio Pellico 2 (metro station: Duomo)      

The Last Supper       
There will be late-night openings to admire Leonardo’s masterpiece during Design Week (7 pm-10 pm).    
Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie (metro station: Conciliazione)


Milan Design Week runs from 17 to 22 April. Check out the event website for further details.


Until next time

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Maggie 12 April 2018 at 04:18

This sounds like a really cool event! I’ve never been to Milan but it’s super high on my list of places to visit, mostly because my daughter’s name is Milana. Of all the places you listed, the LEGO store sounds like something I would love to see the most!

    admin 12 April 2018 at 16:12

    Me too, I can’t wait to see it, must be really cool 😀

Rhiannon 12 April 2018 at 16:48

I haven’t visited Milan during Design Week but for the past few years have had few clients participating there who send me their press releases to translate into English ahead of time, so often read about what’s going to be there. I’ll admit, I’m with Maggie in that the LEGO store is definitely the most appealing to me!!! They did something similar here in Wales not long ago – not for a design show or anything, it was just a pop-up Lego interior store.

    admin 15 April 2018 at 16:59

    I must confess that the Lego store is number one on my – long – list of things to see next week 😀

Ada 12 April 2018 at 21:21

Ive never heard about Milan Design Week but its seems like a lot of fun! I would love to visit it during the event and see those hidden garden especially! I haven’t visit Milan yet as well so it would be a good reason to book a flight 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    admin 15 April 2018 at 16:57

    Thank you Lisa! It’s one of the biggest events of the year, I juts hope the weather will be clement for a few days..

    admin 15 April 2018 at 16:58

    Hi Ada, yep, it surely is a great time to visit the city 😉

Lisa 12 April 2018 at 21:27

This sounds like an excellent festival and with plenty to see. I like the sound of the hidden garden, and the vegetable patch outside Eatltaly. I can imagine this design week will be so busy, and I’m only sad I won’t be there to see it.

    admin 15 April 2018 at 16:55

    I really look forward to attend the event, I’m sure it’s gonna be lots of fun!

Marcie 13 April 2018 at 00:29

Oh what an interesting post! At first I thought you were talking about Fashion Week and I wondered why you’d suggest trainers. Then, I realized it was a DESIGN Week. I hadn’t heard of it before but now I want to check it out. That LEGO exhibit sounds amazing and right up my kids’ alley!

    admin 15 April 2018 at 16:54

    Ahaha, I don’t know why but many people thought I was talking about fashion week! This is by far a more exciting event with lost of things free to attend for everyone… it’s gonna be fun 🙂

Denny George 13 April 2018 at 08:46

I’ve been to Milan and loved visiting the historic sites like the Doumo and the Sforza Castle. The design week sounds like an incredible event. Your tips and suggestions would be immensley useful to anyone who visits.

    admin 15 April 2018 at 16:52

    Thank you Denny!

Abhinav Singh 13 April 2018 at 14:35

Whoa! That is a grand event! I am sure all roads will lead to Milan between 17th to 22nd April. You shared some really useful tips here. It makes sense o wear trainers. The 39.50 Euro return ticket is a better choice. Of all the initiatives, Hidden garden and Living nature appeals the most to me.

    admin 15 April 2018 at 16:52

    Yay, I can’t wait to explore the hidden garden!

Tiffany 13 April 2018 at 18:02

This looks so amazing! Thank you so much for these tips!

    admin 15 April 2018 at 16:51

    Thanks so much Tiffany!

kailun 13 April 2018 at 21:17

I’ve always thought of going ever since I learnt about it. I’ll definitely be checking back here when and if I ever do make plans to go. Thanks for the comprehensive guide.

    admin 15 April 2018 at 16:51

    Me too and finally this year I will go and see it for myself 😀

Nathan 14 April 2018 at 16:01

I have not been to Milan before but would certainly love to visit as it is very high up on my bucket list. What better time to visit than to explore it together with this amazing event of Milan Design Week! I’d love to explore this design extravaganza including that LEGO event.

    admin 15 April 2018 at 16:49

    I will go on exploration and will let you guys know 😉

Arnav Mathur 14 April 2018 at 21:13

Milan Design Week is quite an interesting event to go, when you either you/or your buddy is interested. The tips are quite helpful. The LEGO store is something that looks quite interesting to visit.

    admin 15 April 2018 at 16:49

    Yes, I can’t wait to see it!

Yukti 16 April 2018 at 18:58

Milan design week looks interesting place with options for all ages. Kids would love to visit Lego and play with thousand of colorful blocks. I would love to see Hidden garden and take beautiful pictures of natural trees. Vanity Fair must be appealing to all ladies and girls. Very useful tips on where to stay and what to do during this design week.

Allison 17 April 2018 at 06:07

I never knew how many events happen around the city. This sounds like an awesome week to be in town. Very informative post with dozens of events and things to do around Milan.

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Ciao! I'm Val, an Italian blogger with a huge passion for my country, its culture and traditions. My Italian Diaries is the online space where I share itineraries, activities and off-the-beaten path places to help you experience the best of Italy like a local!


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