For your visit to Milan

This is a list of the museums in Milan that offer some of the artistic and cultural highlights of the city. Opening days and times may vary.

AEM Territory and Energy Museum
Ambrosiana Art Gallery
Archaeological Museum
Art Collection Museum
Aquarium and Municipal Hydro-Biological Station
Brera National Art Gallery
Castle/Museum of Ancient Art
Castle/Museum of Decorative Arts
Castle/Museum of Musical Instruments
Castle/Egyptian Museum
Castle/Museum of Prehistory and Protohistory
Cathedral Museum
Civico Museum
Clerici Villa
Contemporary Sacred Art Gallery
Crypt of San Giovanni in Conca
Studio Museum Francesco Messina
Home – museums
Home for retired musicians
House Museum Boschi Di Stefano
La Scala Theatre Museum
Last Supper / Cenacolo by Leonardo
Leonardo’s horse
Luciana Matalon Foundation Museum for Contemporary Art
Luciano Minguzzi Foundation Museum
Mangini Bonomi’s Horse
Manzoniano Museum
Martinitt and Stelline Museum
Mangini Bonomi’s Horse
Manzoniano Museum
MIC-Interactive Cinema Museum
Modern Art Gallery of Milan
Monumental Cemetry
Museum of Cultures
Museum of Natural History
Museum of the Novecento
Museum of the Risorgimento
Palaeochristian mosaics
Palazzo della Ragione
Palazzo Morando Costume Fashion Image
Paolo Pini Collection as Art Theory
The Park of the “Alda Levi” Amphitheatre and Antiquariuarium
PIME Anthropological Museum
Royal Palace
Rotonda di Via Besana
San Siro Football Museum
Science Museum
The Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation Museum
The Astronomical Museum-The Brera Botanic Gardens
The Comics, Illustration and Animated Image Museum
The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum
The Diocesan Museum of Milan
The Museum of S. Eustorgio
The Museum of the Capuchins
The Treccani Studio
The “Ulrico Hoepli” Planetarium
The Poldi Pezzoli Museum
Toy Museum
Typewriter Museum
Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte
Waterworks Museum


Home – Museums

This is a list of four museums, which were once houses of important milanese families. Now, they have been converted into musuems. It is possible to buy just one ticket valid 6 months, € 15, that allows you to visit all four musuems.

Bagatti Valsecchi Museum –
Poldi Pezzoli Museum –
Boschi-Di Stefano Art Museum –
Villa Necchi Campiglio –


Last Supper / Cenacolo by Leonardo
Piazza S. Maria delle Grazie 2 • M1/M2 Cadorna, M1 Conciliazione
Entrance: €8. Discount for EU citizens under 18/over 65 and from 18–25 yrs.
Open: Tues-Sun 8.15-18.45. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 0292800360

Cumulative ticket for Last Supper, Pinacoteca di Brera and La Scala Museum also available. Advance booking obligatory; at least 2 months in advance is advised. Call Mon-Fri 9.00-18.00, Sat 9.00-14.00. Operators speak English. Payment by credit card over the phone, or cash on the day. Audio guides (English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese) available at the ticket desk: €2.50 single, €4.50 double. If you don’t manage to book, there is a small chance of purchasing a ticket from the desk if people who have booked don’t turn up. At the exit there is a shop selling cards, posters and books on the Last Supper and Leonardo da Vinci. It is worth reading something about this painting before you visit – try or – as there is the risk that such a famous sight becomes something of an anticlimax. There are no explanatory panels or multi-media points in the refectory.

At a cost of 15 € including the on line booking charge and credit cards percentage, the “A Friend in Milan” service can book your visit for you in combination with a guided tour (50 € per hour) that includes a visit to the church Santa Maria delle Grazie, Bramante’s cloister, and other sights in the vicinity.

Leonardo da Vinci’s world-famous fresco, recently restored (restoration completed in 1999). Advance booking obligatory: places are limited. To book, phone 02 92800360: the number answers Mon-Fri 9.00 to 18.00, Sat 9.00-14.00. Operators speak English. (From abroad, phone +39.02 92800360). It is not possible to book direct at the Last Supper itself. The phone number is often engaged: you just have to keep trying. The operator will give you a code number and the time of the visit. It is necessary to pay by credit card.

At a cost of 15 € including the on line booking charge and credit cards percentage, the “A Friend in Milan” service can book your visit for you in combination with a guided tour (50 € per hour) that includes a visit to the church Santa Maria delle Grazie, Bramante’s cloister, and other sights in the vicinity.

Visit the church itself, Santa Maria delle Graze, with its lovely apse and dome by Bramante, and the little courtyard by the same architect.

As soon as you know when you are going to be in Milan, book a visit: at certain times of year it is hard to find slots even 3 months ahead.

The website seems to have a calendar showing availability but I don’t think that the system is working properly. There doesn’t seem to be the chance of booking and paying on-line.

All in all it is a tourist-unfriendly system. Large numbers of tickets are allocated to tour organisers, and often the only hope is that there will be some cancellations. The best day to call for cancellations is Monday.

If you don’t manage to find a slot, you can try joining the queue in Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie, for places made available by people with bookings who don’t turn up. There is a visit every 15 minutes for 25 people. At the end of the itinerary there is a shop selling cards, posters and books on the Last Supper (restored state) and Leonardo da Vinci. It is well worth reading something about this painting before your visit, as there is the risk that such a famous sight becomes something of an anticlimax: if not, the audio guide provides a lot of good information. The audio cassette guide (in English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese) are available at the ticket desk: €2.50 single, €4.50 double.

Background information on the Last Supper

While you are going in on your way to the fresco, a series of sealed and air-conditioned chambers gently hoovers visitors to ensure that dust and humidity levels in the refectory itself do not rise. Photography is not allowed: in any case, the shop on the route after the visit has a wide selection of postcards, posters and books on the painting in its restored state.

The latest restoration operation ended in 1999 after 20 years’ work, and it has revealed the enormous study that Leonardo dedicated to the subject. Previously, the heads were all smoky, blurred patches of colour, but now each character is depicted with precision. Facial features, hands and bodily position are used to express the reaction of each disciple to Christ’s revelation that he will be betrayed by one of them. Christ himself, as can now be seen, is actually in the process of speaking, with an expression of resigned sadness, as he gestures to the wine with his right hand and to the bread with his left. Judas is clumsily clutching a bag of money in his right hand; Peter, just behind him, is gripping a knife, that he will use later in the garden of Gethsemane to attack the servant of the high priest; Philip, third to the right of Christ, is an incredible portrait of emotion notwithstanding the damage; Matthew, next right, is another figure to whom the restoration has given back its eloquence, a talking mouth, and beautifully rendered hands. Thomas, to the right of Christ with finger pointed upwards, is making a gesture that was familiar to monks during the Renaissance: as meals in the refectory had to be taken in silence, in order to indicate God there was a conventional sign, thumb and index finger extended, the others closed.

All this suggests that Leonard painted not just a picture, but a scene that depicts a segment of time, like a film, with the emotion travelling in waves outwards from Christ’s momentous declaration. Many clues were added to enable the monks to identify the characters.

Contemporary observers wrote that Leonardo spent hours in front of the painting while it was in progress, meditating on one or other aspect of his work. Dominated as it is by human figures, one of the principal problems he must have had was reconciling the traditional appearances of the disciples with their psychological reactions to Jesus’ announcement. Over the centuries, the disciples had acquired a habitual iconographical appearance, used and re-used by generations of painters. Leonardo had to comply with this, while adding his more refined research on individual character. In addition, it seems highly likely that he also gave them an astrological significance. There are twelve disciples, and likewise twelve signs of the zodiac. Thus the first disciple Bartholomew corresponds to Aries (a sign characterized by the high forehead), then James the elder (Taurus, powerful neck), Andrew (Gemini – note his “double” gesture), Judas (Cancer – it is interesting how Leonardo has him leaning back to slot him into this sign in the astrological sequence), Peter (Leo), John the Evangelist (Virgo, perfectly expressed by his almost feminine features), and then, to the right of Christ, there is Thomas (Libra, scales, quite apt given Thomas’ attitude of perpetual doubt and indecision), James the younger (Scorpio), Philip (Sagittarius), Matthew (Capricorn), Thaddeus (Aquarius) and Simon (Pisces).

Why did Leonardo da Vinci want to incorporate astrology into his painting? This is bound up with the Neoplatonic school of philosophy – Marsilio Ficino – and the attempt to combine Plato’s philosophy with Christianity. The fresco incorporates references to numerology and cosmology so that as well as being a depiction of a Biblical scene, it is also a portrait of the universe in this particular philosophical interpretation. If you are interested in this subject, you will enjoy the visit with A Friend in Milan, the only tour organisation that has developed this area of study.

The items on the table, glasses of wine, little rolls of bread, and pewter plates, gave Leonardo the chance to demonstrate his skill in still life. But before even starting the painting, he had to come to grips with the problem of perspective. The fresco is conceived as a realistic extension of the actual room, but as it had to be placed high on the wall (in order to be visible to all the monks eating in the refectory, and also because the Last Supper is described in the New Testament as having taken place in a first-floor room), if Leonardo had used a viewpoint corresponding to normal eye-level height, it would have been impossible to see the top of the table, and we would have seen all too much of what is underneath (such as the disciples’ legs). So he used a perspective that is correct when seen from about twelve feet above the floor level.

During your visit, take a look at the entire refectory. The ceiling is nearly all white, because it, and most of the right-hand wall, were destroyed by a direct hit from a bomb during the Second World War. The Last Supper had been protected by sandbags from ground to ceiling, but nonetheless this episode underlines how incredible it is that it has survived until today. Above the Last Supper, there are coats of arms also painted by Leonardo: on the wall at the other end of the refectory, the Crucifixion by Donato di Montorfano, painted in 1470, includes three figures added by Leonardo that have now completely disappeared. At bottom left and right, they depicted Ludovico Sforza and two of his children: Ludovico was duke of Milan from 1480 to 1500, founder and benefactor of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie. You can see a likeness of him in Bramante’s courtyard, on a slab on the end wall.

The terrible condition of the painting is often attributed to Leonardo’s experimental technique, but this is something of a fallacy. In the German city of Erfurt, the Catholic cathedral has a large fresco depicting Saint Christopher, in excellent condition, recorded as having been painted “à l’huile sur le mur préparé au moyen d’une couche d’huile et d’une couche de blanc de plomb”. This corresponds to the preparation of the wall on which the Last Supper was painted, a very fine plaster mixed with an oily substance, possibly wax, and then coated with a layer of white lead. The technique therefore was not an invention by Leonardo, but a method that had been described previously, in particular, by Cennino Cennini in the 14th century. In fact, according to Cennini, the traditional fresco painting technique, using pigments direct on wet plaster, was the safest, but had the disadvantage of restricting the range of colours that could be used. Cennini in fact recommented the use of pittura a secco, namely painting onto dry plaster, for the final touches alone. Leonardo had evidently heard about the techniques used in northern Europe, and decided to use the oil-based technique for his fresco. This was also important for his desire to work slowly on the painting, giving him sufficient time to develop the gradual shading or chiaroscuro that was essential in his style.

Unfortunately, the wall was subject to rising damp. In the years following the completion of the work, the layers of preparation began to crack, and gradually parts of the paint surface began to fall off. In many areas, the individual pieces of plaster between the cracks took on a concave shape, like a series of shells, within which dirt accumulated. During the innumerable restoration operations that have been performed over the centuries, the painting was scraped with spatulas and metal brushes in an attempt to force the plaster back into shape, buit this just damaged the edges of the individual concave chips, exposing the lead white ground. By 1969, many scholars believed that there was nothing at all left of Leonardo’s original work, but just accumulated dirt and the paint added during successive repainting operations. Only in 1977 did the first trial areas of cleaning demonstrate that it was possible to remove the extraneous layers and reach Leonardo’s original paint. And this is what was done in the operation that lasted from 1978 to 1999.

Several copies of the Last Supper were made, starting from the 16th century, when deterioration had already set in. One is in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, in Milan: another can be seen in the church of San Lorenzo, a fresco also dating to the early 16th century that was however covered over and re-frescoed later on.



Pinacoteca di Brera 
(Brera National Art Gallery) Via Brera 28 • M2 Lanza, M3 Montenapoleone; tram 1, 4, 8, 12, 14, 27; bus 61, 97
Entrance: €6/10
Open: Tues-Sun 8.30-19.15. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 0272263264, 02722631
Booking: tel. 0292800361

The Pinacoteca is one of the most famous European museums, with its rich collection of Italian painting from the 14th to 20th century, including masterpieces such as the “Madonna of the Egg” by Piero della Francesca, “Dead Christ” by Mantegna and “Marriage of the Virgin” by Raffaello. Also on show are works by Bellini, Lotto, Tiziano, Bramate, Rubens, Hayez, El Greco and Caravaggio. Modern art works by Modigliani, Boccioni, Severini, Balla, Morandi, Braque, and Picasso. Guidebooks in English, Japanese, French, German, Italian. Various cultural institutions are also housed in the same building: the Library, Botanical Garden, Lombard Institute for Science and Art, the Academy of Fine Arts and the Astronomic Museum of Brera. Museo Astronomico di Brera.  Free Admission. Open Mon-Fri 9.00-16.00. Closed weekends.  Info: tel. 02.5031.4680. This museum houses ancient astronomical instruments belonging to the Observatory and other scientific instruments from collections of the University of Milan. The Dome houses the telescope “Merz” used by Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli in the late 19th century to observe the planet Mars and to discover its “canals”; to this day this remains one of the most famous discoveries in the history of astronomy.


Leonardo’s horse
Ippodromo – Piazzale dello Sport 6 • M1 Lotto, then 1 km walk down Via Caprilli; M1 De Angeli, then tram 16 to Piazza Esquilino, then 600 m walk down Via Palatino.
Entrance: Admission free.
Open: daily 9.30-18.00.
Info: tel. 0240915603

A modern reconstruction of a gigantic sculpture made by Leonardo da Vinci in the late 15th century, which was destroyed by French soldiers before it could be cast in bronze. A team, brought together by retired American pilot, Charles Dent, reconstructed the sculpture according to Leonardo’s preparatory studies and gave it to Milan in 1999. There are panels in English and Italian describing the history of this extraordinary monument. Unfortunately, it is not centrally located and is a bit of a walk from the public transport connections. Alternatively take the red Metro line to Lotto, then take a taxi from the rank. To return, call one of the radio taxi firms (02.4040, 02.8585, 02.4000, 02.6969).

The return of Leonardo’s horse
Leonardo da Vinci worked in Milan from 1482 until 1499, in the central part of his career, and he left an enormous influence on art in the city. Apart from the world-famous Last Supper, he also painted many portraits, as well as the Virgin of the Rocks, and introduced the shaded, atmospheric colours that hallmarked his style and that was imitated by his pupils and many other painters.
However he was unlucky with many of the projects on which he worked. The Last Supper was terribly damaged by the dampness of the wall on which it was painted, and then by the countless restoration and repainting operations over the following centuries. The ceiling in the Castle whose decoration he designed was whitewashed over when the room was converted into a stable by the French invaders in 1499: this fresco was only rediscovered in the late 19th century, and still awaits a good restoration.

But the most bitter episode for Leonardo was undoubtedly that of the monument that was commissioned from him by Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. Ludovico wanted a large equestrian monument dedicated to his father, Francesco Sforza, that was to be installed in front of the Castle, and Leonardo began work on plans for a colossal statue. Originally the monument was to have been a rider on a horse rearing up on its back legs, with just two points of contact with the ground, but this proved too problematic even for Leonardo, and he returned to a more conventional scheme of a horse walking. As was his custom, he made hundreds of sketches showing the anatomical details of horses, the structure of the sculpture, and technical diagrams on how the monument would be cast in bronze. With a planned height of nearly 9 metres, it was far larger than anything that had ever been cast before. He then started work on the full-size original, made in plaster and clay on a skeleton in timber: from this the mould would be taken that would then be used to make the final version in bronze.

The original (just a horse, the rider having been abandoned) was complete in 1499, and all that was needed was the bronze for the casting. But Ludovico was at war with the French, and so the bronze that he had ordered for his monument was diverted to cannons. When the French armies defeated Ludovico and captured the city of Milan, they found the huge clay horse in a courtyard, and used it as a target for crossbow practice. In the space of just a few days, Leonardo’s magnificent sculpture had been reduced to a pile of rubble.

In 1978, the National Geographic magazine published some of Leonardo’s preparatory drawings for the sculpture, which had been discovered a decade earlier in the National Library of Madrid. The article was read by Charles Dent, a retired airline pilot from Pennsylvania in America who had long been passionately interested in Leonardo da Vinci’s work. His imagination was fired by the sad story of the horse, and he decided that he would bring it back into existence.

He founded the “Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse Inc.”, gathered as much information as possible on Leonardo’s drawings, and started the process of financing the scheme by selling pieces from his extensive art collection. By about 1990, thirty people were working on the project, bronze-casting experts, architects, structural engineers, and sculptors Nina Akamu and Rod Skidmore. In particular Akamu, born in Oklahoma of Japanese-Chinese origin, had the difficult task of developing Leonardo’s drawings, most of which where just a few centimetres in size, to the scale of the final monument.

In December 1994, Charles Dent died, but the foundation that he had created continued his work. Finally in July 1999, Leonardo’s horse arrived in Milan, almost exactly five hundred years after his clay original had been destroyed. It was installed in the green, peaceful surroundings of Milan’s racecorse, in the San Siro district, where it can be seen every day, free of charge, from 9.30 to 18.30. The piece, in 18 tonnes of bronze, rests on just two of the horse’s four hooves, on a base in white Carrara marble. Another casting of the same horse was unveiled in October 1999, at the Frederik Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA).

© Henry Neuteboom


Castello Sforzesco / Museo d’Arte Antica
(Castle/Museum of Anciente Art) Piazza Castello • M1 Cairoli/Cadorna, M2 Lanza/Cadorna; tram 1, 3, 4, 7, 12, 16, 27; bus 50, 57, 58, 61, 94
Entrance: €3 (free for last hour, and from 14.00 on Fri)
Open: Tues-Sun 9.30-17.30. Last entrance at 17.00. Mon closed. Disabled access.
Info: tel. 0288463700 – 0288463731/4

This museum sprawls throughout a series of Renaissance halls that were once part of the Duke of Milan’s (Ludovico Sforza’s) palace. It includes the frescoed ceilings of the Duke’s private chapel, as well as collections of sculpture and painting. Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini is another highlight, as well as the “Sala delle Asse”, a room with a superb ceiling decoration designed by Leonardo da Vinci. There are sections dedicated to furniture, musical instruments, ceramics, painting and sculpture. The Egyptian and archaeological sections are accessed from the Corte Ducale.  Tours of the tunnels, battlements and fortifications, every Sun at 15.00, €13/10 per person, book on 02.6596.937 no later than the Fri beforehand.


Castello Sforzesco / Pinacoteca
(Castle/Picture Gallery) Piazza Castello • M1 Cairoli/Cadorna, M2 Lanza/Cadorna; tram 1, 3, 4, 7, 12, 16, 27; bus 50, 57, 58, 61, 94
Entrance: €3 (free for last hour, and from 14.00 on Fri)
Open: Tues-Sun 9.30-17.30. Last entrance at 17.00. Mon closed. Disabled access.
Info: tel. 0288463700 – 0288463731/4

The gallery host painting masterpieces from the 14th to the 18th centuries, with works by Mantegna, Foppa, Lotto through to Canaletto. A highlight is the remarkable hall dedicated to Renaissance paintings from Lombardia.


Castello Sforzesco/Museo delle Arti Decorative
(Castle/Museum of Decorative Arts) Piazza Castello • M1 Cairoli/Cadorna, M2 Lanza/Cadorna; tram 1, 3, 4, 7, 12, 16, 27; bus 50, 57, 58, 61, 94
Entrance: €3 (free for last hour, and from 14.00 on Fri)
Open: Tues-Sun 9.30-13.30, 14.00-17.30. Last entrance at 17.00. Mon closed. Disabled access.
Info: tel. 0288463700 – 0288463731 

The Museum hosts a collection of furniture from the 15th to the 20th centuries, wooden sculptures, ceramics, magnificent precious works, ancient weapons and armatures and the extraordinary Trivulzio Tapestries of the months.

Castello Sforzesco/Museo degli Strumenti Musicali
(Castle/Museum of Musical Instruments) Piazza Castello • M1 Cairoli/Cadorna, M2 Lanza/Cadorna; tram 1, 3, 4, 7, 12, 16, 27; bus 50, 57, 58, 61, 94
Entrance: €3 (free for last hour, and from 14.00 on Fri)
Open: Tues-Sun 9.30-13.30, 14.00-17.30. Last entrance at 17.00. Mon closed. Disabled access.
Info: tel. 0288463700 – 0288463742 

The Museums hosts a large number of European an non-European musical instruments. Visitors may admire instruments of the Cremona and Milan schools of violin-making and rare Italian and European key boards.

Castello Sforzesco/Museo Egizio
(Castle/Egyptian Museum) Piazza Castello • M1 Cairoli/Cadorna, M2 Lanza/Cadorna; tram 1, 3, 4, 7, 12, 16, 27; bus 50, 57, 58, 61, 94
Entrance: €3 (free for last hour, and from 14.00 on Fri)
Open: Tues-Sun 9.30-17.30. Last entrance at 17.00. Mon closed. Disabled access.
Info: tel. 0288463700 – 0288463703 

A collection of national importance comprising mummies, sculptures, portraits of the pharaohs, household items and those used to worship the dead, and papyri.

Castello Sforzesco/Museo della Preistoria e Protostoria
(Castle/Museum of Prehistory and Protohistory) Piazza Castello • M1 Cairoli/Cadorna, M2 Lanza/Cadorna; tram 1, 3, 4, 7, 12, 16, 27; bus 50, 57, 58, 61, 94

Entrance: €3 (free for last hour, and from 14.00 on Fri)
Open: Tues-Sun 9.30-17.30. Last entrance at 17.00. Mon closed. Disabled access.
Info: tel. 0288463700 – 0288463703 

One of the earliest collections of the Archaeological Museum, providing an overview of the cultures of the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages above all in the Po Valley.


Museo Diocesano di Milano
Corso di Porta Ticinese 95 • M1/M3 Duomo; tram 3
Entrance: €6. Cumulative ticket €9.50 for this museum, Sant’Eustorgio/Portinari Chapel and San Lorenzo/Sant’Aquilino.
Open: Tues-Sun 10.00-18.00 (Open until 23.00 on 4, 11, 13 April, and 4 May). Mon closed.
Info: tel. 0289420019

This museum of religious art presents a new collection of works from the 12th to 17th centuries, featuring Medieval and Renaissance sculpture from northern Europe, Liguria and central Italy. There are also many paintings from various churches in the Diocese of Milan. The polyptich Ancona della Passione was made in Antwerp in the mid 16th century. Cafe and bookshop.


Cripta San Giovanni in Conca 
Piazza Missori • M3 Missori
Open: Tues-Sat 9.30-17.30.
Info: tel. 0288465720

At the centre of Piazza Missori there are the remains of the ancient basilica, an outstanding witness of Milan’s history and art from the 5th and 17th century, constructed in what was a Roman residential quarter. The church has undergone reconstruction, defacements and demolitions all the way until the Second World War. Only a few portions of the original basilica are still standing: the 11th century apse and the crypt, the only one that has survived in Milan.


Museo di Sant’Eustorgio di Milano
(The Museum of S. Eustorgio in Milan) Piazza S. Eustorgio 1 • M1/M3 Duomo + tram 3
Entrance: €6
Open: Mon-Sun 10.00-18.00.
Info: tel. 0289402671

Adjacent to the basilica, the S. Eustorgio parish museum includes the magnificent Portinari Chapel where visitors can admire the frescoes by Vincenzo Foppa, the Cappelle Solariane and the monumental sacristy, early Christian churchyard. The highlight of this church is the Portinari Chapel, a fine example of the Tuscan Renaissance in Milan. It was commissioned by Medici banker Pigello Portinari, with architecture by Michelozzo and Filarete, sculpture by Giovanni di Balduccio and lovely frescoes by Foppa. The visit also includes the Palaeochristian cemetery.

Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano
(House Museum Boschi Di Stefano) Via Jan 15 • M1 Lima
Open: Tues-Sun 10.00-18.00. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 0220240568

One of the main private Italian collections which represents a detailed overview of the history of 20th-century painting, exhibited in the house where the collection was assembled.


Museo Teatrale alla Scala
Largo Ghiringhelli 1 (Piazza Scala) • M1/M3 Duomo
Entrance: €5
Open: every day 9.00-12.30 (last entrance at 12.00), 13.30-17.30. Last entrance at 17.00.
Info: tel. 0288797473

This is one of the most prestigious theatrical museums in Europe and it is dedicated to the history of the famous Milan theatre and opera house. Its new layout, designed by Pier Luigi Pizzi, hosts vast collections of portraits, documents, autographs, busts, posters and other objects connected to great musicians and composers such as Verdi, Puccini and Toscanini. The visit includes a look into the theatre itself, provided there are no rehearsals.


Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci
(Science Museum) Via S. Vittore 21 • M2 S. Ambrogio; bus 50, 58, 94
Entrance: €8
Open: Tues-Fri 9.30-17.00, Sat-Sun 9.30-18.30. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 02485551, 0248555411

Machinery, transport, industry, and a series of models based on Leonardo’s inventions. The museum’s enormous collection is housed in an ex-monastery, with cars, aircraft, ships, scooters, trains, reconstructions of ancient workshops for metalworking, clockmaking, guitar-making, right through to electronics, textiles and astronomy. The latest arrival is the Enrico Toti submarine. A guided tour inside the sub (€8 – €10) lasts about 20 minutes, limited availability. Book in advance, tel. 899.000.900. Open from Tues- Fri (10.00-16.15) and weekends and holidays (10.00-17.45). The museum has a bookshop, self-service restaurant (12.00-14.00) and bar. Recommended for children of all ages.

A million people less, one submarine more
Things happen, in Milan, just as they do in other cities. It’s just that in Milan, things seem to take a long time. Take the Cathedral, for example. Construction began in 1386 (according to the foundation stone which you can see under the first window on the right inside the church) and only ended in 1965 when the last bronze door was added. The dome was built in 1500, and the spire on top, with the gilded figure of Mary, was completed in 1774.

With that sort of record, perhaps it’s not surprising that the final journey of the submarine Enrico Toti, 90 km from Cremona to Milan, will have taken four years – if everything goes to plan. Hello Milano first reported on the Enrico Toti in July 2001, when the Italian navy donated the vessel to Milan’s Science Museum – or the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci, to give it its full name. The submarine is something of a symbol in Italian naval tradition, as it was the first to be built after the end of the post-World War II embargo. It entered service in 1968, and operated in the Mediterranean until 1999.

In 2001, when the Toti was still at its base in Sicily, its engines and batteries were removed in preparation for its final voyage, so that it would float higher on the water and could get through the Po delta shallows. The trip up the Adriatic and then along the Po went fine, and it reached the river-port of Cremona, the nearest practical location for the final overland trip. From there, the idea was to haul the Toti out, place it on a special low-loader, and tow it to Milan. The estimated date of arrival was initially early June 2001, then early July. The Science Museum recently announced, four years later, that the journey will at last take place, in August 2005.

One has to admit that transporting a submarine on dry land is not a simple operation. Even without batteries and engines, the Toti weighs 350 tonnes, and the two motorized low-loaders that will carry it account for another 120 tonnes. The vehicle will have 240 wheels, and it will be 62 metres long. The main worry for Milan’s authorities was that the convoy would be too heavy for the streets of the city, which conceal various underground structures such as canals, metro lines and so forth.

But in the intervening years, the Italian navy have commissioned other submarines of over 1,500 tonnes. Transporting these has helped understand how to organise this sort of operation.

So, if all goes well, the Enrico Toti will leave Cremona at 9.00 pm on 8th August. It will travel mainly by night, at a speed of about 6 km/h. It is due to arrive at the Science Museum on 14th August. If you’re interested in watching it going round corners, the plan is that it will be in Via Toffetti all day on Friday 12th August, and then on Saturday 13th the sub will set off at 21.00. The route: Viale Molise, Via Monte Ortigara, Via Anfossi, Viale Regina Margherita, Viale Caldara, Porta Romana, Viale Beatrice d’Este, Piazza XXIV Maggio, Viale Gabriele d’Annunzio, Piazza Cantore, Viale Papiniano, Piazza San’Agostino, and Via Olona, where it will reach its allotted site in the museum on the morning of the 14th. From then on, the Museum will prepare it for exhibition, and this new attraction will at last open to the public in December 2005.

August is certainly the right month for this sort of operation. While the Toti is on the way to Milan, hundreds of thousands of Milanese people will be on their way to the seaside, or already there. The population of the city drops from the usual 1,200,000 to about 400,000 or even less on 15th August, and while many museums remain open, most shops will close for at least the central two weeks of the month. If you are here towards the end of August, you can take advantage of the summer sales, which started on 2nd July but which often offer the best prices during the last period of the sales – up until 3rd September.

But those of you who have just arrived, hoping to do some shopping and get a taste of the chic fashion metropolis, will probably wondering why everyone goes away in August. Wouldn’t it be better to take turns to go on holiday? Well, of course it would, but closing down in August is something of a tradition in Italian industry and business. As a result, the programme of entertainment and events is very restricted, and tailored for the brave souls remaining in the city. If you go to the area behind the Castle, you may find yourself on a dance floor trying to fathom out that waltzy style of Italian ballroom dancing known as liscio accompanied by the sounds of piano accordion bands, while expert dancers dressed to the nines glare at you – well, at me, actually – and my hopeless attempts at faking the steps. On the other side of the park, at Arco della Pace, there is a miniature beach area complete with sand, beach volley and swimming pool. There are events, sports and sunbathing facilities at the Idroscalo, or Idropark, near Linate airport. And that’s about it, really, except for the Cathedral, churches and museums. Unless you’re into submarine-spotting, in which case you’re going to have a really great time.

© Henry Neuteboom 2005

Leonardo da Vinci Galleries

The world permanent largest exhibition dedicated to Leonardo Da Vinci. An excellent opportunity to know the Genius’ works. 1.300 square meters which include 170 historical models, artworks, ancient volumes, installations and an immersive installation dedicated to the drawings of the Da Vinci’s last period of activity.
A spectacular setting accompanies you on a journey that, starting from the Florence of the fifteenth century, traces the training of Da Vinci and the influence of Tuscan engineers up to his stay in Milan. A path through the art of war, work and production, the studies on flight, the waterways and the architecture, which ends with a perspective on Da Vinci’s influence on Lombard Renaissance painting.


Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte
(Villa Reale) Via Palestro 16 • M1 Palestro, M3 Turati; bus 54, 61, 94
Entrance: Admission free.
Open: Tues-Sun 9.30-13.00, 14.00-17.30. Last entrance at 17.00. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 0276004275, 0276002819

This fine Neoclassical building has been recently restored, and presents lovely 19th-early 20th century art, including Canova’s neo-classical sculpture, Hayez’s romantic paintings, and examples by the Italian Impressionist Scapigliatura. There are also works from the Divisionist and Realist movements, and by the Futurists Balla, Boccioni and Marino Marini. The highlight is the spectacular political manifesto, “Il Quarto Stato” by Pellizza da Volpedoi. The villa looks onto a small but interesting landscaped garden. The modern art gallery PAC is next door.


Museo di Storia Naturale
(Natural History Museum) Corso Venezia 55 • M1 Palestro, M3 Turati
Entrance: €3 (free for last hour and from 14.00 on Fri)
Open: Tues-Sun 9.00-17.30. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 0288463337 – Snack-bar tel. 0276012683

This museum has a series of superb dioramas, with stuffed animals shown in their natural environment. There are brief captions in English. There is a pleasant snack-bar at the fourth floor, and a bookshop near the entrance. The Paleolab, is dedicated to palaeontology, fossils and minerals; theBiolab, in the Serre of Palazzo Dugnani, is an interactive laboratory. Information at the desk of the main museum. The oldest institution of its kind in Italy, The Museum of Natural History is housed in a 19th century building located in the Giardini Pubblici, the public park named Indro Montanelli. It offers a variety of galleries dedicated to mineralogy, palaeontology, palaetnology, zoology of vertebrates, entomology, zoology of the invertebrates and botany. Both halls and show windows are constantly being updated.

Museo Archeologico
(Archaeological Museum) Corso Magenta 15 • M1/M2 Cadorna
Entrance:€2 (free for last hour and from 14.00 on Fri)
Open: Tues-Sun 9.00-13.00, 14.00-17.30. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 0288465720, 0288445208
Leaflet in English or Japanese €1

An ex-convent houses exhibits from Ancient Roman Milan, along with Greek, Etruscan and Medieval material, and a small section on Ghandara (India). There is a section dedicated to the Lagioia collection of Apulian antiquities: terracotta, alabaster, bone and ivory pieces from the Ancient Greek peoples of Magna Grecia. In the garden, you can see a 24-sided Ancient Roman tower and part of the Roman city walls. San Maurizio. Admission free.  Open Tues to Sat 9.00-13.00, 14.30-17.30. Sun and Mon closed. Opening hours are not guaranteed as some sessions are run by volunteers. This church, alongside the Archaeological Museum, contains a complete cycle of frescoes dating from the 16th century, with work by various Lombard painters, especially Bernardino Luini and his sons Aurelio and Giovan Pietro. Restoration work is still underway, and therefore the choir (behind the frescoed partition) may be closed.

In search of the grandeur that was Rome
Free under 18, tour guides, disabled, journalists,
– for last hour every day
– from 14.00 on Fridays.
Tel. 02 88445208

Don’t miss a visit to the lovely church of San Maurizio alongside, free, open at the same times except that it closes at lunchtime, 12.00-14.00.

Parco dell’Anfiteatro Romano, Via De Amicis 17. Park open Tues-Sat 9.30-19.00 (or to an hour before sunset). Antiquarium open Wed, Fri and Sat 9.00-14.00. Admission free. Tel. 02.8846.5720, 02.8940.0555


Pinacoteca Ambrosiana
(Ambrosiana Art Gallery) Piazza Pio XI, 2 • M1 Cordusio, M1/M3 Duomo
Entrance: €10/15
Open Tues-Sun 10.00-17.30. Mon closed. Last entrance 16.30.
Info: tel. 02806921
Booking: tel. 0280692248

The masterpieces on show include the “Portrait of a Musician” by Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio’s “Basket of Fruit” and Raphael’s preparatory cartoon for the “School of Athens” fresco. Also featured are some Lombard 15th and 16th century paintings, Renaissance Veneto works, Flemish paintings and more. There is also an interesting bookshop.


Tesoro di Sant’Ambrogio e Mosaici
(Palaeochristian mosaics) St Ambrogio Church – Piazza Sant’ Ambrogio • M2 S. Ambrogio
Entrance: €2
Open: Tues-Sun. 9.30-11.45, 14.30-18.00. closed Mon.
Info: tel. 0286450895

The ceiling of the church is beautifully decorated with gold mosaics and depicts the saints Ambrogio, Gervaso and Protaso (whose bodies are kept in the crypt under the altar). The original chapel was palaeochristian and the burial site of St. Satiro, the brother of St Ambrogio. The small museum attached contains holy relics and palaeochristian remains.


Palazzo Morando Costume Moda Immagine
(Palazzo Morando Costume Fashion Image) Via Sant’ Andrea 6 • M1 San Babila
Open: Tues-Sun. 9.00-13.00, 14.00-17.30. closed Mon.
Info: tel. 0288446056 – 0288446057 – 0288465735

The paintings on the first floor provide an overview of the image of the city of Milan between the 1700’s and the early 1900’s. Also to be admired at the Palazzo Morando gallery and adjacent exhibition halls are a series of costumes taken from various city collections. The ground floor hosts temporary exhibitions, events and other initiatives and meetings.


Acquario e Civica Stazione Idrobiologica
(Aquarium and Municipal Hydro-Biological Station) Via Gadio 2, (Parco Sempione) • M2 Lanza
Entrance: Admission free.
Open: Tues-Sun 9.00-13.00, 14.00-17.30. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 0288465750, 0288445392 /

This small Art Nouveau building is attractive in itself, particularly after the recent restoration works completed in March 2006. The display presents a range of aquatic environments, such as a river stream, the Po delta, and the Venice lagoon. One tank contains a reconstruction of a wreck, and another is built in such a way that the fish look down onto the visitors from above. There is also a bookshop, cafe, and a library on marine biology.


Cimitero Monumentale
(Cemetery) Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale • Tram 3, 4, 11, 12, M2 Garibaldi
Entrance: Admission free.
Open: Tues-Sun 8.00-18.00. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 026599938

Milan’s finest cemetery stretches over an area of 250,000 square metres. The structure dominating the entrance dates from 1860 and reflects the eclectic architectural style of the time. Inside the cemetery, the elaborate tombs create an open-air gallery of late 19th and 20th century sculpture. On the left just inside the forecourt, there is an office that distributes leaflets in English and German with a map. Within the cemetery, panels indicate the most significant tombs.


Museo del Duomo
(Cathedral Museum) Piazza Duomo 12 • M1/M3 Duomo
Info: tel. 02860358
Open: Tues. – Sun. 10.00 – 18.00; closed on Mondays.

Stained glass, sculptures, tapestries, paintings, vestments, and diagrams illustrating the development of the cathedral over the centuries. Captions in Italian, with explanatory cards in Italian, English, French and German.


Museo Martinitt e Stelline
Corso Magenta 57 • M1/M2 Cadorna
Info: tel. 0243006522
Open: Tues-Sat 10.30-18.30.

The history of Milan from the 1800’s to the 1900’s through the lives of the orphans Martinitt and Stelline. An interactive route allowing visitors to delve into history through archival sources.


Parco dell’Anfiteatro e Antiquarium “Alda Levi”
(The Park of the “Alda Levi” Amphitheatre and Antiquarium) Via De Amicis 17 • M2 S. Ambrogio
Entrance: Admission free.
Open: The Park is open Tues-Sat 9.30-16.30 (winter), 9.30-19.00 (summer). Mon closed. The Roman Antiquarium is open Wed, Fri and Sat, 9.00-14.00.
Info: tel. 0288465720, 0289400555

This museum is on the site of Milan’s Colosseum, though there is not much left of it. The Antiquarium presents an interesting selection of Ancient Roman and later relics, including a reconstruction of a gladiator’s armour, and video impressions of what the arena once looked like.

In search of the grandeur that was Rome
“You ought to go out more”, my wife said to me. “You’re always in the office, sitting in front of the computer. And all that wine you drink, it can’t be good for you. You need a bit of exercise, that’s what I say”. So, on a hot summer’s day towards the end of August, I strode out in search of Milan’s archaeological treasures. The idea being that this be the theme for the September article.

I hiked down Via Torino and Corso di Porta Ticinese to the church of San Lorenzo, in front of which stands a row of columns, erected in front of the church in the 4th century A.D. but undoubtedly from a late Ancient Roman building. These columns are among the few readily visible Ancient Roman artefacts left in Milan. But the columns are being restored and so they were almost completely hidden by scaffolding.
Not to be discouraged, I continued down Via De Amicis to the Parco dell’Anfiteatro Romano , which opened on 5th July. A large rusty iron monolith marks the position of the new park. But the rusty iron gates behind it were firmly closed. I explored the neighbourhood looking for a secondary entrance, but uncovered nothing. A phone call revealed that the exact address was number 17, Via De Amicis. Which is an unmarked door in a blank wall. I remarked to the custodian that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to move the monolith opposite the entrance. He said that perhaps, in September, they will hang a banner up to help people find the way.

Open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9.00 to 14.00, the Parco includes an Antiquarium, which displays the archaeological finds in the area. The large terra cotta amphorae immediately conjured images of chilled white wine, but I banished such heretical thoughts and carried on with my visit. The descriptive panels, in Italian with summary translations in English, informed me that Milan’s amphitheatre was one of the largest in the Empire. There were four storeys, the first three arcaded with arches, and the last a solid attic floor with windows. There was also a mobile canvas cover (velarium ) to protect spectators in case of rain. The amphitheatre was built in the 1st century A.D., in opus caementicium , basically cast cement, which is why, after the fall of the Roman Empire, it disappeared so rapidly. It was completely demolished in the 6th century AD, and the foundations were rediscovered only in 1931, during roadworks in a street nearby.
The amphitheatre was used above all for gladiator contests. These were immensely popular which explains why the bulding was so large. Elliptical in shape, 155 metres long and 125 metres in wide, Milan’s amphitheatre wasn’t much smaller than the Colosseum in Rome, which seated about 45,000 people. As may be perfectly obvious, it was built outside the city walls, where there was still space available, and where all the crowds wouldn’t cause traffic problems.

A funerary monument in the Antiquarium shows a gladiator, whose name, acording to the inscription, was Ubricus. Originally from florence, Ubricus apparently fought thirteen times and died at the age of 22, leaving a devoted wife and two daughters. Late 19 th -century copies of a gladiator’s armour – together with excerpts from Spartacus and The Gladiator in a video projection – help bring this dramatic form of entertainment into context.
From the Antiquarium, the itinerary leads through a charming Renaissance cloister, once part of a monastery, into the park itself. The park is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9.30 to 19.00 in summer, closing progressively earlier as the days shorten in winter. It is closed on Sunday and Monday. All that can be seen of the amphitheatre is a small section of the foundations, but a drawing of the original building is cleverly displayed alongside the ruins, so that you get a good idea of its size.

Mindful of my wife’s exhortations, I decided to walk to the Archeological Museum, in Corso Magenta 15. I did this by taking Via Correnti, Via del Torchio, Via Circo, Via Cappuccio, and then Via Luini. I bravely ignored the possibilities for liquid refreshment on the way. In Via Luini, I stopped to read an explanatory panel that informed me that the Ancient Roman chariot-racing stadium had been precisely here – hence Via Circo – and that the square brick tower that is now part of the Monastery of San Maurizio was originally one of the entrances to the stadium. I looked up in the hope of seeing more Ancient Roman architecture, but most of the tower was obscured by scaffolding. More restoration. I continued reading and discovered that part of the original semicircular extremity of the stadium can still be seen in a wall at the intersection of Via Circo and Via del Torchio, way back down the street I had just come up. I decided I’d leave that for next time, and went onto the Museo Archeologico.
This museum is presently running a show on the Etruscans, on the basement floor. Etruscan relics have caused many problems for museums throughout the world, as revealed by a section featuring photographs of the “Sarcophagus of the newly-married couple”, which was purchased in the 1870s by the British Museum and exhibited there until one Pietro Pennelli admitted that he had made it himself. A similar situation occurred for a statue of Diana, the fragments of which were bought by the City Art Museum of St. Louis, USA, for an enormous sum. The museum had it restored to what was thought to be its original appearance. Much later it was discovered that the fragments had been crafted by Alceo Dossena, a sculptor from Cremona who specialised in making fake antiquities during his career in the early 20th century.

A small section in the museum was dedicated to the Olympic games as depicted on Greek pottery. Out in the garden, behind the museum, there is a short stretch of the Roman walls of the city, along with a 24-sided tower. But the most striking exhibit in this museum, at least in my opinion, is a piece of glass, the Coppa Trivulzio, found in a marble sarcophagus in 1675 at Castellazzo Novarese. It was purchased by Milanese collector Carlo Trivulzio in 1777, and, when his collection was sold in 1935, the Municipality of Milan bought it by means of public subscription. Made in the 4th century A.D., it consists of two layers, an inner cup in milky-white glass, and an outer cage made in bluish glass.
According to the caption, the outer layer was cast, and then most of it was progressively ground away until just a delicate pattern of interlocking circles was left, joined to the inner cup by a series of short glass rods. The impression that it produces is of a cup magically suspended in mid-air inside the decorative cage. Not only did it seem miraculous to me that such a delicate object could have survived for 1,700 years, but also the very fact that such a complex object could be made at all in such a distant era was remarkable.

Near the top of the cup, there are a number of narrow letters in green glass, also cleverly held away from the inner cup itself. The inscription says “Bibe vivas multis annis”. Drink, and you will live for many years. Ha! Now where was that enoteca I saw earlier?

Parco dell’Anfiteatro Romano , Via De Amicis 17. Park open Tues-Sat 9.30-19.00 (or to an hour before sunset). Antiquarium open Wed, Fri and Sat 9.00-14.00. Admission free. Tel. 02.8846.5720, 02.8940.0555.

Museo Archeologico , Corso Magenta 15. Open Tues-Sun 9.30-17.30. €2, free for last hour, and from 14.00 on Fridays. Tel. 02.8645.0011. Don’t miss a visit to the lovely church of San Maurizio alongside, free, open at the same times except that it closes at lunchtime, 12.00-14.00.

© Henry Neuteboom 2004


Museo Popoli e Culture
(Anthropological Museum) Via Mosé Bianchi 94 • M1 Lotto/Amendola Fiera
Entrance: Admission free.
Open: Mon-Fri 9-12.30, 14.00-18.00. Sat 14.00-18.00. Sundays and holidays closed.
Info: tel. 02438201

The Pime missionaries brought to Italy a vast collection of pottery, ivories, jades, musical instruments, and other various artefacts from Asia, especially from China. The museum aims to explain the life, culture, values and beliefs of the people of the world. “Fair trade” shop and bookshop.


Museo d’Arte e Scienza
(Art Collection Museum) Via Sella 4 (Piazza Castello) • M1 Cairoli, M2 Lanza
Entrance: €6
Open: Mon-Fri 10.00-18.00, Sat 10.00-14.00. Sundays closed.
Info: tel. 0272022488

A private museum that reveals the differences between real and fake antiques, whether pictures, pottery, furniture, tapestries or silverware. You can handle objects, feel their patina, and discover how to use magnifying glasses and other instruments to verify the originality of a piece. Captions in Italian and German. Staff on hand for explanations in Italian, German, English, French and Portuguese. English leaflet. A special section is dedicated to “understanding art by Leonardo da Vinci”.


Stadio Meazza (San Siro) Tour & Inter-Milan Museum
Gate 21, Via Piccolomini 5 • M1 De Angeli, then tram 16
Entrance: €12.50
Open: every day 10.00-18.00 (times vary on match days)
Info: tel. 024042432

football enthusiast’s dream: everything about Milan’s two teams and the legendary stadium. The museum features 24 life-size statues of Milan and Inter heroes (including Gullit, Rijkaard, Liedholm, Rivera, Van Basten, Mazzola, Suarez, Matthaus, Meazza, Rumenigge) made by the Viareggio Carnival papier-maché artists. Projections of match action. Includes visit to the stadium.


Studio Museo Francesco Messina
(Studio Museum Francesco Messina) Ex church San Sisto, Via San Sisto 4/A • M1/M3 Duomo
Entrance: Admission free.
Open: Tues-Fri 10.00-14.00. Thurs 14.00-17.30. Sat 14.00-18.00. Mon and Sun closed.
Info: tel. 0286453005

An important collection of works by the Sicilian painter Messina, spanning a period of more than fifty years. The exhibition includes about 80 sculptures and some 30 graphic works in the studio of this leading 20th-century sculptor. The museum is housed in the former church of San Sisto, restored by Messina himself.


Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Milano
(Modern Art Gallery of Milan) Via Palestro 16 • M1 Palestro
Open: Tues-Sun 9.00-13.00, 14.00-17.30. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 0288445947-0288445944

Located in one of the most beautiful neoclassical residences of the city, the Museum keeps sculptures and paintings across a time span that includes Neoclassicism and Symbolism. Including works by artists of the calibre of Appiani, Previati, Segantini and Pellizza da Volpedo, the gallery was enriched by the artwork belonging to the Carlo Grassi (1956) and Giuseppe Vismara (1975) collections which were donated to the museum.


Museo delle Culture
Via Tortona 56 • M2 Porta Genova, tram 2, 14
Prossima apertura

The Museum of Cultures is an all purpose venue focusing on Milan’s relations with the world see through works from Asia, Africa e America focusing on mankind’s great themes.


Museo del Novecento
Via Marconi 1 • M1 Duomo, tram 24
Open: Tues, Wed, Fri and Sun 9.30-19.30, 14.00-17.30. Thurs and Sat 9.30-22.30. Mon 14.30-19.30.
Info: 0288444061

The Museum, housed at Palazzo dell’Arengario on piazza del Duomo, hosts some 400 works. The museum tou starts with Quarto Stato by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo and continues with works ranging from Futurism, Metaphysical, Novecento, Abstractism, Informal and Spatialism to programmed and kinetic art and Arte Povera.


Museo del Risorgimento
Via Borgonuovo 23 • M3 Montenapoleone
Entrance: €2
Open: Tues-Sun 9.30-13.00, 14.00-17.30. Mon closed. Afternoon opening times subject to variation.
Info: 0288464177, 0288464180

The museum displays objects from the first arrival of Napoleon in Italy until the liberation of Rome in 1870. On display are some interesting items from the crowning of Napoleon as King of Italy and his personal souveniers, the writing cabinet of Giuseppe Mazzini and other artefacts from the Garibaldi period.


Civico Museo di Milano
Via Sant’Andrea 6 • M3 Montenapoleone
Entrance: Admission free.
Open: Tues-Sun 14.00-17.30. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 0288465933

Housed in the recently restored Palazzo Morando Attendolo Bolognini, this museum presents the history of the city from the 18th to late 19th century, with paintings, prints, documents and art objects. The interior also illustrates a typical noble Milanese 18th century home. The Museo di Storia Contemporanea, in the same building, is open when temporary exhibitions are on.


Museo del Giocattolo e del Bambino
Via Pitteri 56 • M2 Lambrate + bus 54 or 75
Entrance: €5 adults, €3 children.
Open: Mon-Fri 9.30-16.00, Sat and Sun 9.30-12.30, 15.00-18.00. Closed throughout the summer from beginning of Aug, reopens start of Sept.
Info: tel. 0226411585

One of the largest childhood museums in Europe, with its exhibition of more than 2000 authentic toys. The displays explain the world history of the toy from 1700 and 1950. Captions in Italian. Especially recommended for children of any age, although adults may find themselves just as fascinated!


Casa di Riposo per Musicisti Giuseppe Verdi
(Home for retired musicians) Piazza Buonarroti 29 • M1 Buonarroti
Entrance: Admission free.
Open: every day 10.00-12.00, 14.30-18.00.
Info: tel. 024996009

This rest home was conceived, built and financed by Giuseppe Verdi at the end of the 19th century, and is also the place where the composer chose to be buried. The only section open to visitors is the Verdi tomb, with attractive mosaic decoration by Pogliaghi. A monument to Verdi stands at the centre of the piazza in front of the building.


MIC-Museo Interattivo del Cinema
(MIC-Interactive Cinema Museum) Viale Fulvio Testi 121 • M3 Turati
Open: Fri 10.00-19.00, Sun 15.00-19.00.
Info: tel. 0287242114

This museum was inaugurated in 1985 and was dedicated to one of the main collectors, Gianni Comencini. It contains memorabilia and important documentation regarding the evolution of cinema in Milan, Italy and the rest of the world. Also interesting are film excerpts and equipment used by the Lumière brothers and George Mèliès. Films are screened at 16.00 and 17.00, but booking is essential. The halls keep a vast collection of memorabilia linked to the history of cinema: from the magic lanterns to the optical games, from the Lumière projector to the posters of neorealist films. Rare images from the Museum’s archives are screened in the projection room.


Museo Astronomico-Orto Botanico di Brera
(The Astronomical Museum-The Brera Botanic Gardens) Palazzo Brera-Via Brera 28 • M2 Lanza, M3 Montenapoleone; tram 1, 4, 8, 12, 14, 27; bus 61, 97
Open: Museo Astronomico. Mon-Fri 9.00-16.30.
Orto Botanico. Mon-Fri 9.00-12.00, 15.00-17.00. Sat 10.00-17.00. (Times could vary acording to dates)

Info: tel. 0250314680

An array of ancient scientific instruments among which the 1862 Merz refractor. The Botanic Garden maintains, with its vast collection of period objects, the character of a historical garden.


Palazzo Reale
Piazza Duomo 12 • M1/M3 Duomo
Entrance: Free admission.
Open: Tues-Sun 14.30-19.30. Tues, Wed, Fri, Sun 9.30-19.30. Thurs, Sat 9.30-22.30.
Info: tel. 020202

Constructed on a project by Piermarini, it is one of Milan’s symbols. The sumptuous abode of kings where key events of history took place, the palace is now Milan’s principal exhibition hall, offering the public an array of ancient, modern and contemporary art shows.


Palazzo della Ragione
Piazza dei Mercanti • M1/M3 Duomo
Entrance: Free admission.
Open: Mon 14.30-19.30. Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun 9.30-19.30. Thurs 9.30-22.30.
Info: tel. 020202

Located in the landmark Via Mercanti, Palazzo della Ragione, or the “Broletto Nuovo” is one of the key spots of Milan’s medieval past. Constructed around the 1200s as the venue for the city’s institutional authorities, it presently hosts art, photography and contemporary culture exhibitions.



Rotonda di Via Besana
Via E. Besana 12
Open: Mon-Sun. Times may vary according to the event. Last entry: one hour before closure.
Info: tel. 020202

Surrounded by a round-shaped cloister, the now deconsecrated San Michele ai Nuovi Sepolcri complex is one of Milan’s most exciting cultural venues dedicated to the creativity and play of children and youths.


Museo dei Beni Culturali Cappuccini onlus 
(The Museum of the Capuchinis) Via Antonio Kramer 5 • M1 Porta Venezia; tram 9, 26
Entrance:  Free admission.
Open: Tues, Wed, Fri 15.00-18.30. Thurs, Sat, Sun 10.00-18.30.
Info: tel. 0277122580

This museum provides a historical pathway through the world of the Capuchin Friars Minor of Lombardy who have been working among the local population since 1535. For the first time the treasures of the picture gallery, the archives, the library and the vast collection of artefacts from the various convents are displayed. The exhibition includes ancient paintings (from the 16th and 17th centuries), manuscripts and other valuable items.


Museo Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro
(The Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation Museum) Via Solari 35 • M2 S. Agostino + tram 14
Entrance: €7
Open: Weds- Sun 11.00-18.00. Thurs 11.00-22.00. Closed Mon and Tues.
Info: tel. 0289075394

The foundation houses a significant group of Arnaldo Pomodoro’s works that document all his artistic production. Among them it is possible to admire the famous “Sfera no. 1”, proof for his work housed in the New York MoMA Museum.


Museo d’Arte Paolo Pini
(Paolo Pini Collection as Art Theory) Via Ippocrate 45 • M3 Maciacchini + bus 70, 41, 52. Ferrovie nord: Affori.
Entrance: Free Admission.
Open: Mon-Saturdays 9.00-16.00. Saturdays only by reservation.
Info: tel. 0264445352

The museum is dedicated to the contemporary art. It houses more than one hundred works of Italian and foreign artists of several different trends. The MAPP aim is that of hosting new challenged artists and to become a relevant centre for culture events.


Museo Fondazione Luciano Minguzzi
(The Luciano Minguzzi Foundation Museum) Via Palermo • M2 Moscova
Open: Tues and Thurs 10.00-13.00/15.00-18.00 Wed and Fri 10.00-13.00. Closed Sat, Sun, Mon.
Info: tel. 0236565440

This contains a collection of the major sculptures, paintings and drawings by the sculptor Luciano Minguizzi, including some of remarkable dimensions. The most famous is the Saint Peter’s Door of Good and Evil (Vatican City) and the fifth door of the Duomo of Milan, of which the preparatory studies can be viewed.


Fondazione Luciana Matalon per l’arte Contemporanea
(The Luciana Matalon Foundation Museum for Contemporary Art) Foro Bonaparte 67 • M1 Cairoli, M2 Lanza
Entrance: Free Admission.
Open: Mon to Sat 10.00-13.00/ 14.00-19.00. Closed Sun.
Info: tel. 02878781

The original surroundings of the artist Luciana Matalon are enriched by her artistic production of paintings, sculptures and jewellery creations that are on view to the general public.


Studio Treccani, Fondazione Corrente Treccani Studio
(The Treccani Studio) Via Carlo Porta 5 • M3 Turati
Entrance: Free Admission.
Open: Tues-Thurs 9.00-12.30, 15.00-18.30. Fri 15.00-18.30.
Info: tel. 026572627

The collection of paintings, graphic works and sculptures that are housed in this museum shows all the artistic production from the beginning of the Realist period, up to subsequent and more recent developments.


Museo del Fumetto, dell’Illustrazione e dell’Immagine animata
Viale Campania 12 • M2 Piola, tram 27, bus 90, 91, 93.
Open: Tues-Frid 15.00-19.00. Sat and Sun 15.00-20.00.
Info: tel. 02649524744 – 0249524745

Dedicated to comics, illustration, humour and popular literature, the museum hosts temporary and permanent exhibitions besides an area where visitors can consult printed and multimedia matter.


Planetario “Ulrico Hoelpi”
(The “Ulrico Hoelpi” Planetarium) Corso Venezia 57 • M1 Porta Venezia, tram 9
Conferenze: Tues and Thurs 21.00, Sat and Sun 15.00 and 16.30.
Info: tel. 0288463340

Seat against the green backdrop of the Giardini Pubblici at Porta Venezia, the Planetarium was inaugurated in 1930 and continues to be Italy’s biggest as well as one of the most prominent in Europe and the rest of the world. It carries out activities in the areas of promotion, research and dissemination, organising lectures, seminars and conferences. Lessons for schoolchildren are organised by request from Monday to Friday.


Casa Museo Mangini Bonomi
(Mangini Bonomi’s House) Via dell’ Ambrosiana 20 • M3/M1 Duomo
Entrance: Free admission.
Open: Mon and Thurs 15.00-17.00.
Info: tel. 0286451455

An elegant Milanese building reveals the diverse personal collection of Carlo Mangini Bonomi. The museum houses a great variety of interesting objects: in addition to the wonderful furnishings of the five floors that are still partly owned by the family, many unique items are also on display, including game cards, fans, weapons, games, archaeological objects and more.


Villa Clerici, Galleria d’Arte Sacra dei Contemporanei
(Clerici Villa, Contemporary Sacred Art Gallery) Via Terruggia 14 • M3 Maciachini + tram 4
Entrance: €5
Open: Thurs 14.00-17.00 or on reservation.
Info: tel. 026470066

Important collections of sacred art from the 20th century. Works, paintings, sculptures, stained-glass windows and ceramics executed by great artists are housed in this refined villa dating from the 18thcentury. Also includes some masterpieces by Messina, Manzu’, Funi, Carpi, and Bodini.


Museo dell’Energia e del Territorio AEM
(AEM Territory and Energy Museum) Piazza Po • M1 Pagano + bus 61
Entrance: Free Admission.
Open: Mon- Fri 9.00-17.00. Closed Saturdays and Sundays.
Info: tel. 0277203442

The AEM powerhouse features a modern laboratory-museum that allows visitors to easily understand some basic energy processes and technologies. Entrance only for groups or school groups: compulsory booking.


Museo dell’ Acqua
(The Waterworks Museum) Via Cenisio 39

This museum shows the last century methodologies employed to drain water.


Museo Manzoniano e Casa di Alessandro Manzoni
Via Morone 1 • M1/M3 Duomo

The museum is situated in a historical and elegant building where one of the greatest Italian writers of the 19th century lived from 1814 until his death in 1873. It is still possible to visit all the rooms in the house, including the ‘Sala di Conversazione’ where Manzoni entertained friends every evening, and his bedroom. The study is one of the highlights as personal objects are on display, and the most interesting item of furniture: the ink-stained desk where Manzoni wrote his famous novel I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed). A museum thoroughly recommended. Tours available for groups.


Museo Bagatti Valsecchi
Via Gesù 5 • M3 Montenapoleone, M1 San Babila; bus 54, 61, 73, 94; tram 1
Entrance: €6, Wed €3. Reduced rates for children, senior citizens.
Open: Tues-Sun 13.00-17.45. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 0276006132, 0276014857

The Bagatti Valsecchi brothers spent much of their lives in the late 19th century collecting antiques from all over the country, and commissioned all sorts of period-style furnishings from skilled Lombard craftsmen in order to recreate an authentic Renaissance atmosphere in their own home. Experts will enjoy distinguishing authentic 16th-century pieces from the reproductions. Fact-sheets are provided for each room, in English, German, Japanese, French, Spanish and Italian. Exhibits include furniture, glass, ceramics and ancient weapons.


Casa Museo Boschi-Di Stefano
Via Jan 15 (2nd floor) • M1 Lima
Entrance: Admission free.
Open: Wed-Sun 14.00-18.00.
Info: tel. 0220240568

Husband and wife, Antonio and Marieda Boschi began collecting contemporary art in 1927. When Boschi died in 1987, he left over 2,000 works to the Municipality, with the condition that his home should become a museum. This small apartment presents the best of their collection (Sironi, De Chirico, Savinio, Fontana, Carrà, Arturo Martini, Campigli, Tosi, De Pisis, Dova, Morlotti, Chighine, Piero Manzoni, Casorati, Marussig…). The building itself is a fine piece of 1930s architecture by Portaluppi. The pictures are not always easy to appreciate – they cover virtually all the available wallspace, and the lighting is often inadequate – but overall the museum provides an evocative impression of the sort of Milan home in which the artists of the day gathered for evenings of music and conversation in the company of Antonio, Marieda, and their cats which appear in two of the paintings.

Marieda Di Stefano married Antonio Boschi in 1927, and the couple began collecting temporary art. When Boschi died in 1987, he left over 2,000 works to the Municipality, with the condition that his home should become a museum. This small apartment presents the best of their collection (Sironi, De Chirico, Savinio, Fontana, Carrà, Arturo Martini, Campigli, Tosi, De Pisis, Dova, Morlotti, Chighine, Piero Manzoni, Casorati, Marussig…). The building itself is a fine piece of 1930s architecture by Portaluppi. The pictures are not always easy to appreciate – they cover virtually all the available wallspace, and the lighting is often inadequate – but overall the museum provides an evocative impression of the sort of Milan home in which the artists of the day gathered for evenings of music and conversation in the company of Antonio, Marieda, and their cats which appear in two of the paintings. More information

Boschi-Di Stefano Museum: Home is where the art is

Museums such as the Uffizi in Florence, the Vatican museums in Rome or Brera in Milan are justly famous as collections that encompass a broad span of Italian art, but trying to take them in can be quite a daunting task. Smaller, less familiar museums can offer more concentrated experiences. One example in Milan is the Church of San Maurizio, Corso Magenta 15, (see page 18), in which the lovely 16th century frescoes whisk you back into the colourful world of the Renaissance.

A small museum that opened recently in the Porta Venezia district offers a very personal introduction to 20th century Italian art. From the outside, the Casa Museo Boschi-Di Stefano looks just like an ordinary home. For years, that is exactly what it was for Marieda Di Stefano and Antonio Boschi. Marieda inherited a group of paintings from her father, and soon Antonio, an engineer, shared her passion for collecting contemporary art. They started purchasing work by the avant-garde painters of their day, who began to congregate in the Boschi-Di Stefano household. Painters would relax and chat in rooms whose walls were entirely covered by paintings, while Antonio played the violin accompanied by whoever was capable of playing the piano.

Antonio and Marieda saved money whenever they could in order to buy art. They travelled incessantly in the search for new paintings, but always third class. Antonio even sold his car in 1929 to buy four pictures. On another occasion, Antonio saw an attractive fur in Paris, and on his return to Milan, gave Marieda the money and sent her to Paris to try it on and buy it. She went, dropped in at an art gallery, saw a painting by De Chirico, and bought that instead of the fur. She took the canvas back to Milan rolled up, hidden under the mattress of her bunk in the train. During the war and the German occupation, the couple moved the entire collection to their house in the country. There they hid the carefully-wrapped art works behind a false wall in the cellar, the fresh plasterwork obscured by cheeses stacked up against it, while scores of salamis dangled down from the ceiling.

After the war, the couple resumed their role as patrons of the arts and followed the art scene as one style gave way to the next. By 1973, the collection amounted to over 2,000 paintings, and Antonio – now a widower since Marieda had died in 1968, and the couple had no children – decided to donate them all to the Municipality of Milan on the condition that their seven apartments in Via Jan should become a museum. Important precedents already existed. The Poldi Pezzoli museum in Via Manzoni was created in the 19th century by collector Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli, and the Bagatti Valsecchi museum in Via Gesù was the result of of two brothers and their idea of recreating the atmosphere of a Renaissance home.

Antonio died in 1987, and the collection was legally accepted by Milan Municipality in 1988. Since Boschi had worked professionally in the public sector – one of his inventions was a special joint still used today in the smooth-braking system on the rubber-tyred Paris Metro trains – he was aware of the delays that often occur, and put a time-limit on the operation. If Milan Municipality hadn’t opened the museum by 1995, the pictures would go to the Municipality of Novara.

What exactly happened at the Comune di Milano offices over the next decade is rather a mystery. Instead of being restored and converted into the new museum, several of the apartments were rented out for residential use. The paintings were transferred to the cellars of Palazzo Reale. 1995 was drawing ever nearer and virtually nothing had been done. Luckily, local governments come and go even more rapidly than art movements. A new councillor in charge of cultural affairs managed to keep the collection in Milan, and initiated the restoration of the space.

So, considering that the Museum nearly ended up emigrating to another city, the opening of the Casa Museo Boschi-Di Stefano can be considered as a success, albeit a decade late.

Like the church of San Maurizio, the museum plunges you into a different world, this time that of 1930s Milan. The house itself was designed in 1929 by architect Piero Portaluppi, who crafted the balconies and French windows into an unusual motif. The second-floor apartment contains 200 paintings, covering much of the available wall space, just as they did in the private household. The furniture includes some superb pieces made in the same decade, including a dining table by Gio Ponti, and some lovely lamps in Murano glass.

The paintings trace the history of 20th century Italian art, from Futurism (about 1910) right through to Lucio Fontana’s blank canvases slashed with a razor blade, and the Conceptual art of the 1960s, such as Piero Manzoni’s “Impronta d’artista”, an egg marked with the artist’s fingerprint. Many of the paintings are in the style that dominated Italian art from 1920 to 1940, namely Novecento. The artists in this current were convinced of a need for a modernist reinterpretation of the Italian art tradition, in contrast to the intellectual complexity of Cubism. Mario Sironi, for example, painted landscapes, concentrating on scenes from Milan’s industrial districts.

The recent wave of interest in the Novecento is demonstrated by a show at Spazio Oberdan, which is, very conveniently, just ten minutes walk from the Boschi-Di Stefano museum. Here, the excellent lighting and the space available for the works – there are about a hundred, in a large area – make it easier to appreciate the paintings.

But the atmosphere of the Casa-Museo is well worth experiencing. In the hallway, the two portraits of the couple holding their beloved cats set the scene. According to architect Alessandro Mendini, Marieda’s sister’s son, the felines “were the real rulers of the house… they were even allowed to scratch the paintings and sharpen their claws on the carpets!” The sitting room evokes the age-old desire for a unity between the arts and life. The room is dominated by De Chirico’s enormous School of Gladiators, which is none the worse for wear after its long train journey (and the few years in the cellar with the salamis), and the Bechstein grand piano used for family concerts, bathed by the light pouring in through Portaluppi’s lovely balcony windows.

© Henry Neuteboom


Museo Poldi Pezzoli
(Poldi Pezzoli Museum) Via Manzoni, 12 • M3 Montenapoleone, M1 S. Babila
Entrance: €7 (children €5)
Open: Tues-Sun 10.00-18.00. Mon closed.
Info: tel. 02796334, 02794889

A private museum created in the 19th century by Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli, and a good example of the eclectic taste typical of the time. It has a fine collection of paintings including Mantegna, Bellini, Botticelli, Piero della Francesca and Pollaiuolo. In addition, there are collections of decorative arts, such as jewellery, clocks and watches, sundials, ceramics, glass and furniture. English leaflet available. Free audio-guide in English, Italian and Japanese. There are special audioguides in Italian and English for young children and a more scientific guide for children up to 16.



Villa Necchi Campiglio
Via Mozart 12/14  • M1 San Babila
Open: Wed-Sun 10.00-18.00. From Mid-June, a bar-cafe in the Gardens will open at 21.00.

After three years of restoration work, this villa, built in the early 1930s, has opened to the public. Designed by architect Piero Portaluppi, has a large garden, which includes a heated swimming pool and a tennis court, which were revolutionary features at the time. The original owners’ love for all the latest technology also produced the vast marble-clad bathrooms, an internal housephone system, and an immense gate that rises vertically from the ground to close the entrance at night.
Inside, there are two art collections: the Claudia Gian Ferrari collection, with 44 early 20th century works by Arturo Martini, Giorgio Morandi, Giorgio de Chirico, Mario Sironi and others, and the De’ Micheli collection of 18th century paintings and objects (Canaletto, Tiepolo, Chinese porcelain, Lombard majolica, and miniatures by Isabey that once belonged to Napoleon). Angelo Campiglio was a doctor from Pavia who abandoned his profession to form a cast-iron foundry with his father-in-law named Necchi. Necchi’s brother Vittorio created a company that would become a symbol of industrial Italy: Necchi sewing machines.


Typewriter Museum

Via Luigi Federico Menabrea 10 • M3 Maciachini / Zara
Admission free.
Open Tues, Fri, Sat, 15.00 – 19.00

The history, the technique, the attractions of the invention that revolutionized the way of communicating in the world