What’s the best thing about working in advertising in Milan? 

DJ: We work very hard but we also know how to have a good time. Many a production issue can be solved over a proper lunch. Needless to say, we’re not big fans of sandwiches!

And the worst?

DJ: Less budget and tighter timings are one of our main challenges. For sure, the pandemic didn’t make it any better.

What advice would you give to a visitor? 

RSH: Go see the Duomo when the streets are empty. Do not go shopping at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon, it will drive you crazy. It’s 'passeggiata' time. Go have an espresso at one of the many legendary bars or coffee shops, like the Camparino or Pasticceria Marchesi 1824, both in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, in the Duomo area. Take in the vibe and the outfits, and admire the old people, they are the style kings and queens. And, above all, take in the elegance of the entryways of Milanese buildings. They are something different. It’s the hidden Milano. There’s even a book about this. Ingressi di Milano by Taschen.

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Above: Senior Producer Danielle Joujou, and Head of Research & Development, Ragnhild S. Holstad.

If you were booking a hotel in Milan, where would you stay? 

DJ: If you have a really good budget definitely the Armani Hotel or the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. For a more boutique feeling we would suggest Maison Borella, located on the Navigli, Milano’s buzzing canal area.

Where’s the best place to eat in Milan? 

DJ: The best way to get to know a place is through its cuisine. We are not native Italians and, as such, we probably love Italian restaurants even more than Italians themselves, if that’s possible. For one of the best Ossobuco alla Milanese definitely go to Al Matarel, or the Antica Trattoria La Pesa. Another great restaurant is La Brisa. For fish: Langosteria Bistrot, La Granseola or Alice. We could go on... and on. Of course, Milano also has its share of star-chef restaurants: Ristorante Cracco inside Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia, and Seta and Berton. 

RSH: If you feel like something completely different try Iyo for Japanese, or Cittamani in Piazza Mirabello, which is an utterly stylish Indian restaurant. It feels almost like being in a spa, and the food is delicious. 

Above: The Duomo Di Milano, "Milan's pride".

And to have a drink?

RSH: You mean Aperitivo. There is, not surprisingly, more than one place to have a proper drink in Milan. Giacomo Arengario is located next door to the Museo del Novecento and has a fantastic view of the Piazza Duomo. If you want to drink with the locals go to Cantine Isola. It’s a tiny venue with an enormous amount of wine. Another great place is Ugo, close to the Navigli. The list would, of course, not make sense without Bar Basso and their trademark drink Negroni Sbagliato. Try Dry for a more contemporary vibe and Ceresio 7 for a proper rooftop and pool experience.

What do you miss when you are out of the city? 

DJ: The city vibe, the energy of the people, the coming together with friends.

RSH: The noise of the baristas making perfect coffee in zero time in a sort of choreographed movement. Never ceases to amaze me.

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Above [from left]: The Armani hotel; the Hotel Maison Borella; legendary coffee shop the Camparino, and the Galleria VIttorio Emmanuele.

If you need to escape from your home/office, where’s your favourite place to go to reset in Milan? 

DJ: QC Termemilano; it’s a spa in a beautiful ancient site in the Porta Romana area. For a somewhat bigger escape, the Como lake. In only 30 minutes you’re at one of the most beautiful and breath-taking locations you can think of. You can actually get to a great number of places in just one-to-two hours from Milan; the Alps, the lakes, wine and truffle-district le Langhe in Piemonte, the seaside in Liguria. And that’s only mentioning some of it.  

What’s the one place everyone should see before they leave Milan?

RSH: The Duomo. Milan’s pride and a landmark that took nearly six centuries to build. It’s majestic. 

What is the best Italian ad you have seen in the last year? 

DJ: Heineken's Back to the Bars. A film of fun, optimism and good vibes after a full stop of our social lives. 

Heineken – Back To The Bars

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Who do you/would you love to work with in the industry? 

RSH: We are privileged to represent a number of really great international directors who we truly enjoy working with. Through the years we have built strong relationships with each and every one of them, based on trust and mutual respect. They all enjoy coming to Milan to be back with their Italian family.  

If Milan were a product or brand what would it be?

RSH: We could say it’s a tram or a spritz, or a Vespa even, but if we’re being honest it’s probably more like a smartphone. We are workaholics.

What’s your favourite memory of Milan? 

DJ: Aperitivos, lunches, dinners and all the other get-togethers, past, present and future.

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Above: Bar Brasso; Cantine Isola, and the view of Milan from Torre Branca.

What’s Milan’s favourite pastime?

RSH: The aperitivo, no doubt! And then leaving town for the weekend. It’s a very Milanese thing to do, and in summer it’s almost a matter of survival!

One table, four places: You and who? 

DJ: Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey – getting to know the secret of their success.

If you could have one question answered, what would it be?

RSH: Will the era of zoom calls end?