Painting, nature, modern art, cinema, photography and children. There are more than 60 public and private museums in Milan, which annually welcome nearly a million and a half visitors. Some are located within the walls of old restored distilleries, other in former factories or in sumptuous buildings and churches, and their structure is itself a work of art. To not miss out on anything, here are the 10 not-to-be-missed museums in Milan:
• Museo del Novecento: Large halls, central location and the impressive work of art “Neon” by Lucio Fontana, who stands on the second floor hall, overlooking the Duomo square: this is Museo del Novecento. It takes place in Palazzo dell’Arengario and contains about 400 twentieth century works of art. Here, you can admire masterpieces by Picasso, Kandinsky, Boccioni, Soffici, Fontana, and many others. The unique structure has a roof terrace connected to the second floor of Palazzo Reale by a suspended walkway.• Palazzo Reale: Located next to Museo del Novecento, Palazzo Reale has been the headquarter of the city of Milan’s Government for many years. After a long restoration, it periodically hosts exhibitions of international interest and artworks of artists such as Van Gogh or Monet.
• Pinacoteca di Brera: Pinacoteca di Brera, located in Palazzo di Brera, is a gallery of ancient and modern art, and exhibits the Italy’s most important collection of works of art from the fourteenth to the twentieth century, especially Venetian and Lombard painting. Among the most important masterpieces hosted by the Art Gallery there are “Cristo Morto” and “Polittico di San Luca” by Andrea Mantegna, “Il Bacio” by Francesco Hayez, and “Cena di Emmaus” by Caravaggio.
• Santa Maria delle Grazie: It’s not really a museum, but when it comes to art in Milan, we cannot avoid talking about Leonardo’s “Ultima Cena”. Painted by Leonardo da Vinci from 1494 to 1497 by order of Ludovico il Moro on the refectory’s wall of the Santa Maria delle Grazie’s Convent, the painting is unfortunately subject to deterioration due to the unique experimental method used by Leonardo and the effects of humidity. To visit it is necessary to buy tickets in advance. [More info here: Holy Mary of Grace in Milan and The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci]
• Natural History Museum: The Museum of Natural History, founded in 1838, is the oldest museum in Milan and now has 23 halls and nearly three million pieces, about mineralogy, evolution of plants and vertebrates, development of humans and animals, with many dinosaur skeletons. Its collection of an hundred dioramas – reconstructions of environments and living animals and plants – is the richest in Italy. Often the museum organizes “Night at the Museum” with a sleeping bag for children and young people who want to find out more about the museum, animals and nature.
• Sforza Castle: Sforza Castle, built in the fifteenth century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, hosts several museums suitable for all tastes, including Museo d’Arte Antica, Museo degli Strumenti Musicali, Pinacoteca, Museo Egizio and others. The most famous is Museo della Pietà Rondanini, which houses “La Pietà”, Michelangelo’s last work, built in the second half of the ‘500, found in the home of the Roman Marquis Giuseppe Rondinini and purchased by the City of Milan after the Second World War.
• Fondazione Prada: Co-chaired by Fabrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada since 1995, Fondazione Prada is an institution dedicated to contemporary art and culture. The Foundation, based in Venice, have organized many exhibitions of contemporary artists, film festivals and special projects. On 9 May 2015, the Fondazione Prada unveiled its new permanent Milan venue, in the South of the city, as a result of the transformation of a twentieth century distillery. There are two special areas: an area developed by the École nationale supérieure d’architecture and dedicated to children, and a bar designed by the director Wes Anderson on the style of the 50s movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel”.
• Hangar Bicocca: HangarBicocca, created in 2004 by the reconversion of a vast industrial area belonged to Ansaldo-Breda, with its 15 thousand square meters is the largest exhibition spaces for contemporary art in Europe. It organizes many free initiatives with different target groups, such as film festivals and tours, concerts and events, and there is also an area dedicated to the consultation of books, magazines and art catalogs.• Mudec: Museum of Cultures opened in March 2015 in the former Ansaldo space in via Tortona, and it hosts temporary many kinds of exhibitions and a permanent collection. Its deposits are open to visitors. The exhibitions are created to show on the ethno-anthropological collections of the City of Milan, coming from all continents. • Triennale: Triennale of Milan, overlooking Sempione Park, is an important institution for architecture, decorative and visual arts, design and fashion. It hosts major events and conferences, and has three special internal structures: a suspended walkway of 14 meters and made of glass and bamboo, Agora, a space dedicated to debates made all of wood, and Design Café, a place to relax with dozens of different ages chairs and objects of the past exhibitions.