(Italy) Living La Vida Local in MILAN... where secret drinking dens and scenic bike rides are the key to la bella vita

Welcome to the latest Detox|Retox city guide: hip and helpful tips on where to go to eat, drink, sweat and sway by those in the know (aka locals with the D|R stamp of approval).

This month we are in MILAN with Italian PR, Events Producer, Editor, Content Guru, Globetrotter and longtime friend of D|R, Emanuela ('Manu') Virago.

Manu embodies the D|R philosophy of balance: embracing Bikram sessions and Burning Man, gym time and gin o'clock, and beaches to bars in exotic locations all over the wold.

When she's not travelling for work and/or fun she spends her time organising parties and events in one of the world's most stylish cities and as a result there's not much she doesn't know about glittering Milano. Here's her Detox|Retox down-low...

Manu shows off her Milan tan and 'Burner' tattoo on a sunny run along the Naviglio River

Manu shows off her Milan tan and 'Burner' tattoo on a sunny run along the Naviglio River

MILAN DETOX|

 

1. DISCOVER MILAN BY BIKE

Manu says: "Renting a BikeMe city bike is the best way to start really discovering the place, as most of Milan’s beauty is not visible at first glance. Trust me, Milan by bike is amazing. Like a totally different place: relaxed, green, cute, authentic, and always lively.

"Fuel your ride with fresh juice and healthy snacks at Juice Bar, Acai Frullateria or That's Vapore." 

Manu and friends race to the pub Pic: Emanuela Virago

Manu and friends race to the pub

Pic: Emanuela Virago

2. RUN LIKE A DJ

"Everybody runs in Milan. My favourite route is through Parco Sempione and along the beautiful Naviglio river that takes you outside the city.

"The annual ‘Run Like A Deejay’ run is a huge event in Milan created by Italy's most popular radio station 'Deejay'. This hip, healthy happening brings together more than 50,000 music and fitness fans in a sea of neon."

Milanos running like (orange-loving) DJs in the annual music/fitness event Pic: Emanuela Virago

Milanos running like (orange-loving) DJs in the annual music/fitness event

Pic: Emanuela Virago

 

3. YOGA AT PARCO SEMPIONE

"Another special event is outdoor yoga at Parco Sempione, Milan’s largest green space. Once every six months more than 2,000 people get together to practise in a huge (free!), al fresco masterclass that leaves the city blissed-out for days.

"I also love getting a regular sweat on at Bikram Navigli."

Al fresco yoga at Parco Sempione pic: Manu Virago

Al fresco yoga at Parco Sempione

pic: Manu Virago

MILAN |RETOX

1. hunt down TOKENS...

Manu says: "Tokens are the new must-have in town, being distributed at the best parties and boutique festivals like those run by hip events company Elita. Get the right party planner on your side and it's free drinks all night."

'Collect me' and the drinks are freeeeeeee

'Collect me' and the drinks are freeeeeeee

2. ... and SECRET BARS FOR THE BEST COCKTAILS

"Milan has some of the best bars in the world [D|R can vouch for the fact that Manu has tried a LOT of the bars in the world]. How about a visit to the smallest bar on earth? It’s called Backdoor43, it fits just 4 people and you have to book in advance to get a sitting for one of their legendary bourbon-based cocktails [D|R tip: if you haven't been organised enough to book a spot you can still get take away so long as you comply with the establishments 'rules'].

"Another gem is the 1930 speakeasy in Porta Venezia [closed in August] a hidden bar with an old -fashioned atmosphere and decor dated back to that rather fabulous decade."

Welcome to Backdoor43, the smallest (and spookiest?) bar in the world. Booking advisable

Welcome to Backdoor43, the smallest (and spookiest?) bar in the world. Booking advisable

3.GO ROOFTOP HOPPING

"Roofs are the new clubs in Milan. Whether private or public, a cool terrace is the only way to start a night of celebrations. Some of the best party atmospheres can be found at Terrazza Triennale, Terrazza Aperol, Ceresio 7, Corso Como 10, Terrazza Martini." [D|R tip: skip dinner and line your stomach with the gratis Aperitivo snacks served at almost every bar in the city between 6pm and 9pm each night].

The sun sets at Terrazza Triennale pic: triennale.org

The sun sets at Terrazza Triennale

pic: triennale.org


DETAILS

Emanuela Virago is Editor at lifestyle site LivinCool.com and Content Coordinator at fashion magazine RedMilk

Follow her adventures on Instgram @evirago