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.
Dating back to 1778 as a fitting replacement for the Teatro Ducale, the stately Teatro Alla Scala has since come to be one of opera's most legendary venues. The historic theater has hosted most of Italy's operatic masters alongside renowned international artists. Designed by noted architect, Giuseppe Piermarini, the theater's neoclassical facade has a palatial theater with six tiers of private boxes, topped by an intricate ceiling. Home to the prestigious La Scala Theater Orchestra, La Scala Theater Ballet and La Scala Theater Chorus, it remains one of the city's liveliest cultural venues. Apart from operas, the theater also hosts plays, ballet shows and numerous other cultural events throughout the year.
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 Pinacoteca di Brera is located in a 1615 building constructed by Francesco Maria Richini. The gallery was founded in 1776, and it holds important works by Italian and foreign masters from 1400 to 1900. Of special note are the paintings by Vincenzo Foppa, Lorenzo Lotto, Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, Giovanni Bellini, Andrea Mantegna, Tiziano, Correggio, Bramante, Gentile da Fabriano, Piero della Francesca, Caravaggio, Rubens, Hayez. This is the permanent home of Sposalizio della Vergine by Raffaello, the Cristo morto by Andrea Mantegna, Madonna and Saints by Piero della Francesca and the Madonna in trono e Santi by Ercole Dè Roberti. There are a bookshop and a cafeteria, and guided tours are available. It is located within the city's notable palace Palazzo di Brera which was constructed by architect, Francesco Maria Ricchino, in a Milanese Baroque style.
The museum of the service station was founded in 1966 by Guido Fisogni at the start of his work in the building and maintenance of service stations. The collection, one of a kind, has over 7000 pieces which put together the evolution of these industrial products. Inside the museum there are 200 period petrol pumps as well as several oil cans, lubricators, number plates and designs linked to the industry. Admission is free.
Located within the beautiful and monumental Villa Reale di Monza, the Teatrino di Corte or the court theater is a premium art venue for theater lovers. This theater hosts some very popular plays and events apart from musicals. Simplistically designed in a square shape with a central elevation that works as a stage, the theater nevertheless gets the best of the art staged on it. The rare wooden ceiling guarantees finely tuned acoustic sounds, thereby considerably dramatizing every uttered sound. All in all, if you are in Monza, ensure you attend a show in the Teatrino di Corte della Villare Reale and make your trip a long lasting memory.
Santa Maria alla Fonte is one of the oldest churches of the charming city of Milan. The church site has been visited by several archaeologists whose discoveries reveal that an earlier edifice stood here since the early years of the Roman Imperial regime. However, primary recorded evidences pointing out to the existence of a basilica apportioned to Santa Maria ad Fonticulum date back to the 10th Century. A Benedictine monastery was built adjacent to the church in the 12th Century. This was followed by heavy alterations in the 14th Century. Several of its time-worn elements have been wonderfully retained, including its gabled roof, brick exteriors, lancet and the portal.