There is only one restaurant inside a flower shop in Milan—or maybe the flower shop is inside the restaurant? This much is known about Fioraio Bianchi Caffè: order the fresh pasta with clams (and rocket pesto) for lunch, and then you may buy a bouquet if you like. Probably you will want to, because the flowers are courtesy of the city’s most famous “poet florist,” 89-year-old Raimondo Bianchi.
It’s open for lunch and dinner, and all the flowers are for sale. Or go down to the basement workshop to order a custom floral arrangement between the hours of 9 am and 7 pm.
Photography via Fioraio Bianchi Caffè except where noted.
Above: The story of Fioraio Bianchi Caffè begins in 1945, after the war, when 19-year-old Raimondo Bianchi became an apprentice florist in Milan to help his family make ends meet. A decade later, he opened his own flower-and-coffee shop at Via Montebello 7. As the Brera neighborhood became tonier, rents rose and by 2004, after nearly 60 years in the business, a change was necessary.
Above: By 2005, the coffee shop had evolved into a restaurant under the guidance of owner Massimo Villardita, and the atmosphere remains “a very special place where the flowers will still surprise with their scents, their forms, their shades,” Bianchi said.
Above: Bianchi’s arrangements are evidence, as the writer Gloria Wells has said, that he “is by nature contemplative, and not by chance has over the decades earned the title of ‘florist poet’.”
Above: Photograph via Trip Advisor.
Billed as a bistro, the restaurant serves a full lunch and dinner menu. French music plays in the background.
Above: Photograph via Daniel Farò.
(You also can order a cup of coffee at the counter in the morning.)
Above: Says Bianchi: “A flower is a tribute. The antithesis of consumerism is ephemeral, but can take away the sadness.”
Above: Photograph via The Asmonti Chronicles.
The floral arrangements change with the seasons; Bianchi sources flowers from local farms.
Above: Orchids are for sale (L) or go downstairs (R) to place a custom order.
Above: Photograph via Graffidigusto.
In the basement is Bianchi’s workshop.
Above: Photograph via Slowtown.
“I have always worked from morning to night with the rhythm of a clock because I think that being able to build something with consistency is important,” says florist Raimondo Bianchi.
Traveling to Milan? See more of our favorite spots:
- Antonino Sciortino: A Modern Blacksmith in Milan.
- World’s Biggest Vertical Garden: One More Reason to Visit Italy.
- Raw in Milan, a Cabinet of Curiosities.
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