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Milan’s Treasures of Art and Architecture
There’s no end to what Milan, Italy, has to offer. From its beautiful sights to its unique and exciting food and culture, there’s something for everyone, and it draws in visitors and new residents from all corners of the world.
Arguably the most exciting thing, however, is the art of Milan. Around every corner, you can find famous works of art from anywhere between the 14th and 20th century, as well as buildings you won’t see the likes of anywhere else in the world.
From contemporary art to classics, if you want to experience the art and architecture of Milan, this is where to start.
Let’s take a look at the notable treasures in Milan, from the buildings that have stood the test of time to the paintings that will never be forgotten.
The Cathedral of Milan (Duomo di Milano)
Although we can’t be sure when construction began on this breathtaking structure, experts estimate that it was somewhere around 1386. The style was meant to emulate the gothic beauty of Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Tecla, both of which have remains that are still visible today.
The construction was such a collaboration between the best artists and architects in Milan that no one person has credit for the cathedral. Names as famous as Leonardo da Vinci had a hand in its design.
Work still hasn’t finished on the cathedral, with renovations always underway. Since 2016, they have been working on restoring the dome and the tiberium.
Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco)
Another beautiful work of architecture you can visit in Milan is Sforza Castle, or Castello Sforzesco. It began construction work in around 1358, around the same time as the Duomo di Milano.
Not only is this a structure with some immense history, that has been through so much, but the complex also plays host to multiple museums, including:
- The Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco
- The Museum of Musical Instruments
- The Egyptian Museum
- The Museum of Ancient Art
- The Antique Furniture & Wooden Sculpture Museum
- Applied Arts Collection
Visitors and residents alike can explore the parts of the complex that interest them most or book a guided tour to see everything.
Rondanini Pietà by Michelangelo
Famous for his sculptures, Michelangelo created some beautiful works of art in the 16th century and his name is now famous all over the world. One of his most well-known works is the Rondanini Pietà, a marble sculpture that he worked on until the very end of his life in 1564. It can be found in the Museum of Rondanini Pietà at Sforza Castle.
Although it is technically unfinished, many experts say that it should not be considered as such, but thought of as a representation of continuous progress.
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
A major landmark in Milan, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is Italy’s oldest shopping gallery that’s still active today. Its iron and glass roof was built in the 19th century and makes for a very unusual aesthetic in its setting, drawing people to it when they visit Milan.
It hosts a hotel—Galleria Vik Milano (formerly the Town House Galleria)—as well as various high-end stores, restaurants, and bars. It’s mostly famous for playing host to some of the oldest establishments in Milan.
For example, you can find Biffi Caffè here. This was founded in 1867 by the pastry chef to the monarch, Paolo Biffi. You can also find other stores that have been around since the 1800s, steeped in history and still relevant today.
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
One of the most famous artists of all time, Leonardo da Vinci has lots to offer in Milan and there’s nothing more standout than The Last Supper. It can be found in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie and portrays the reaction given by each of Jesus’ apostles when he broke the news of his impending betrayal.
Fondazione Prada is an experimental program that exhibits all different art mediums, from cinema to photography to philosophy and more. It was created in 1993 so it is admittedly a little more modern than a lot of the art and architecture of Milan, but it is a worthwhile visit and a true testament to Milan’s ability to stay relevant while showcasing so much classic art and architecture from the past.
Brera Gallery (Pinacoteca di Brera)
From the 13th to the 20th century, there has been so much incredible art, and Brera Gallery showcases a great deal of it, with pieces such as the San Luca Altarpiece by Andrea Mantegna. The building itself was built on top of a 14th century monastery of the Humiliati religious order and is steeped in history as much as the works of art that it houses.
Reservations are required to visit, so make sure to plan ahead so you can see all this great gallery has to offer.
The Kiss (Il Bacio) by Francesco Hayez
This 1859 painting can be found in the Pinacoteca di Brera and is Francesco Hayez’s best work. In the history of western art, this is one of the most intense paintings depicting a kiss and has been known to be one of the most famous portrayals of romanticism.
It has been the subject of much speculation and commentary due to its unusual angle for the time it was painted in and the many interpretations that people have drawn from it.
Basilica of San Carlo al Corso
San Carlo al Corso is a neo-classic church situated in the very heart of Milan. Designed and built in the 19th century, it was dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo. He was the Bishop of Milan during the bubonic plague in the 16th century, and the church serves as a memory of him even today.
It is still an active church and many people come to worship here regularly.
Milan Has So Much to Offer
Milan has so much to offer in numerous areas, but its art and architecture is unparalleled. From buildings that have been in progress for many centuries such as the Duomo di Milano to paintings that were finished lifetimes ago like The Last Supper, there is something to fascinate everyone here—and many are sadly unaware that Milan houses the works of artists that are household names around the world.
If you’re considering moving to Italy, why not consider Milan? With amazing food, culture, and art you’ll never get tired of looking at, you can’t go wrong.
If you need help taking that all-important first step to apply for citizenship or want to just check your options, contact us today at the Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program and let us walk you through the process. Life in Milan is just a phone call away.