La Libera (MI)

by Stefano Colombo
La Libera (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

Born in Milan as a gastro-pub in the 1980s, La Libera is the elegant "parlor" of Italo Manca and Gino Narducci, a point of reference for three generations of Milanese people in the heart of Brera.

Located in the historic premises of what was a wine bar in the early 1900s, the story of La Libera began in 1980 when Italo and Gino decided to open an eatery together.

The love, in particular of Italo, for English gastro-pubs, jazz music and good drinking met a business opportunity. We were, in fact, in the years in which beers from beyond the Alps became fashionable and, thus, it was precisely in the historic counter of La Libera that Civitelli, the first importer of French and Belgian labels in Milan, implanted its first tap.

La Libera (MI) — Lombardia Secrets
La Libera (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

We always prepare as if every evening we organize a dinner at home. We like customers to feel at home, but with a professional in the kitchen.

(Italo and Gino)

Over the years, the cuisine played an increasingly important role in the restaurant and La Libera assumed that charm between a typical Milanese trattoria and a music club that still distinguishes it today.

Its interiors are characterized by an original green boiserie, large shelves with beers and mugs from all over the world and the many photos that tell the passions of Italo, the dandy soul of the restaurant.

La Libera (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

His was truly a cinematic life: globetrotter, he began a career as a bartender at a very young age living among Monte Carlo, the Caribbean islands, London, New York. Bon viveur, boxer, lover of good drinking, Cuban cigars and tailored clothes, in the 70s he returned to Milan and began to manage the Oreste bar, until he decided to set up his own business, first with La Latteria and then with La Libera. Italo opened many eateries in Milan – Il Banco, Kismet, Le Stanze, Il Caffè Nazionale, il Timè – but it is La Libera who in the end has chosen as “home”.

What you breathe here today is, in fact, a great sense of family as Italo always points out, loving to tell in his interviews that he has a loyal clientele ranging from “grandparents to grandchildren”. From the world of politics to that of entertainment, the many regulars have been captured by his philosophy of making people feel good and offering a solid cuisine devoted to conviviality.

La Libera (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

The dishes are typical of the Lombard tradition such as risotto al salto, Milanese cutlet, veal cheek with Marsala wine and Parmesan risotto to combine with good wines that Gino loves to look for throughout Italy.

Open only in the evening, La Libera is still an authentic corner of Milan where Italo and Gino will welcome you behind the counter with the smile of those who love to make their guests feel good between a chat and a good glass of red.

The Secret

Italo and Gino have kept the place’s turn-of-the-century details intact, such as the counter of the old osteria which has been transformed into the beautiful wood paneling of the bar at the entrance to the restaurant.

Useful Info

La Libera
Via Palermo 21
20121 Milano
Tel. +39 02 8053603

First courses: 12 — 14 euro
Second courses: 22 — 28 euro

Discover the Secret Places closest to you