Every big metropolitan needs an oasis, a watering hole where its inhabitants can escape the busy city center and the beaten tourist tracks. Mercato Metropolitano is exactly that.
Located at the far end of Navigli, just after the commonly visited bar hopping streets of the same neighborhood, and next to Porta Genova, this 15000 square meter market offers a place to relax and spend time amongst young milanese. Mercato Metropolitano is a part of Expoincittà, an initiative from the Comune di Milano intended to connect the EXPO exhibition zone in the outskirts of the town to Milan’s city center. And have they succeeded? Yes, definitely!
As you enter Mercato Metropolitano, you immediately get a full view of the area. The market consists of two parts, a covered one housed in the old Porta Genova warehouse and an uncovered part where local producers of fruit and vegetables co-exist with street food vendors and small independent store owners.
Inside the warehouse, small stands where you can buy everything from piadine to fresh oysters and artisan beer are lined up next to each other and finally end at a small shop where you can find high-quality articles hard to find in your everyday supermarket. If you have never tried trippa, the Florentine specialty made of the fourth stomach of a cow, you can go for it at La Trippa del Mercato. Or, if you’re longing for a nice cup of coffee, the staff of the popular restaurant Taglio is brewing black gold to perfection in another stand. You can also buy bread fresh out of the oven at the stand of Forno di Molino Quaglia – the fresher the bread the higher the price, of course. And if you need to cool down in the hot summer weather, grab a gelato at Gelateria di Vanilla stand (found just outside the warehouse.)
Since June, the far end of Mercato Metropolitano has been occupied by Arianteo, an open-air cinema organized by Anteo di Milano. The outdoor movie theater has 500 seats and screens different movies every evening throughout the summer months, ranging from the newest releases to recorded live concerts. Top tip: bring mosquito spray to be able to fully enjoy your movie night.
On your way to the movie theater you’ll pass through the street food area where we highly recommended you make a stop. Or two. If you have yet to try the “okonomiyaki” (a cabbage omelet delicious in all its simplicity) from the Japanese food shop Maidò on Via Savona you have the opportunity to visit their food stand at the Mercato. You will also find That’s food, the cutest little red food truck serving up tartar and cocktails to a hungry crowd. And if you think Naples is too far, but you’re desperately craving some lovely sfogliatelle, the blue food truck Mignon is your savior.
Every week throughout the opening months of Mercato Metropolitano there are a range of events, from cooking classes to concerts and lectures. The cooking classes cover various topics, from being focused on cooking classes for singles to learning everything there is to know about sugar. You will also have the possibility to learn how to set up a vegetable garden, just in case you’ve always longed to grow your own food but are lacking a green thumb. The best way to keep yourself up-to-date on future events is to follow Mercato Metropolitano on Facebook.
Mercato Metropolitano is not one of the high-end locations that caters to the rich and the famous crowd Milan is often associated with. Mercato Metropolitano is for everyone: for the families that come on Saturday mornings so that the children can learn how to cultivate tomatoes; for the big groups of friends that want a place to eat an easy and delicious dinner without the high price tag; for the couples in search of a new experience for their next romantic date night.
Entrance is free and I suggest going now before it’s too late – Mercato Metropolitano will come to a close in October with the end of EXPO.
When to go?
From now until the end of October during the following opening hours:
Monday – Thursday 11:00-24:00
How to get there?
Mercato Metropolitano is located in via Valenza 2 (the former address of Mercato di Senigallia). Closest Metro Stop is Porta Genova FS (MM2 – green line). If you go by BikeMi (bike sharing) the closest bike stall is number 158 Naviglio G. Valenza.
While you’re in the neighborhood
If you’ve made your way from the city center to Mercato Metropolitano you have already covered half the walk to Gelateria della Musica on Via Giovanni Enrico Pestalozzi 4. They use the freshest of milk and only seasonal fruits. In addition, the price is economical and the portions are more than sufficient. Some say it’s the best gelato in town, why don’t you taste for yourself?
On the other end of the Mercato you’ll find the Darsena, the newly restyled and updated outer space connecting Navigli to Piazza XXIV Maggio and further on the Colonne di San Lorenzo neighborhood. Darsena is the place to enjoy a Sunday stroll along the new canal, or better yet on it –rent jet skis, paddle boats or even water bikes to get the full experience.