Images

Great things to do in Milan

  1. By Kevin
  2. On Oct 23, 2017
  3. Europe
  4. Travel Tips

While Milan (Milano) may not be the first city a tourist thinks of when planning a trip to Italy, it has more than its share of attractions, not to mention history. Here're the great things to do in Milan, for all its workaholic reputation as the money and business center of Italy, it's a city with an influential past and a rich cultural heritage.

Castello Sforzesco

The Castello Sforzesco, held by the Visconti and the Sforza families who ruled Milan from 1277 to 1447 and from 1450 to 1535 respectively, was built in 1368 and rebuilt in 1450. The 70-meter Torre de Filarete is a 1905 reproduction of the original gate-tower. The Castello houses the Musei del Castello Sforzesco, a series of museums, one of which features sculpture. The collection includes the Pietà Rondanini, Michelangelo's last masterpiece, brought here in 1953 from the Palazzo Rondanini in Rome. Other museums feature a collection of decorative art, prehistoric and Egyptian antiquities, a collection of musical history, and an armory of weapons and medieval armor. The picture gallery includes paintings by Bellini, Correggio, Mantegna, Bergognone, Foppa, Lotto, Tintoretto, and Antonello da Messina. Between the two rear courtyards of the Castello, a passage leads into the park, originally the garden of the dukes of Milan and later a military training ground.

Address: Piazza Castello, Milan

Pinacoteca di Brera

The Renaissance Palazzo di Brera, built between 1651 and 1773, was originally a Jesuit college, but since 1776 has been the Accademia di Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts). Along with a library and observatory, it contains the Pinacoteca di Brera, one of Italy's finest art museums. Much of the art was acquired as churches closed or were demolished, and the museum is especially strong in paintings by northern Italian masters. As you enter through the courtyard, you'll see an 1809 monument to Napoleon I by the sculptor Canova.

Notable among 15th-century pictures are works by Mantegna (Madonna in a Ring of Angels' Heads and Lamentation). The Venetian masters are represented by Giovanni Bellini (Lamentation and two Madonnas), Paolo Veronese, Titian (Count Antonio Porcia and St. Jerome), and Tintoretto (Finding of St. Mark's Body and Descent from the Cross), and portraits by Lorenzo Lotto and Giovanni Battista Moroni. The Lombard masters, disciples of Leonardo da Vinci, are well represented, as are artists of the Ferrarese school. Correggio of Parma is represented by a Nativity and an Adoration of the Kings. Artists of the Umbrian school include Piero della Francesca (Madonna with Saints and Duke Federico da Montefeltro) and Bramante (eight frescoes Christ of the Column). The most famous picture in the gallery is Raphael's Marriage of the Virgin (Lo Sposalizio), the finest work of his first period. Outstanding among foreign masters are Rembrandt (portraits of women, including The Artist's Sister), Van Dyck (Princess Amalia of Solms), Rubens (Last Supper), and El Greco (St. Francis). It's not all old masters - you'll also find works here by Picasso, Braque, and Modigliani, too. Most visitors miss the Brera's little secret: the Orto Botanico di Brera, a charming garden in one of its inner courtyards, a hidden oasis of exotic trees, pools, and flower beds with a 19th-century greenhouse.

Address: Via Brera 28, Milan