Located in downtown Milan, the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum expresses the taste and lifestyle of a wealthy, cultured, aristocratic Milanese family at the end of the 19th century, and is one of Europe's most important historic house museums. Here, the precious permanent collections of 15th and 16th-century Italian art and decorative arts, assembled by the Bagatti Valsecchi brothers during the second half of the 19th century, are found in their original positions. Because of this, the museum not only offers Italian Renaissance art, but also presents an authentic "magic window" onto Milan's aristocratic past, fascinating to many kinds of visitors.
Watched over by the Madonnina, the cathedral's high marble spires represent the city's most famous artistic and religious monument. The dimensions of Christendom's third-biggest church are still awe-inspiring, spanning 108 meters (354.3 feet) high and 158 meters (518.3 feet) long. A range of architectural styles feature the doorways of the 17th Century, the central balcony from the late 18th Century and the three main upper windows which are early 19th Century pieces by Carlo Amati. The Gothic cathedral's vast interior is grand with its impressive pillars, vaults, streamlined arches and wonderful statuary surrounding the nave. Light filters in through a crevice in the wall, positioning itself on the sundial that frames its main entrance. Gleaming statues carved out of Condoglian marble are perched atop its spires. Whether one is seeking religious fulfillment or is simply sightseeing, the Duomo leaves one spellbound.
Construction of the "Galleria", a typically 19th-century public building that is now one of the oldest shopping malls in the city, began in 1865 following a series of competitions for the design won by Giuseppe Mengoni. Large plaster eagles support its dome, 47-meter high and made of iron and glass. Note the designs on the interiors and the Neo-Renaissance-style stucco work and graffiti. The floor of the building was completely restored in 1966 in a rare mosaic showing the emblems of Italian cities.
Once the palatial symbol of Visconti nobility, the Sforzesco Castle was reconstructed by Francesco Sforza, the duke of Milan in the 15th Century. He rebuilt parts of the original fortification, including the Torre del Filarete that towered 70 meters (230 feet) above other small towers. Deemed to be one of the largest bastions in Europe, this monumental citadel underwent several expansions and changes in the years that followed. When under Spanish rule, it was largely used as a barrack, before parts of it were demolished by Napoleon's troops. In the 19th Century, it was salvaged by architect Luca Beltrami. He rebuilt several parts of the castle, including the towers, the moat and even restored the historic Torre del Filarete to its former glory. The castle's archways give way to the regal courtyards of Rocchetta and Ducal, which house several archaeological and art museums.
The sprawling expanse of the Piazza del Duomo forms the heart of the city of Milan, both geographically and in terms of its cultural significance. While the site has always been an important reference point for town planners, the origins of this public square can be traced back to the 14th Century. It was Azzone Visconti who demanded the removal of the taverns that surrounded the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Basilica of Santa Tecla, thus creating one of Italy's most iconic squares. Although both churches were eventually demolished to make way for the ambitiously designed Duomo, their foundations are still visible to this day. Today, the vast open space is crowned by the Duomo on one side and the Royal Palace on the other. Alongside them are sweeping arcades designed by Giuseppe Mengoni. A space surrounded by some of Italy's most recognizable structures, the Piazza del Duomo has rightly been termed as the focal point of Milan.
The Basilica of St. Ambrose was originally built in 379 CE at the burial site of those lost in the Roman persecution. Restored, reconstructed and redesigned several times over the years, the basilica as it stands today features a Romanesque design of unusual proportions, and is revered as a stellar example of Medieval architecture. The interior is made up of a long body with three aisles that open on to secondary spaces and intriguing chapels that date back to the Sforza dynasty. Around every corner lie impressive architectural details and artistic embellishments like gilded statues, rich carvings, and other ecclesiastical art. Of special note are the ciborium, the gold altar, and paleo-Christian mosaics. Here lie the mortal remains of St. Ambrose himself, alongside those of St. Gervasius and St.Protasius, which can be viewed in the crypt.
For art aficionados, Museo Del Novecento is a welcoming change as it highlights artistic expressions of the 20th Century till date. You will find masterpieces by Italian masters, renowned world artists and established local artists in its themed rooms. Set inside the Palazzo dell’Arengario with its grand staircase being the focal point to all the levels, you will find each area celebrating Italian art which includes varying forms such as surrealism, abstract and spatialism as well as sculptures. Besides its permanent collection of 400 works, it also hosts temporary exhibits, concerts and educational events.
Housed within the historic Biblioteca Ambrosiana, the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana was formed in 1618 following Cardinal Federico Borromeo's generous donation of artworks. The collection included a total of 172 paintings that can be traced back to the 17th, 18th and early twentieth centuries, with significant artworks such as The Musician by Leonardo, The Basket of Fruit by Caravaggio and the Vases of Flowers by Jan Brueghel. There are also several paintings that can be sourced to Venetian, Flemish and Lombardian schools of art, besides a few bronze and marble sculptures as well.
A historic Milanese theatre, with stage and a 1,800-seat auditorium. Belonging to the Municipality, for many years it was run by the Piccolo Teatro organization. It stages contemporary dance performances. It also offers a wide selection of classical and light music: since 1998 it has been run by the Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi, that organizes concerts here featuring top Italian and international singers.