After leaving overcast Berlin it was a relief to touch down under the clear, blue skies of Milan. Italy was where hubs and I were to spend the bulk of our trip and I have so many things to share with you all! Once we had checked in to our hotel, we were right back out the door to visit one of the most anticipated stops of our whole trip. The very first thing we did was hop on the underground to go to Fondazione Prada and get a drink at Bar Luce, a bar designed by my hero, director Wes Anderson. If you’re not already a fan, the films to watch are Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore just to start you off. Anderson’s aesthetic is wonderfully quirky and beautiful. I was super excited to be in a place designed by him and feel like a character in one of his films.
Bar Luce is situated inside the Fondazione Prada which is an architectural museum that is most recognisable for its mix of styles and the huge gold tower in the centre of the compound. Only the Italians can pull of a gold facade and white neon on the same building! It’s quite accessible and if you’re staying near any of the quite extensive Milanese underground stops, Fondazione is only a short walk from the Lodi TIBB station. Living in Sydney where public transport is at least a few decades behind the rest of the world, I found the underground fairly easy to navigate and the most affordable way of travelling throughout the city.
Bar Luce is just so typically Wes, I was in heaven. It was designed to reflect elements of his film sets but also feel like a lovely place to write a screenplay in. While it doesn’t quite have the symmetry that his films are known for, the atmosphere is spot on. The pastels offset the glossy bottles of liquor and glass cabinets of glistening smallgoods.
The uniforms of the wait staff have the feel of an old hollywood movie and the waiters are friendly and accommodating with menus in Italian and English available.
The waiter was quick to bring out the traditional aperitivo of olives and salted macadamias for us to nibble on while we waited for our drinks. I feel like it is a huge oversight that there is nowhere that sells this china. I would have come home with a whole damn set. How cute are these dishes?!
Every drink seemed to come with a cherry on top which I definitely didn’t complain about. They didn’t hold back with the alcohol either! These were super refreshing, perfect for the hot Milanese afternoon.
And then there were the sandwiches. Oh. My. God.
This was ham, artichokes and fior de latte with a black olive tapenade. The bread was toasted and crispy and the cheese was fresh and gooey. I could eat these sandwiches every day for the rest of my life.
And then, in true Italian style, our table was promptly cleared and replenished with a new array of olives, nuts and tiny pastries. Seriously, does anyone do hospitality like the Italians?
Did you think that after all that I would be full?
You were right.
Did that stop me ordering dessert?
I had to practise my Italian and order the jam filled donut and two scoops of gelato which was so damn fresh and creamy. And yes, I learnt the Italian for a range of desserts before I learnt anything else.
Not only is the overall character of the place true to the style of Wes, the details are characteristically kooky and meaningful. Nestled by the entrance is a (pink!) juke box and two themed pinball machines. The Steve Zissou machine was my favourite but I would give anything to have that gorgeous juke box in my house forever.
So we began our time in Milan in style and with this fun and delicious homage to one of my all time favourite directors. If you are visiting Milan, Bar Luce is a must.