Born in Egypt and raised in one of fashion’s leading cities, Aya is a fashion and beauty creative with a voice to match. Aside from celebrating her culture, she sheds light on racism and Islamophobia.

Aya is carving out her niche and turning modest fashion looks into stunning ones. She can also pull an excellent vintage look, likely borrowed from her parent’s closet. And did we mention her shades collection is to die for? But Aya is not only a fashion girl; she’s also a fantastic travel guide.

From vintage shopping to authentic Italian cuisine, here are Aya Mohamed’s finest recommendations for Milan.


Top must-visit food spots in Milan?

Gelsomina

I consider myself a foodie and I am fond of places with delicious cuisine. I feel like every time I travel somewhere I find my favourite cute little spots that I always come back to. So let’s start with the most important meal of the day: BREAKFAST!

My personal unpopular opinion is that breakfast dates are better than dinner dates and Milan is the best place to find the cutest spots to bring your crush.

Gelsomina is an adorable true Sicilian pastry cafe in the middle of the city with the best sweets to taste with a warm cup of cappuccino.

Miscusi

If you are in Italy you gotta load on carbs, to be honest, and if you are walking from one place to another you need a lot of energy so sit down and eat some pasta at Miscusi.

You can’t really end your first day in Italy without pizza.

Pizzerie Capuano’s

Some other places to keep in mind are La Cantina del Giannone, Da Giacomo, and Trussardi Cafè Bar Luce.

Best places for vintage shopping?

A historical shop in the city where you can find some of the most iconic vintage luxury pieces is definitely Madame Pauline.

A very cute one is LO SPECCHIO DI ALICE

If you are down for the digging then run to Humana Vintage Italia

Must-visit cultural spots?

I think Milan has some wonderful places that take you away from the noise and chaos of the city and make you feel like you are dreaming. Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper is here in Milan? That’s a priority to visit at Museo del Cenacolo.

Of course, the Duomo should be on top of the list. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is a bit of a clichè but you have to. And since you are in that area just walk to Castello Sforzesco which is a huge castle in the middle of the city, surrounded by a beautiful garden.

Best place to stay in?

One thing about Milan is that Airbnbs are very popular and there are some stunning ones. If you are a student on a budget I would also suggest the Base Milano hostels. But if you are here to get the full experience you can’t miss Casa Cipriani and The Yard.

Underrated places?

Can one place be both underrated and overrated? Yes, that’s Navigli. Navigli is this area in Milan where there is a big water canal and it gets very crowded at night because there are a lot of bars and pubs which is not really my cup of tea. But during the day having a little walk with a cup of coffee alongside the water especially on a Sunday morning when they have the flea market, it’s the best!

Museums in Milan are my favourite place so must check out La Pinacoteca di Brera.

People don’t realize how small the city is, you can literally walk anywhere and explore and find the most special things, I believe that’s underrated.

Last but not least: Gelato! Get Gelato anytime you can, anywhere you are!

Must-pack items?

Milan’s weather can be a bit tricky so make sure to have an umbrella and sunglasses because you never know! I am a sunscreen baddie so please never skip that.

You need a disposable camera or two to take photos around the city. Don’t forget some good shoes to walk in.

What should you avoid?

Please avoid the Duomo on the weekend, it’s not just crowded, it’s 10 times worse. Trust the locals for food suggestions so avoid going to random places.
I would avoid some areas that I don’t feel are the safest at night like Central Station, Lambrate, Turro, and San Siro.

Any tips and tricks to tackling Milan Fashion Week?

Make sure to not only have Uber but download itTaxi to get a local taxi in case you are not able to find an Uber. Unfortunately not everywhere in the city they accept card payments so please have some cash on you.

Try to have some time for shopping because it would be a miss to come all the way here and not splurge on clothes.

Rand Al-Hadethi is an art, culture, and fashion writer who approaches all her creative endeavours with a penchant for storytelling. She explores the intersection of fashion, culture, and society and sheds light on talent and cultural movements across the Middle East and the world. Rand also publishes a bi-monthly themed substack newsletter called WebWeaver™. To reach Rand, email her at rand@khamsa5.com or follow her on social media @rundoozz.
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