Design Unusual

Bistrot Bertarelli 1894 (MI)

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
Bistrot Bertarelli 1894 (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

In Milan, a bistro inspired by the theme of travel, hosted inside the Radisson Collection Hotel Palazzo Touring Club, which will make your imagination fly between the nineteenth-century atmospheres of the Royal Geographical Society and those of great exploration journeys.

The 19th century signs the debut of the first associations linked to the promotion of new explorations and the practice of travel, understood as the discovery and valorization of the artistic and cultural heritage of the various territories, in an era in which tourism as we know it today it didn’t exist yet and the suggestions were those of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days.

Just as the legendary Royal Geographical Society was founded in England in 1830, in 1894 the Touring Club Italiano was born in Italy, with the initial aim of promoting, in particular, the development of travel by bicycle which had just been invented.

Bistrot Bertarelli 1894 (MI) — Lombardia Secrets
Bistrot Bertarelli 1894 (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

An entire building dedicated to the theme of travel, unique in the world, born from the synergy between Touring Club Italiano and Radisson Collection Hotel.

It is no coincidence that it was founded by two sportsmen and “explorers”Vittorio Bertarelli, geographer and speleologist, and Federico Johnson, engraver and traveller, who was its first president. In 1915 they managed to give a prestigious “home” to the association with the inauguration of the Palazzo del Touring Club Italiano, a magnificent example of late Art Nouveau located in Corso Italia in Milan.

In 2021, following a long conservative restoration designed by Studio Marco Piva, the Palace reopened with a dual guise and a single soul linked to the theme of travel in all its forms. In fact, the new 5-star Radisson Collection Hotel Palazzo Touring Club debuted inside, coexisting magnificently, among large bookshops and old trunks, with the headquarters of the capital’s Punto Touring, which includes the bookshop and the travel agency, a point of reference for thousands of members.

Bistrot Bertarelli 1894 (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

The restoration has kept intact all the suggestions that refer to the history of the Touring Club, from the hall with the engravings of the names of the founding members to the details that recall travel such as the globes, the leather seats inspired by the elegant ones of nineteenth-century train carriages, and the many vintage posters hanging on the walls.

The hotel offers 89 rooms, a spa area with gym, several meeting rooms, and the Bistrot Bertarelli 1894, located right in the spaces that housed the historic Touring Club bookshop and which takes the name of the founder of the association, among vintage suitcases and high shelves containing books, guides and maps coming from the TCI archive.

Bistrot Bertarelli 1894 (MI) — Lombardia Secrets
Bistrot Bertarelli 1894 (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

If the atmosphere is decidedly cosmopolitan, the menu instead ranges from the great classics of the Lombard tradition, such as the Milanese-style “Acquerello selection” risotto or the Rossini-style fillet, up to fresh homemade pasta such as game ravioli with restricted meat or wholemeal maltagliati with basil pesto, green beans and potatoes.

Unique in Milan and Italy, the Bertarelli Bistrot offers the experience of 5-star cuisine and service immersed in the charm of a “travel library” that will take you with your imagination to the Reform Club in London and to Phileas Fogg’s bets or the urge to book your next trip!

Bistrot Bertarelli 1894 (MI) — Lombardia Secrets
Bistrot Bertarelli 1894 (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

The Secret

The Radisson Collection Hotel Palazzo Touring Club also houses a small private cinema, also with a “travel” theme, connected to the Veloce cocktail bar. Inspired by the ”Veloce Club”, one of the first Italian cycling associations founded in 1870, it hosts themed evenings, film screenings, such as the famous Movie Nights, and private events (just follow the structure’s social networks for upcoming events).

Useful Info

Bistrot Bertarelli 1894
Radisson Collection Palazzo Touring Club
Corso Italia 10
20122 Milano
Tel. +39 02 1241 28310

Starters: 18 — 24 euro
First courses: 16 — 22 euro
Second courses: 34 — 45 euro
Lunch menu: 28 euro, 2 courses with water and coffee included

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