I have always been a total movie-nerd. When we were young, my sisters and I would watch our favourite movies over and over again, to the point where we knew the dialogue by heart and would act out the scenes in our living room. To this day, our conversations are littered with obscure movie quotes from “classics” like Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (“You don’t wanna get mixed up with a guy like me. I’m a loner, Dotty, a rebel“) to Dumb and Dumber (“What is the soup du jour?“, “It’s the soup of the day.”, “Mmmm, that’s sounds good. I’ll have that.“)
Before you judge too harshly, I am pleased to say that my taste in cinema has improved since then. Also, I no longer act out the scenes in my living room (unless my sisters and wine are in any way involved).
Through my love of film, I discovered Wes Anderson with his early movie, Rushmore, and I’ve been hooked on everything there is about his wonderfully quirky and colourful work ever since. The poignant stories, complex characters, dialogue that fizzes and pops its way along (“I love you two, but I’m gonna mace you in the face!“), but most of all his meticulously designed and beautiful sets – I love them all. So when I heard that Wes Anderson designed the interior of the bar at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, Bar Luce, I knew I’d be there with bells on, the biggest, bell-laden movie-nerd in all the land.
Despite some set-backs (including two broken wrists), I eventually made it to Milan, and made a beeline to Bar Luce. I instantly fell in love with its quirky charm. Bar Luce has a 50s and 60s aesthetic with a typical Milanese feel to it. The chairs and tables are all formica in delicious gelato-hues of green and pink. The flooring can only be described as “terazzo-tastic!” The bar staff are all beautiful, impeccably dressed and could well be straight off a day’s filming on a Wes Anderson movie set.
There’s a delightful little juke box, and a Steve Zissou-themed pin ball machine lining one wall. An old-school ice cream freezer sits at the other end. Overall, it re-creates the kind of aesthetic of Anderson’s short film, Castello Cavalcanti.
We came here for an aperitivo in the evening (aperol spritz of course) to soak in the cosy, low-lit and very Italian atmosphere. True to my inner movie-nerd, I came back the next day to enjoy a coffee and pastry (both delicious) in the morning-sun drenched window overlooking the blinged-up golden fabulousness of the adjoining Fondazione Prada. I was as happy as a little piggy.
On your next visit to Milan, do yourself a favour and pop in to Bar Luce to experience the closest thing you can get to being on-set in a Wes Anderson film. You can also get all cultural and see what’s exhibiting at the Fondazione Prada while you’re there (but if you’ve read any of my other travel guides before, you’ll know I’m never one to let culture get in the way of me, a decent coffee/cocktail and a few hours people-watching).