Our Best Thing to Do #6 in Milan is a visit to a surprising citadel of contemporary art and beauty: the amazing Fondazione Prada.

A visit to a citadel of art
The golden tower

Miuccia Prada is not just the CEO and head designer of Prada fashion house, she is also an avid collector of contemporary art. In her own words: “fashion is my job and I do it with passion but it is also the financial mean that allows me to dedicate time and energy to what is the most important to me: Art.” So in 1993 Mrs Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, established Fondazione Prada, an institution dedicated to contemporary art, which organised – during the following years – a number of art exhibitions and shows. Then, a few years later, a new permanent facility was opened in Milan.

A visit to a citadel of art
Bar Luce by Wes Anderson

Fondazione Prada is the redevelompment of a factory complex dating from the 1910s. Formerly a distillery, it is in the form of a courtyard including warehouses, laboratories and brewing silos. Architecture firm OMA, led by Rem Koolhaas, transformed the compound dramatically, combining preexisting buildings with new structures. For instance, the distillation tower was clad entirely in gold leaf (4 kg of it, costing roughly around 100.000 euro), to contrast with the dull tones of the other buildings. A corner of Fondazione houses Bar Luce, a bar decorated by eccentric director Wes Anderson, who has recreated the typical mood of old Milan cafés. Torre, a recent addition to the facility, is a 60-meters high building in white concrete whose nine floors allow a disorienting experience to visitors: the height of the ceilings increases from bottom to top, varying from 2,7 meters on the first floor to 8 meters on the top level.


Fondazione Prada offers a wide range of activities, from temporary exhibitions to site-specific installations to a selection of artworks from the private collection of Mrs Prada. Therefore time will fly as you stroll around the compound, sip a cup of coffee at Bar Luce or enjoy a lavish lunch at the recently opened Restaurant Torre, located on the sixth floor of Torre. Just a few weeks ago, a new, mind-blowing exhibition opened: “Le Studio d’Orphée” (Orpheus’ studio), which is the faithful recreation of movie director Jean-Luc Godard’s studio-house in Rolle, Switzerland. Nothing is missing, including all the technical material used in his latest films’ shooting from 2010, as well as furniture, books, paintings and other personal items.

If you think you would feel lost in such a rich, multifaceted citadel of contemporary art, we are here to help! Write to us and we will be happy to accompany you in the visit of Fondazione Prada.

A visit to a citadel of art
Madama Hostel and Bistrot

After such a demanding experience, you definitely deserve a drink and a chat with some friendly strangers at the near-by Madama Hostel and Bistrot. There is always something interesting going on, at Madama Hostel: acoustic concerts, DJ sets, karaoke, book presentations, all sorts of cultural events. Guests come from all over the world, English is the language spoken here. And as they say at Madama Hostel, you will find here “your home away from home”.