The Best Art Exhibits in Milan in Spring 2016

You’ve chosen to study in Italy, a country famous for its food culture, its stunning landscapes and its art history. But as soon as you land in Milan, you realize that it’s a city famous for fashion and design, yes, but also business, finance and… maybe soccer. What about the art? Compared to other Italian cities like Rome and Florence, it might not be as blatant, but art is definitely an important part of Milan’s identity, as long as you know where to look.

In fact, there are so many choices in a city like Milano, it can be overwhelming. So we’ve selected a few of the best temporary art exhibits you can visit around the city… right now! They all feature Italian artists, focusing on restored artwork, urban paintings, futurism, art in Milan in the early 20th century or contemporary art, take your pick!

Rediscovered BeautyPortrait of Malta Knight by Caravaggio
To showcase recently restored artwork, the Intesa Sanpaolo Foundation has put together an exhibit of a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, other objects and archaeological artifacts from museums all over Italy (and one museum in Slovakia). Artists include Caravaggio, Perugino and Lotto, with a total of 140 works restored and brought together in Milan. Definitely worth a visit!
: 1 April-17 July 2016
Where: Gallerie d’Italia, Piazza della Scala 6; M1 M3 Duomo
Admission: €5

Mosè Bianchi: Lost Milan
Ever wonder what Milano looked like in the 1800s? From the Duomo, to the Colonne di San Lorenzo to the Navigli, many monuments were the same, but the details surrounding them were very different. Check out this exhibit of paintings of the city by an Italian artist from Monza.
When: 18 March-26 June 2016
WhereGAM Manzoni, Via Manzoni 45; M3 Montenapoleone
Admission: €6

Umberto Boccioni: Genius and MemorySelf-portrait of Boccioni, 1909
Futurism was an art movement that took over Italy at the turn of the 20th century. And one of the most famous and influential futurist artists was Umberto Boccioni, who passed away 100 years ago. Find out more about this very Italian style and see 280 works of art by Boccioni, including drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, books, magazines and documents.
When: 23 March-10 July 2016
WherePalazzo Reale, Piazza del Duomo 12; M1 M3 Duomo
Admission: €13

Milan Galleries Between the Two Wars
Between WWI and WWII, the city of Milano was fertile ground for artists and intellectuals, who often met in the galleries around the city. A number of artistic movements were born or matured, including futurism, chiarismo and aeropittura. This exhibit brings together 100 works of art, including paintings, sculpture and related documents, for a complete look at the art of the time.
When: 25 February-22 May 2016
Where: Fondazione Stelline, Corso Magenta 61; Mi M2 Cadorna
Admission: €8

La grande scacchiera installationBonus 1-day art event:
BAG-Bocconi Art Gallery
Did you know you can see a wide range of contemporary works of art right here on the Bocconi campus? Every year, the campus opens its doors to the public during Bocconi Art Gallery, offering guided tours, talks with the artists themselves and live music. It’s a fun evening, especially for anyone looking to find out more about the Italian and international contemporary art scene.
When: 12 May, starting at 5:30pm
WhereBocconi University, Via Sarfatti 25; M3 Porta Romana
Admission: Free

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

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