Stumbling into Milan Nightlife: Open-Air Party

We experienced Milan nightlife without one fancy club or trendy bar. In the design and fashion capital of the world, we somehow stumbled into the thick of a lively open-air party flanked in front of a historic church.

Milan Nightlife Unexpected

That Saturday night I had a flashback of walking into a super crowded, outdoor rock festival at college.  Except we weren’t standing on a rolling green campus lawn. We were in the city center of Milan, black asphalt below our feet.

In lieu of a stage, there was a peaceful and brightly lit fourth century San Lorenzo Maggiore church. A sizable crowd of a thousand Milanese swarmed under its glow. However, the gathering had nothing to do with church service.  We learned quickly, it was exactly where Milanese meet to simply hang out.

Welcome to the Street Party

My sister and I tucked ourselves in the middle of the action in awe of the street party. The crowd kept growing. Milanese rode in on bikes, whizzing past us to find a parking space. Groups of friends hollered with laughter, walking forward as they wiggled through the crowd to find the right space to settle in.

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Some were dressed up while others were dressed down. Some had beers in hand while others had plastic cup cocktails in hand. Eyes danced here and there.

The sounds of the parties – within the party – easily followed me. The quavering voices of two people singing to keep in sync with each other, joyful cheers for a friend dancing in the center of her crowd, the clanking of beer bottles for a toast, the quick singsongy and delightful excitement wavering in a woman’s voice as she told a story in her native Italian to heavy bass from a booming radio blasting an Italian pop song. Then came the live squeaks from trumpet players: an impromptu performance from a live brass band.

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But it was mostly just circles, circles of conversation. Circles that filled the corners and spaces of the grounds as the tall and majestic Corinthian columns continued to shine under the public night lights of the city. Those circles created a din of their own.

Where the Sounds End

The open air party spilled out into the roads leading to the church called Corso Porta Ticinese and Via de Amicis. Both streets were lined with a good share of popular bars and restaurants which were also packed.

We hung out for a while just taking in the happy energy on that warm late Spring weekend night. Observing and listening. Snapping our own photos. After a while, we decided to head back, the next day we’d fly away from Milan. As I continued on, a good four or five blocks away, I could still hear the jovial hum, the mix of voices and music entrenching Milan’s open-air nightlife that night and even a bit of sound from those dozens of closed circles spread across the church lawn. It all easily followed me.

Have you ever experienced Milan nightlife?


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