Many Italian cities wear their architectural heritage like jewellery. Milan isn’t one of them. It reveals its Baroque palazzi, modernist landmarks, hidden courtyards and secret gardens unhurriedly. And often only to a select few. It can take years to discover the city’s real gems, but visitors to Milan design week – also known as the Salone del Mobile, the biggest design fair on the international calendar (14-19 April) – have a head start. Each year, designers flood the city with exhibitions, and the more unknown and unexpected their locations, the better. Abandoned ballrooms, antique brickyards, ex factories – even empty swimming pools – come into their own. And that’s before you’ve even set eyes on the furniture.




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