Milan for Art Lovers
By Viator, May 2015
Milan was ruled for many years by families such as the Visconti and the Sforza, both of which did what ruling families often did - they patronized fashionable artists of their eras. This meant Milan became a major Italian center for art starting in the 14th century. Leonardo da Vinci (who is usually more closely associated with his native Tuscany) lived and worked in Milan for nearly 20 years - during which time he painted one of the most famous frescoes in all of Italy.
Today, there are several art museums and attractions in Milan worth checking out, spanning several centuries and styles. Here are a few of the art highlights of a visit to Milan.
- The Last Supper - Leonardo’s masterpiece is a must-see in Milan, there’s no question about it. The trouble is that last-minute planning means you’ll probably miss out. Tickets are sold out months in advance sometimes, and a visit lasts only a very strictly timed 15 minutes - so you need to plan ahead or book a guided tour of Milan that includes a visit to The Last Supper. The latter is an especially good idea if you’ve got limited time in the city.
- Duomo - Milan’s many-spired cathedral is fairly sparse-looking inside, but the architecture is a fine example of the Gothic period. A visit inside the cathedral is free (viewing the city from its rooftop is not free, but totally worth it on a clear day).
- Pinacoteca di Brera - If you’ve only got time for one art museum in Milan, make it the Pinacoteca di Brera. It’s home to one of the best collections of Italian painting you’ll find anywhere, including work by Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, Bramante, Bellini, and Piero della Francesca. Other (non-Italian) highlights include work by Rembrandt, Rubens, Picasso, Hayez, and Mantegna.
- Triennale Design Museum - Fans of design will definitely want to stop into the Triennale in the Parco Sempione. The museum chronicles the history of contemporary Italian design, and although many of the items on display are household goods or other things meant to be used, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s art.
- Museum of the 20th Century - As the name suggests, this museum (Museo del Novecento in Italian) is all about the 20th century, and features both Italian and non-Italian art. You’ll find work by Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Modigliani, and Kandinskij, among others.
- Galleria d'Arte Moderna - The eras depicted at Milan’s “Modern Art Gallery” are historic now. This is where you’ll see paintings from the 18th-20th centuries, featuring artists such as Manet, van Gogh, and Gauguin.
Let other people buzz through Milan without learning to see its artistic side - but don’t miss out on that yourself.
Tours & Tickets
Discover Milan and see da Vinci’s masterpiece, 'The Last Supper,' on this 3.5-hour tour. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Santa Maria delle Grazie to ... Read more
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)
Get up close to one of the world’s most famous paintings on this 3-hour walking tour of Milan including a visit to Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper.’ With ... Read more
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
Discover some of Milan’s greatest artistic treasures on this 2-hour walking tour. Enjoy skip-the-line entrance to Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper,’ one of ... Read more
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
See Leonardo da Vinci’s largest collection of original drawings at the incredible Codex Atlanticus exhibit in Milan. Spread over two venues — the Pinacoteca ... Read more
Duration: 30 mins - 1.5 hours