Tortona or Solari (both names are used) is one of the up-and-coming areas of Milan. It hit the headlines a few years ago when it became the unofficial location for Milan’s famous design fair, whose official location is the new trade fair area of Rho on the other side of town. Design companies discovered the lower-priced and large warehouses spaces here and did a great PR-job on giving a new buzz to this one-time industrial area. Zegna has opened huge modern showrooms and Armani offices are here too. April (fair time) is now very crowded in this normally quiet part of the city, to the northwest of Navigli. There is a choice of tall modern apartment blocks and mid-20th century low-rise buildings. There are plenty of small shops and the usual supermarkets, numerous restaurants, a pleasant park and even an independent cinema showing experimental films (Cinema Mexico, Via Savona).
The huge ex-Ansaldo industrial complex between Via Savona and Via Tortona (where La Scala has rehearsal space) is being redeveloped as a cultural centre (designed by British Architect David Chipperfield), on Via Tortona there is a large, lively art exhibition space, and close by are international accountants Deloitte. The main disadvantage of this otherwise pleasant area is that there are few public transport links to downtown so a car is essential. Luckily parking here is easier than in many other parts of the city.