No Plans for the Weekend? Join the XXI Spring FAI Day!

XXI Spring Day PosterOn March 23rd and 24th 2013 FAI, the Italian Environment Fund, will open the doors of most of its treasures to the public and will attract a great amount of people throughout Italy for this event.

It will be an occasion to discover and rediscover Italian cultural heritage, to enjoy it but also to become more aware of what Italy offers in terms of art, history, culture and beauty. In past editions the event has involved more than 6.5 million people every year.
FAI is a national foundation that protects and restores historic buildings, art works and landscapes with the purpose of opening them to public once back to good conditions.

Villa scene
The Gardens of Villa Del Balbianello, Lenno (Como)

This year you will have the opportunity to choose among 700 places, and in some of them you will also find tourist guides (without set fees) that will help you discover the places. Churches, castles, historical buildings and archaeological areas, villas, courts, gardens, universities and much more are waiting for you for a special weekend to spend with your friends!

What can you visit in Lombardy?
Our region offers multiple sites to visit, spread on all the territories of the provinces. Have a look at the FAI website to discover what the provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Mantova, Milano, Monza and Brianza, Pavia, Sondrio and Varese offer you.

Building at night
Palazzo Serbelloni, Milano

A weekend in Milan, plenty of places to choose from!
If you planned to stay in Milan for the weekend, there’s no better way to welcome spring than choosing among the places FAI opens for you. You can choose among multiple places spread through all the city: for some of them you don’t need a subscription to FAI to enter, while for some others you’ll be required to register to the foundation first.

Have a look at the FAI website to explore all the possibilities Milan offers you for this weekend.
Some of the most attractive places in the city are waiting for you, such as Palazzo Serbelloni, Chiesa di San Fedele, Sinagoga Maggiore, La Cavallerizza, Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, Gallerie d’Italia and many others.

Bocconi building
Roentgen Building, Università Bocconi, Milano

Did you know that the Bocconi Roentgen building participates in the Spring Fai Day?
Roentgen Building, Università Bocconi, Milano
On Saturday March 23rd and Sunday March 24th from 10:00 to 17:00 the University opens the Roentgen building to visitors. There is also the possibility to join the guided tour in English, that leaves the Bocconi Campus at noon.

For more information, check out the Bocconi website and

Brera Docet

Brera courtyardRight in the heart of Milan there’s a peaceful place where you can stop and focus on beauty, history, intelligence and creativity. Pinacoteca di Brera is such a romantic spot! What’s this word for? “Pinacoteca” in Italian means “picture gallery” and Brera is the Milanese quarter where it is settled up. This is an area that a long time ago was outside the city, in the country-side (“brera” in fact comes from the Lombard word “braida”, which means “meadow”, grassy field close to the town), but then the urban expansion has included it in the historic centre of the city.

There are at least two reasons to say you cannot miss to visit this picture gallery.

First of all, it has a great collection of Italian masterpieces you won’t see anywhere else, some are internationally renowned, some other are less famous abroad, but represent an important factor of Italian art development. Among the most famous paintings Pinacoteca boasts Raffaello’s The Marriage of the Virgin, then the impressive The Lamentation of Christ by Mantegna, theMontefeltro Altarpiece by Piero della Francesca, Caravaggio’s astonishing The Supper at Emmaus, and one of the most famous symbols of Romanticism The Kiss, by Francesco Hayez.

Then, the unique atmosphere of Brera makes everything more special, so that visiting the entire neighborhood helps leaving problems and worries behind. You‘ll be surprised how much quiet you can get here, while still being in a busy and crowded city like Milan.

Outside Brera

Walking down Via Brera while having an ice-cream with friends, just after lessons have finished, or in a Saturday afternoon, finally peeping out in the colonnade of Palazzo Brera, is a pleasure without price. Once you go up its stairs to the first floor you’ll get the impression of being an 18th century inhabitant entering the Pinacoteca in a wise atmosphere. You’ll enjoy many treasures of the past, meanwhile projecting yourself to the future of the newest updated restoration techniques.

The Pinacoteca is in fact strictly linked to Accademia di Belle Arti, the academy of art established in 1776 with the aim of collecting genius and furthering studies and cultural knowledge in Milan. Its promoter was Maria Theresa of Austria, who decided to gather in Palazzo Brera a centre for the development of knowledge, culture and the study of the fine arts. And that’s why it is important to keep considering these places worthy to be visited, as active and vital cores of learning!

At the end of XVIII century Brera was already important, being the seat of the Astronomical Observatory of the city, founded around 1762 and 1764. So Maria Theresa made a clever and suitable decision to settle there the Accademia di Belle Arti and Pinacoteca, and afterwards the Braidense library, still active nowadays.

What else can I say? It’s difficult to describe beauty, but once you meet it you’ll recognize it, that’s why I warmly recommend you to have a careful look to this extraordinary jewel in the very heart of Milan. This upcoming week-end you have one more reason: the entrance to the art gallery will be free Saturday 19th May from 7.20pm until 1am.

Enjoy it!

Palazzo di Brera – Via Brera, 28
Phone: +39 02 722 631
Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday 8.30am-7.15pm. The ticket office closes at 6.40pm

9/11, Ten Years After

This coming Sunday is the tenth anniversary of 9/11, a day that’s marked in world history as one of the most shocking events in recent years—to the point that the date alone, ‘nine eleven’, is enough to elicit acknowledgment and bitter memories. Besides the inherent tragedy, the fact that the whole world practically could see it happening live on the TV and online just added to the collective anguish—and so it was with the aftermath.

The City of Milano has organized two exhibitions and other events to commemorate the day. Opening tonight (invite-only), 11.9, Il giorno che ha cambiato il mondo. Dieci anni dopo. Documenti e immagini (‘9/11, The Day that Changed the World. Ten Years After. Documents and images’) is a photographic exhibition that tells the story of the day, and those immediately following, through a selection of pictures from the greatest photographers—James Nachtwey, Steve McCurry, Susan Meiselas among others. It is held in the ground floor rooms at Palazzo Reale. In the building’s inner courtyard, there’s also a contemporary art installation by Antonio Paradiso called L’ultima cena globalizzata | Global Last Supper, made up of 20 tons of Twin Towers debris, while the history behind this work is shown in another room with 70 pictures. Both exhibitions last until October, 2 and entrance is free.

Two concerts are also scheduled for Sunday, September 11:

  • 5.30pm, in the courtyard of Palazzo Marino
    Civica Orchestra di Fiati di Milano: New York, New York (music by Kander, Bernstein, Barber)
  • 8pm, at La Scala
    Orchestra laVerdi, directed by Zhang Xian: Schicksalslied op. 54 for mixed chorus and orchestra by Brahms, and War Requiem op. 66 by Britten.

Finally, tonight at 6.30pm at Palazzo Clerici a panel (in Italian) will revolve about the themes in Britten’s War Requiem. Entrance is free.

11.9, Il giorno che ha cambiato il mondo and L’ultima cena globalizzata | Global Last Supper
September 10—October 2
Palazzo Reale
Piazza Duomo 12
Opening hours: daily 9.30am—7.30pm except Mondays: 2.30pm—7.30pm; Thursdays and Saturdays: 9.30am—10.30pm. Last admission: one hour before closing
Entrance free

Milano’s Very Own Comic Museum

In a country with a rich history in the visual arts (painting, sculpture, architecture) and in a city which is especially focused on modern visual art forms such as fashion, design and publishing, it’s no wonder Milano is also the home to a long history of another visual art – that of comics.

The brand-new comic museum is in a cool location, very visible from the street (see picture on the right!), using the old Motta factory which used to make sweets. And with a great name like Wow Spazio Fumetto, how could any comic fan pass up the opportunity to learn about the history of Italian comics?

It all started in 1908 with the publication of Corriere dei Piccoli, Italy’s first newspaper-like comic for children. Gradually other comics were added to the group of works published in Milano, such as Topolino (Mickey Mouse!), Tex Willer, Diabolik, Lupo Alberto and Dylan Dog.

Managed by the Franco Fossati Foundation (sporting the name of an important Italian cartoonist), the museum also focuses on Italian cartoons, comic strips and illustration. So, whenever you’re in the mood for a look at childhood story-telling, or just to see some creative Italian writing and drawing, you know where to go!

Wow Spazio Fumetto
Viale Campania 12 (near Città Studi)
Tel. 039.2915041
Open: Tues-Fri 3-7pm; Sat-Sun 3-8pm
Admission: free

Visit to the Kartell Museum

Kartellmuseo first opened in 1999 to commemorate 100 years of the factory and 50 years of the brand-name. The museum, located just 20 kilometers south of Milano, has recently been renovated and is new and improved and open to the public.

The over 1,000 pieces are organized into the four categories of events, design, technology and communication, and all five decades of the plastics brand are represented. Furniture, lighting, car accessories and lab items are included, along with drawings, photographs, prints and catalogues. Visitors can also see design prototypes and multibrand items, and learn about the designers behind the products.

To get to the museum, you’ll need to get off at the Famagosta subway stop (Green line) and take a 20-minute bus towards Pavia to the Binasco stop. After your visit, be sure to stop by the gift shop to see their T-shirts and check out any of the latest Kartell products on sale!

Kartell Museum
Via delle Industrie 3, Noviglio (MI)
Tel. 02.90012269
Open: Tuesday-Friday 2-6pm
Admission: Free