Antica Corte Milanese

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What to visit in Milan

We give you a short list of some places to visit in Milan reachable in few minutes when you are in our B&B

  1. Feast your eyes on the Last Supper

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci in the church of Santa Maria della Grazie ( Corso Magenta..on the left of Cadorna station)  is arguably the greatest painting of the Renaissance, capturing the dramatic moment at which Jesus reveals one of his disciples will betray him. It’s so realistic that you can imagine the shock, amazement and hostility of the religious followers. The work is testament to a troubled history. Paint started peeling away in Renaissance times, when the wall was used for target practice. In the 19th century it was a backdrop to the French invasion and nearly got destroyed in the Second World War. It’s a miracle that it has survived. But thanks to a restoration the fresco can now be seen in full colour. Make sure that you reserve a timed, 15-minute slot in which to visit the masterpiece.

  1. Scale the Duomo

The Duomo of Milan (Piazza Duomo just a 10 minutes walk in front of Castello Sforzesco)   is an amazing sight. Stretching up high above the piazza del Duomo, it’s the third largest church in Christendom. A staggering 3,500 statues and 135 spires adorn the marble structure, which has a Baroque and neo-Gothic façade, as well as five bronze doors carved by different artists. It’s no wonder that it took 500 years to complete and building work continues today. To appreciate this beautiful cathedral in all its glory, take the lift to the roof, from where you to get a breathtaking view of the Alps on a clear day.


  1. Bag the latest styles at the Rectangle of Gold

Milan is a haute couture powerhouse, where fashions jump from catwalk to clothes rail in weeks. But unlike the sprawling district in Paris, Milan’s boutiques fit into one square, bordered by via della Spiga, via Manzoni, via Sant’Andrea and via Montenapoleone: the Quadrilatero d’Oro (red subway stop Montenapoleone). Designer named stores include Armani, Chanel, Missoni, Prada and Versace. Even if the price tags are out of your budget, you can spend many a happy hour admiring the window displays. And if you can only just afford €500 on a pair of Miu Miu boots, rest assured: the shopkeepers will gladly accept plastic.


  1. Explore the labyrinthine Castello Sforzesco

With 12 mini-museums and vast archives running all the way from Palaeolithic history through to 1950s furniture, Castello Sforzesco really needs an entire day ( a 2 minutes walk at the right side of Cadorna Station). During the 15th century, it was home to the aristocratic court of Ludovico ‘il Moro’ Sforza, patron of Leonardo da Vinci, but fell into decline under French rule until it was restored with the help of architect Luca Beltrami. You can see the results in the 20th century recreation of the Renaissance tower above the façade. Museum highlights include the Museo d’Arte e Scienza, with displays on Da Vinci’s life; the Palazzo d’Arte, a fantastic showcase for design that was once home to the Triennale; the Pinacoteca di Castello, a gallery of luminous early Renaissance works by Bellini and Mantegna; and Civiche Raccolte d’Arte Antica, a sculpture gallery.

  1. Have a Venice experience in Milan

It may not be Venice, but Milan is still a city of canals and a quiet cruise on its still waters throws light on historic gems. Navigli Lombardi (subway green line stop Porta Genova FS  then take Via Vigevano in front of the station and you’ll be there). organises a tour that takes in the ancient washhouses of  vicolo dei Lavandai , a place where you can find how Milano was till the 60’s, and San Cristoforo, the Scodellino bridge and the old Darsena port. Built in 1603, this port sits at the confluence of two canals linking Milan with the Ticino and Po rivers, and now hosts a sedate trade of riverside shopping, dining and drinking. As the canal stretches across the city, you’ll find boutiques, antiques restorers, bookstores and nightspots lining the banks and side streets. Navigli Lombardi runs full days out in June and July, with return transport to Gaggiano, lunch and afternoon bike hire (€45). Tickets can be bought at Studio Mitti, an artist’s shop opposite the boat’s dock, by telephone or on board.

The Darsena ( our ancient harbor) is very packed up with life.. you’ll find a lot of music pubs and restaurants.

  1. Savour the flavours of Milanese cuisine

Milanese restaurants serve the most varied of all Italy’s regional cuisines. Here you’ll find creamy pasta, dairy and meat products, alongside international foods such as maki and curry. Our top pick for sampling Milanese food is Antica Trattoria della Pesa . Located in a 19th-century weigh station, it has a cosy ambience and some of the finest funghi porcini pasta in the city; the generous Costoletta alla Milanese (breaded veal) barely fits onto its serving plate. Any deviations from tradition will be strongly discouraged, including the sacrilegious squeezing of lemon juice on to your cutlet.

Other typical dishes are:

RISOTTO ALLA MILANESE –  Saffron rice with beef marrow

PANETTONE – A tall, fat cylindrical egg-rich cake studded with candied fruit and  served traditionally at Christmas and Easter. A specialty of Lombardy.

GORGONZOLA – This is an Italian blue cheese that is creamy in color with greenish blue veining throughout. Young, it has an almost sweet, mellow flavor, although once aged it can become quitowerful.

BRESAOLA – Cured raw beef similar in appearance to prosciutto. A specialty of Lombardy, but enjoyed across Italy. Most often it is served as an appetizer, sliced very thin and drizzled with olive oil and lemon.

BUSECCA ( Trippa alla Milanese)

CASSOEULA – cabbage and  less noble parts of the pig, as the rind, feet, head and ribs


Other restaurants :

Pane e Acqua  Address Via Bandello 14 , (close to Last Supper )    phone    02 4819 8622         high quality restaurant

Osteria alla Tavola Balorda  Address  Via Ugo Bassi   21    Just  a  walking distance from the metro station of Garibaldi and from underground ( green line 2)                    phone    02 69901360

Ristorante da Cecco  Address   Via Solferino 34 Brera Zone  Metro: Green Line stop Moscova        phone  Tel. 02 6552141

Anema e Cozze   Address   Corso Sempione 41 ( behind sforzesco castle)    phone     02.3319260               average prices    €20 – €25  fish and pizzeria

Ciriboga   Address    Via Savona, 10  Metro: yellow line stop Maciacchini  phone: 02 8322496  The dishes included in the menu are deliberately meeting of traditional flavors of Italian cuisine with culinary traditions of distant lands such as India and Maghreb

Wok of Milan  Address  Via Cenisio 10/b/12  near Corso Sempione take Via Losanna and there you are.  As you can tell from the name of the type of oriental cuisine is a fusion of Japanese and Sino-Vietnamese.
The two points in favor of this restaurant most suitable for a group of friends that a couple are: the buffet eat as much as you can and being able to compose their own dish.
For “the dish” means that you can catch fish and raw meat is required which will crush the plate in front of your eyes as well as vegetables and noodles cooked or rather I should say sauteed in a traditional wok.

Phone  02 317439.    Prices: Lunch From Mon. to Tue: €. 13,50 From Fr. To Sun. : €.  16.95  Dinner From Mon. to Tue.: €. 16,95 From Fri do Sun. : €. 19,95

Trattoria La Magolfa        Address  Via Magolfa 15 (  Navigli area ) – Tel. 02.8321696  Good  restaurant and Pizzeria

Ristorante Steak house “ La miniera “  Via Gioacchino Murat  2 Metro Yellow line stop Zara  Tel  02 3943 5480        Excellent meat and cooking. The location is beautiful. Inside seems to be an old mine, outside there is a garden terrace in the scene is the old Milan with balconies full of flowers railing


  1. Open-air museum…… a cemetery….!!

The Cimitero Monumentale is therefore a complex architectural landscape whose contents can be interpreted at different levels. The cemetery not only offers a means of witnessing the passage of various artistic phases, but also provides a window on the history of the city and the forms of self-representation adopted by its inhabitants. Studying the names engraved on the tombs is like checking up a sort of Milanese Who ‘s Who of those times, since to be buried in the Cimitero Monumentale was proof of economic stability and social status.  Tuesday to Sunday 8.00am to 6.00pm  Monday Close

Subway  Green line Stop Garibaldi
Railway Station: F.S. Garibaldi

Cimitero Monumentale – tel. 02 88465600 address Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale

  1. Grab a really great coffee

Milan is the city in which Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz first formulated the concept of launching US espresso bars, where the public can work, meet and relax. Italy’s cafés already fulfil this role with zeal: local baristas remember your name and usually start preparing your usual beverage the moment you walk in. But forget the tall frappuccino; you can expect your caffè lungo macchiato or cappuccino scuro to be served fast and short. Around the Duomo, there’s a clutch of elegant cafes at which to relax. Fashion-conscious shoppers should try the bustling Caffè Miani aka Zucca ( Piazza Duomo 21 tel. 0286464435   a piece of milan’s history). Bar Bianco is a popular place to drink a caffè macchiato while planning your itinerary on a sunny weekend. Cocktail Bar and cocktail happy hour in the green of Sempione Park. Every day, the Bar Bianco offers one of the coolest  aperitivo in Milan       Address   Viale Ibsen 4  From Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 until 1:00 at night. Friday and Saturday from 10.00 am until 2.00 am in the morning  Metro:  Green Line Stop LANZA


  1. Be both cheap and chearful at happy hour

With cocktail prices fixed between €8 and €10 thrown into the aperitivo mix, the city’s hippest bars all attempt to out-chic the others at the daily happy hour: DJs are hired for the early evening slot, seasonal concoctions are chalked up on the wall, and mountainous buffets pull in the punters.

SEMPIONE AREA  ( Corso Sempione)

BHANGRABAR   (  Tel 02 3493 4469 Cso Sempione 1 close to Arco della Pace)   serves Indian specialities; In front of this one you’ll find DESEO  very international and always crowded.Three hundred metres before  on this side of the road there is  and Radetzky ups the stakes with marinated artichokes and oysters on ice. Fresco Art has a selection that includes frittata, smoked salmon pasta, celery and walnut salads. Many bars include garden areas, so you can drink a Campari in the fresh air. Volo has a traditional English-style walled garden, with wrought iron furniture shaded by trees, whereas the garden at HClub is re-landscaped seasonally. It’s a great place in which to lap up free salvers of Russian salad and queen olives. In the cocktail stakes, Nottingham Forest and Cuore are in the premier league.

  1. Sing Oh Bej! Oh Bej! at the top of your voice

The Sant-Ambrogio church, named after the city’s patron saint may not be as beautiful to look at as the Duomo, but it’s more important to the locals and has shaped its history. Between the ninth and 15th centuries, it hosted the coronations of nine Italian kings (four of them are buried here too). Once a year the streets surrounding the church sing with the Oh Bej! Oh Bej! Festival. Bustling crowds sample traditional food such as pancakes, roast meat, chestnuts and mulled wine, and stalls sell crafts and antiques. The exhibition of a silver statue of Ambrogio and a special morning mass brings the church to life.

  1. Shop in one of the oldest malls in the world

For a spot of luxury shopping, look out for the glass-roofed arcade near the Duomo: the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (NB this is spelt in the guidebook as Emanuelle II). Opened in 1867, its designer Giuseppe Mengoni pioneered its complex marriage of iron and glass 20 years before the Eiffel Tower was built. The ceiling vaults are decorated with mosaics representing Asia, Africa, Europe and America and at ground level there are mosaics of more local concerns. It has a grand style that’s given it the name of il salotto di Milano (Milan’s living room). Prada’s flagship store has been in business here since 1913, and it’s recently been joined by Louis Vuitton and Gucci. The upper echelons of Milan society all pass through at some point. Suited businessmen will happily pay €10 for a coffee on the terrace at Zucca, and elegant grandmothers carry chihuahuas in Fendi bags. It’s the perfect place to people watch while enjoying a coffee and a slice of cake.

  1. Support AC Milan (or maybe FC Internazionale!)

The San Siro Stadium is an essential place of pilgrimage for any football fanatic. This 85,000-seater is home to two rival clubs, AC Milan and FC Internazionale, which are among the most powerful in the world. Even on non-match days, a tour and a visit to the museum gives an insight into the powerhouse of football. Highlights include 1928 Inter cufflinks, documentation of Berlusconi’s purchase of the football club in 1986, and white ceramic busts of AC Milan stars Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard. There are plenty of items of historical interest, such as old table football sets, photographs from the stadium’s first Milan-Inter match and a display of football boots showing how they’ve developed over the past century.


  1. Spin on the Bull’s Balls

In the center of what I think is the world’s prettiest mall is a tile image of a prancing bull who, if you look closely, is missing his private parts. They’re missing because in their place is a rather pronounced hole. What gives, you ask? Well, the tile floor at the center of the gorgeous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II bears the insignia of four prominent northern Italian cities. The bull represents nearby Turin, and for some reason the tradition developed that spinning on the bull’s balls would give the spinner good luck. The practice persists to this day, and you can’t walk through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II without stopping for a spin. This Milanese tradition isn’t just for tourists, either. In fact, if you stop and watch passers by for awhile, you’ll notice people who do a twirl on the poor bull’s balls while in mid-conversation, then just keep walking and talking to their companions. And the fact that the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is right next to the Duomo means it’s easy to swing through and do the twist even on a tight schedule. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for a short video of some people doing a twirl on the bull.)

  1. Become a drama queen at Opera at La Scala

If you can get hold of, or afford, a ticket to La Scala, opera-lovers worldwide will hold you in higher esteem. La Scala has a massive stage, 2,015 seats and some of the best acoustics in the world, and it draws in the finest performers. Named after the Santa Maria della Scala, the 1381 church that once stood on the same site, the opera has a dramatic past. It was inaugurated in 1778 with an opera by Salieri, and many great works by Puccini, Verdi and Bellini have premièred here, so it has become a symbol of national pride. Thanks to a vital restoration and change of direction, it now stages cutting-edge opera with fluid scene changes and seat-back screens, which offer an instant translation of lyrics. With Stéphane Lissner at the helm, the programme is innovative and varied: an operatic version of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth will debut at La Scala in 2011.

  1. Rummage around the flea markets

Shopping heaven though it is, there are days when trawling through centro Milano in search of the latest Prada pantsuit can lose its appeal. So pick a sunny day, leave the heels at home and hit the city’s best markets. The Fiera di Senigallia has long been the city’s top flea market. Its specialities include’70s vintage disco gear, compilation CDs, Peruvian baby clothes and old comic books. Over a canal or two, the popular Papiniano stocks a mix of goods, including plants, shoes, homewares and linens, with the odd food stall thrown in. Expect to use your elbows if you want to get near the cut-price clothes. Head up north to check out underrated Isola, a bargain hunter’s delight that has ceramics, end-of-season clothes by Miss Sixty and offcuts of coloured Como silk. It’s also good for fresh fruits and veg, and ultra-cheap, à la mode fashions. Fauché is the fashionistas’ favourite for cut-price designer shoes. On the last Sunday of each month, around 400 antiques dealers display their wares at the Antiquariato sul Naviglio Grande. Running for two kilometres alongside the city’s oldest canal, the market pulls in close to 150,000 people, and is a good source of design classics, ranging from furniture and silverware to vintage watches.

  1. Club with the hipsters in Corso Como

If you mix a ‘work hard, party hard’ ethic and the young, upwardly mobile set of Milan, what do you get? An incessant demand for places in which to party like there’s no alarm clock. The city certainly delivers, with pockets of vibrant nightlife in the swanky Corso Como area ( at the right side of Porta Garibaldi railway station, subway red line stop Porta Garibaldi) . Here you’ll find  the evergreen and fashionable Hollywood disco. If you fancy a night of wild dancing on the bar, then visit Loolapaloosa. It offers great aperitivos, with heaps of food from the buffet to accompany your cocktail. The outdoor terrace is small but comfy, and the tunes tend to stick to big commercial hits.


  1. Kick back with the locals at their favourite lake

In the summertime, relax at Milan’s man-made lake, Idroscalo. Originally carved out as a watery landing strip by Mussolini, who thought sea planes were the way forwards, it is now a zone of water, forest and parkland measuring eight square kilometres (three square miles). Its resort conjures up images of Italy’s Mediterranean coastline, with beach clubs, barbecue areas and topless sunbathing; the shore is lined with pedalos. Kids like playing in the two large open-air swimming pools and children’s pool on the eastern shore (€5 weekdays, €7 weekends). Energetic families can follow the six-kilometre (four-mile) hiking and cycle path around the lake, whereas kids can try the jungle gyms and skateboard ramps by Idroscalo’s western Ingresso Villetta entrance; there are teepees, swings and climbing frames for tots nearby.

  1. Resurrect Roman Milan

They came, they saw, they built. Although Milan got its name from the Celts who arrived in about 388 BC, it was the Romans who left the oldest marks on the city. You can see their artefacts in several museums, including the Civici Musei del Castello and the Civico Museo Archeologico, and trace their presence in the city itself. The Pinacoteca and Biblioteca Ambrosiana mark the location of the forum, while the watchtowers are still intact in the garden of the Civico Museo Archeologico. On the via de Amicis, you can see the remains of the vast amphitheatre, unearthed in 1935. And the Columns of San Lorenzo, which were probably once part of a temple or civic bathhouse, stand ten metres (33 feet) high on corso di Porta Ticinese. Along with the other monuments, they bring the splendour of Roman rule to life.



Parks are rare in Milan, and this 47-hectare (116-acre) expanse behind Castello Sforzesco is the city’s biggest. Since its 1996 clean-up, it has become a firm favourite with everyone from canoodling teenagers to summertime drinkers in the park’s outdoor bars.

Milan’s French rulers began carving the orchards, vegetable gardens and a hunting reserve out of the remains of the ducal gardens in the early 1800s. It was only in 1893 that it was landscaped, by Emilio Alemagna. He opted for the then-popular ‘English garden’ look, with winding paths, lawns, copses and a lake. The Arena Civica, the mini-colosseum designed in 1806 by Luigi Canonica and located at the back of the park, is another addition from the city’s Napoleonic period. The rulers of the Roman-inspired French Empire used it for open-air entertainment – chariot races and mock naval battles (for the latter, the arena was flooded with water from nearby canals). Today, it’s used for athletic events and the occasional outdoor concert.

There’s a handful of museums and galleries in the park, including the Palazzo d’Arte (Triennale); near this palazzo are several abstract sculptures from the 1970s. Be sure to visit Giò Ponti’s 1933 Torre Branca, Milan’s answer to the Eiffel Tower, which offers visitors a 360º view of the entire city. At the base of the tower is designer drinking spot Just Cavalli Café (02 311 817,, closed Sun).

Construction of the Arco della Pace, currently under renovation (until 2010) at the northern end of the park, was begun in 1807 to a design by Luigi Cagnola, to celebrate Napoleon’s victories. Work proceeded too slowly, however, and came to an abrupt halt in 1814 when Napoleon fell from power. Construction resumed in 1826 – with a few changes to the faces in the reliefs – and the arch was eventually inaugurated on 10 September 1838 by Austrian Emperor Ferdinand I. Among its decorative sculptures are the Chariot of Peace by Abbondio Sangiorgio, and Four Victories by Giovanni Putti.



(Giardini Indro Montanelli)

As corso Venezia takes you away from the built-up areas of the city centre towards the built-up areas of its outskirts, you’ll notice the green expanse of the Giardini Pubblici on your left. The gardens were designed in the English style by Giuseppe Piermarini in 1786, and enlarged in 1857  and you’ll find the Palazzo Dugnani. , Ulrich Hoepli Planetarium, designed by Arch. P. Portaluppi in 1929, and the Coffee Pavilion, designed by Arch. G. Balzaretti, said “the Balzaretto”, now headquarters of a kindergarten

The park’s present arrangement – complete with natural elements, such as waterfalls and rocky outcrops – was the work of Emilio Alemagna for the 1871 World Fair. In addition to the galleries and museums on its outer edges, the park has a bar with outdoor tables (open 8am-7pm daily) and a small children’s train (€1.50 a ride).


Transport Metro Palestro, Porta Venezia, Repubblica or Turati. Bus 43, 61, 94/tram 1, 2, 9, 11, 20, 29, 30.

Telephone 02 8846 3289

Open Mar, Apr, Oct 6.30am-9pm daily. May 6.30am-10pm daily. June-Sept 6.30am-11.30pm daily. Nov-Feb 6.30am-8pm daily.

Admission €3; free Sun and under-18s.


Giardino della Villa Reale di Milano   in front of Giardini Pubblici di Porta Venezia   with a awesome villa built in the early nineteenth century by the architect Leopoldo Pollack; This is one of the main monuments of neoclassicism in Milan. Among the works in the neoclassical Villa there are those of  Antonio Canova.


23. Museums

23.a Civico Museo Archeologico

The buildings of the archeological museum are as interesting as the collections within. The initial courtyard was once the entrance to the Monastero Maggiore; and a detailed model, just past the museum’s reception, shows Milan’s Roman incarnation as Mediolanum.

Indeed, almost the entire ground floor is dedicated to artefacts from the important settlement Mediolanum, including the unique Coppa Trivulzio Diatreta from the late fourth century, a cup created from a single piece of glass, and the wonderful stone Zeus head from the first or second century. The impressive prehistoric section covers the Milan area from the Neolithic period to Roman times.

Downstairs you’ll find a stretch of Roman city walls (built under Emperor Maximian in the third century) and an area (newly refurbished in 2008) containing a small selection of Greek artefacts. There’s also a surprisingly extensive collection of Buddhist art from the ancient kingdom of Gandhara (now northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan), bought by the museum in the 1980s.

The gardens at the rear hold a polygonal tower, originally part of the city’s defence system; later, it was transformed into a chapel for the monastery. The round interior is decorated with 13th-century frescoes, including a vivid image of Jesus beaming his stigmata through the air to St Francis of Assisi.


Corso Magenta 15

Area Milan

Transport Metro Cadorna/bus 50, 58, 94, 199/tram 16, 18, 19.

Telephone 02 8645 0011

Open 9am-1pm, 2-5.30pm (last entry 5pm) Tue-Sun.

Admission €2; €1 reductions; free after 2pm Fri
Museo Bagatti Valsecchi
This late 19th-century neo-Renaissance palazzo – residence of the Bagatti Valsecchi brothers, Fausto and Giuseppe – opened as a museum in 1994, a tribute to the extraordinary tastes of the two collectors. When not messing around on penny-farthings and early hot air balloons, the brothers shared a taste for all things Renaissance, and strove to reproduce 15th-century palazzo life in their own home. Inside are numerous works of Renaissance art, Murano glass, Flemish tapestries and objets d’art dating up to the 19th century. Artefacts are not labelled, in order to preserve the feel of a private home; instead, information sheets in English are available in each room, and free English-language audio guides can be borrowed from the ticket desk.


Via Gesù 5

Area Milan

Transport Metro Montenapoleone/bus 61, 94/tram 1, 2, 20 .

Telephone 02 7600 6132

Open 1-5.45pm Tue-Sun. Closed Aug.

Admission €8; €4 Wed.


23.b Museo di Milano e Storia Contemporanea

Fully renovated in 2002, the 18th-century Palazzo Morando Attendolo Bolognini is at once a living museum exhibiting the Countess Bolognini’s collection of porcelain, sculptures and other objects in what were her private apartments, and home to a section of the city’s civic art collections. The bulk of the artwork exhibited here consists of Luigi Beretta’s collection, donated in 1935.

These paintings have helped historians create a thorough picture of the city as it was during the Napoleonic era and under Austrian rule, and chart its urban development over the years. The ground floor has been remodelled as a space for visiting exhibitions; recent shows have focused on Maria Callas, African photography, wartime resistance and Islamic art.


Palazzo Morando Attendolo Bolognini,
via Sant’Andrea 6

Area Milan

Transport Metro Montenapoleone/bus 61, 94/tram 1, 2, 20.

Telephone 02 8846 5933

Open Museum 2-5.30pm Tue-Sun. Exhibitions hours vary. Closed Aug.

Admission Museum free. Exhibitions free-€5.



Founded in 1609 by Cardinal Federico Borromeo, this 400-year-old project began life as one of the first ever public libraries. The world-class paintings on display, the palazzo setting and the scores of untitled statues dotted around reinforce the impression that Milan has more fine art in one city than most other countries have in their national collections.

Borromeo’s private art collection of 172 paintings (now in rooms one, four, five, six and seven) were put on display in 1618. There’s Titian’s Adoration of the Magi and a portrait of a man in armour in room one; Jacopo Bassano’s Rest on the Flight from Egypt, Raphael’s cartoon for The School of Athens and Caravaggio’s Basket of Fruit in rooms five and six; and works by Flemish masters, including Jan Brueghel and Paul Bril, in room seven.

Renaissance works from outside the Cardinal’s original donation are in rooms two and three, including Sandro Botticelli’s Madonna del Padiglione and Leonardo da Vinci’s Musician. The rest of the Pinacoteca contains later works. A lachrymose Penitent Magdalene by Guido Reni – darling of the Victorians – is in room 13 on the upper floor. There are two works by Giandomenico Tiepolo in room 17. The De Pecis’ donation of 19th-century works, including a self-portrait by sculptor Antonio Canova, can be found in rooms 18 and 19. The Galbiati wing houses objects such as a lock of Lucrezia Borgia’s hair (between rooms 8 and 9) and the gloves Napoleon wore at Waterloo (room 9).

The Biblioteca’s collection includes Leonardo’s original Codex Atlanticus, a copy of Virgil with marginalia by Petrarch, an Aristotle with a commentary by Boccaccio, and autograph texts by Aquinas, Machiavelli and Galileo, among others. Pages from da Vinci’s ancient work, especially those showing his inventions, are revolved every few months in glass cabinets in rooms one, two and three.


Piazza Pio XI 2

Area Milan

Transport Metro Cordusio or Duomo/bus 50, 58/tram 1, 2, 3, 4, 12, 14, 18, 19, 20, 27 .

Telephone 02 806 921

Open Pinacoteca 10am-5.30pm Tue-Sun. Library open to scholars only.

Admission €8; €5 reductions.


23.d Museo & Tour San Siro

An essential place of pilgrimage for any football fanatic, small but chock-full of AC Milan and FC Inter paraphernalia. Highlights include 1928 Inter cufflinks, documentation on Berlusconi’s football club purchase in 1986, and white ceramic busts of AC Milan stars Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard.

There are also plenty of items of historical interest, including old table football sets, photos from the stadium’s first Milan-Inter match and a display of football boots showing how they have developed over the past century. Extend the experience with a tour of the stadium.


Stadio Giuseppe Meazza,
Piazzale dello Sport 1,
Gate 14

Area Milan

Transport Bus 420/tram 16 .

Telephone 02 404 2432

Open 10am-5pm daily; times may vary on match days.

Admission Museum €7; €5 reductions. Museum & tour €12.50; €10 reductions.


23.e Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci

This impressive science and technology museum is a fitting tribute to Milan’s revered former resident. One of the most fascinating halls here displays modern models based on da Vinci’s sketches, in the fields of military theory, ballistics and aeronautics – but this is just one section of a 10,000-item collection.

Originally a 16th-century monastery, the buildings have had various incarnations – military hospital (Napoleon), barracks (Italian army) and rubble (World War II Allied bombs). Established just after the war, the current museum was finally inaugurated in 1953, and is now the largest of its kind in Italy. Wandering through, it’s hard to think of any aspect of industry or technology that isn’t covered. There are displays dealing with metallurgy, printing, bell-casting, minting, engines and horology, as well as the sciences of physics, optics, acoustics and astronomy. An exhaustive computing section shows the evolution of calculating techniques from Pascal’s abacus of 1642 to the first IBM processor. Exhibits are laid out so you can see the evolution of a cartwheel into a Vespa, or a Morse code transmitter to state-of-the-art mobile phones. The museum’s interactive labs, where children can learn, hands on, about the background and application of cutting-edge advancements in science and technology, was expanded for a second time during a temporary closure in 2008, and new galleries were also added.

The museum’s biggest draw is the Enrico Toti, the first submarine constructed in Italy after World War II. It was launched on 12 March 1967 as an SSK (hunter-killer submarine), primarily as a deterrent against the nuclear-propelled torpedo-launchers of the Soviet Army. It was discharged from service in 1999, and the following year the Italian Navy donated the vessel to the museum. After transport and extensive preparation, it opened to the public in December 2005. Viewing regulations are strict: groups consist of a maximum of six helmeted visitors, led by a museum guide. Tickets (€8, no reductions) can be reserved in advance or on the day, and paid for at the museum’s reception.


Via San Vittore 21

Area Milan

Transport Metro Sant’Ambrogio/bus 50, 58, 94 .

Telephone 02 485 551


23.f Museo Poldi Pezzoli

It’s the curious touches that make the Museo Poldi Pezzoli so memorable. The room after room of tasteful collections, collected by notable art enthusiasts Giuseppe and Rosa Poldi Pezzoli, and later expanded by their son Gian Giacomo, was opened to the public in 1881.

One room upstairs contains a selection of early gold timepieces, and an armoury downstairs exhibits over 100 coats of flamboyant armour worn by Europe’s poseur princes. The paintings are widely admired, and include Pollaiuolo’s Portrait of a Young Woman, Vincenzo Foppa’s Portrait of Francesco Brivio and Botticelli’s Virgin with Child. The collections of attractively displayed jewellery, tapestries, glasswork, porcelain, paintings and books can occupy further hours.


Via Manzoni 12

Area Milan

Transport Metro Montenapoleone/bus 61, 94/tram 1, 2 .

Telephone 02 794 889, 02 794 802


23.g Pinacoteca di Brera

A stupendous collection of fine art from Caravaggio to Bramante, often considered Lombardy’s finest art collection. The Pinacoteca began life as a collection of paintings for students of the Accademia di Belle Arti in the same building; the paintings were harvested from churches and monasteries suppressed by the Napoleonic regime.

Although it can’t compete with the Louvre or London’s National Gallery, the Pinacoteca is of a size that makes for an easy visit. The collection is modest in breadth, but exquisite in quality, and covers works by major Italian artists from the 13th to the 20th centuries. It has its share of important works of art, including the exercise in foreshortening that is Andrea Mantegna’s Dead Christ; a mournful Pietà by Giovanni Bellini (both in room VI); Piero della Francesca’s Virgin and Child with Saints (room XXIV); the disturbingly realistic Christ at the Column by Donato Bramante, and Caravaggio’s atmospheric Supper at Emmaus (room XXIX). Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese are all here, and rooms VIII and IX contain a series of huge pieces.

The palazzo was begun in 1651 by Francesco Maria Richini for the Jesuits, who wanted it to house their college, astronomical observatory and botanical garden. In 1776 part of the building was allocated to the Accademia di Belle Arti, and in 1780 Giuseppe Piermarini completed the main portal. The Pinacoteca was established as a study collection, with plaster casts and drawings for the students at the academy. Today, the 38 rooms are arranged in a circuit that begins and ends with 20th-century Italian painting. Two are glass-walled art restoration rooms, open to the public.

The Orto Botanico behind the Pinacoteca (open Apr-June 9am-noon, 3-5pm Mon-Fri; July-Mar 9am-noon) is a lovely little spot, stacked with aromatic herbs, climbers and vegetable gardens (for research, not the pot). Europe’s oldest ginkgo biloba trees came over from China in the early 1700s and stand 30m (98ft) tall in the south-west corner.


Via Brera 28

Area Milan

Transport Metro Lanza or Montenapoleone/bus 61, 67/tram 1, 2, 8, 12, 14.

Telephone 02 8942 1146

Open 8.30am-7.30pm Tue-Sun (last entry 6.45pm).

Admission €5; €2.50 reductions; free under-18s, over-65s.


23.h Palazzo d’Arte (Triennale)

This superb museum was once home to Milan’s huge design culture event, held every three years. Now its vast collection of chairs, Olivetti typewriters and other design masterpieces are revolved every six months in a funky, open-plan showroom, flanked by exhibits in an outdoor atrium.
At least two major design-themed temporary exhibitions are held in the Palazzo d’Arte at any one time. At the time of writing, a junk-house building installation, an extravaganza of Australian home design and a show by Cassina, the celebrated Milanese furniture company, were all in full swing. Even non-art lovers will enjoy browsing the books in the excellent ground-floor bookshop. The DESIGN café next door has a proud jumble of designer chairs, and dishes up tea and cakes to an arty mob, all peering at their purchases through D&G glasses.


Viale Alemagna 6

Area Milan

Transport Metro Cadorna/bus 57, 61, 94/tram 1, 19, 27 .

Telephone 02 724 341

Open 10.30am-8.30pm Tue-Sun.

Admission €8.

23.i Teatro alla Scala & Museo Teatrale alla Scala

If you can get hold of, or afford, a ticket to La Scala, opera-lovers worldwide will hold you in higher esteem. When the new season begins on 7 December (the feast of Sant’Ambrogio, Milan’s much-loved patron saint), paparazzi and TV crews descend to catch shots of the fur- and jewel-heavy ladies and their suave male companions.

The opera house takes its name from Santa Maria della Scala, the 1381 church that once stood on the same site. It was commissioned by Regina della Scala, wife of Bernabò Visconti, but torn down in 1776, when the Palazzo Reale was damaged by a fire, leaving the city with no principal theatre. Giuseppe Piermarini was given the task of building a replacement, and what a fine job he did: La Scala has a massive stage, 2,015 seats and some of the best acoustics in the world, and it draws in some of the very finest performers.

It was inaugurated in 1778 with an opera by Salieri; many of the best-known works of Puccini, Verdi, Bellini and others premièred here. La Scala is also a significant symbol of national pride. Destroyed by heavy bombing during World War II, it was swiftly rebuilt after the war’s close and reinaugurated in 1946 with an opera conducted by one of Milan’s favourites, Arturo Toscanini. Three years of refurbishments were completed in late 2004, although controversy about the directorship continues.

The museum, created in 1913, gives a taste of La Scala’s splendour. Visitors can see a room dedicated to portraits of the greats, from Puccini to Caruso, and stand inside boxes 13, 15 and 18 for a peek at the splendid auditorium itself.


Piazza della Scala

Area Milan

Transport Metro Duomo/bus 61/tram 1, 2 .

Telephone 02 7200 3744

Open Museum 9am-12.30pm (last entry noon), 1.30-5.30pm daily (last entry 5pm).

Admission Museum €5; €2.50-€4 reductions.


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