Milan has always been a city of art. It is so full of museums, art works and monuments, that even its residents may not have discovered everything yet. It is also hard to keep up with all the temporary exhibitions, and the permanent ones are truly huge. You really are, in short, spoilt for choise. But if you want to discover the art side of Milan, you must start with the 5 most important museums.

Pinacoteca di Brera

In Brera there is one of the most important pictorial collections in Italy. In the heart of this historical district, where is also located the famous Art Accademy, are guarded all the treasures acquired or recovered by the Institution during the centuries. The exhibition allows visitors to admire masterpieces from 13th to 20th century. I am sure we all saw most of them on our school books. Giants like Bellini, Mantegna, Piero della Francesca or Rubens are just a few of the great names of this gallery. Take your time to enjoy unique pieces like Sposalizio della Vergine by Raffaello, Cena in Emmaus by Caravaggio and Cristo alla colonna by Bramante. And in the last room the Bacio by Hayez will take your breath away.

Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milano MI

Sforza Castle' Museums

The ancient Sforza Castle is the other simble of the city itself, together with Duomo. It actually contains several museums inside its numerous rooms. There is the egyptian one, the prehistoric one, the armor museum and the one of the ancient musical instruments. But the Ancient Art Museum at the groundfloor deserves a visit. It tells about the history of the city through statues, monumental graves and gothic architecture from Middle Ages to Renaissance. Along the path there is the fabulous Sala delle Asse, with the frescoed ceiling by Leonardo, who lived in the castle. On the first floor there is the picture gallery, with art works by Leonardo’s school and artists like Canaletto and Correggio. Don’t forget to visit the most important piece of the museum: the Rondanini Pietà by Michelangelo, included in the same ticket, but in another area of the castle.

Piazza Castello, 20121 Milano MI

Museo del Novecento

On the south side of Piazza Duomo, the Arengario Palace houses the Museo del Novecento (‘900 museum). A permanent exhibition entirely focused on 20th century masterpieces. The museum was opened just ten years ago, but it already is one of the most important in its category. Thanks to artworks by Kandinskij, De Chirico, Matisse, Picasso, Fontana and Modigliani. Among the most famous pieces are the provocative Merda d’artista by Piero Manzoni and the futuristic sculpture Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio by Umberto Boccioni (the one impressed on the italian 20 cents). But the most famous masterpiece is for sure the Quarto Stato, the iconic painting by Pellizza da Volpedo.

Piazza del Duomo, 8, 20123 Milano MI

Pinacoteca Ambrosiana

There are few museums as beautiful as the artworks they contain. The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana is one of them, because the exhibition is in the Ambrosiana’s Palace, an historical building from ‘600, where there is also a famous library. It is worth visiting even for the internal architecture and decorations too. The magical atmosphere of the place is enriched by great names of italian art, just like Giorgione, Tiziano and Botticelli. But the most impressive masterpieces undoubtedly are the original preparatory cartoon for the Scuola di Atene by Raffaello, a copy of Atlantic Code of Da Vinci and the Canestra di frutta by Caravaggio. A very little painting, but with an enormous fame. Yes, it is the one with the worm-holed apple!   

Piazza Pio XI, 2, 20123 Milano MI

Modern Art Gallery

Talking about 19th century art, GAM (Modern Art Gallery) is the most important museum in Lombardy. It is located in a special place: Villa Reale, a real masterpiece of neoclassicism in Milan, in via Palestro, in front of Indro Montanelli Park. There are important pictures by Manet, Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin. And even here you can find again Boccioni, Picasso and Hayez. In addition to the paintings there are several sculptures which tells about lesser-known artists, as well as about celebrities like Antonio Canova.

Via Palestro, 16, 20121 Milano MI

"But Milan is a great Milan"

Alfredo Bracchi

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