Housed in one of the finest examples of Neoclassical architecture of Milan, Villa Reale (monumental work of Leopoldo Pollack carried out between 1790 and 1796), once home to Napoleon himself (which is why is was called Villa Bonaparte in the early 19th century), the Modern Art Gallery of Milan is an excellent stop on the fine art sightseeing tour of the city. The museum opened in 1921, undertaking the mission to gather together the substantial artistic patrimony of the Sforza Castle.
Of course, the initial aim was long ago outdone, such that at present the gallery contains hundreds of works by 19th and 20th century French and Italian artists grouped in collections which can be covered either by trends (Neoclassicism, Romanticism – in particular as it was materialized in Italy – Impressionism, Divisionism and the like) or by their origin (the Grassi Collection – which fills the second floor of the villa, the Vismara Collection – occupying a section of the ground floor – and the so-called Collezione Ottocento). Look for masterpieces by Cezanne and Gauguin (they seem to be amongst the most famed artists showcased here), but don’t miss out the works by less branded national artists (their insight into the transformation of Italy during the 19th and the 20th century is well worth visitors’ attention).
Also notable are the airy and stylized equestrian statues of Marino Marini, one of the most unique sculptors of the 20th century Italy, showcased on the superior floors of the gallery. The green refuge offered by the exquisite gardens of the villa which houses the collections can also be integrated in the museum tour. The Modern Art Gallery of Milan is included on the circuit suggested by AmaMi Card (which guarantees free entrance or substantial admission discounts, depending on the case, to tens of sights in Milan).
The Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore of Milan is located in a piazza bordered, in the opposite site, by a row of columns dating back to the 2nd century.
The Egyptian Museum of Milan is housed in the underground of the Sforzesco Castle. It contains findings excavated from Fayyum by Achille Vogliano.
The Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery was built between 1865 and 1877. It is now home to some of Milan’s historical cafes and renowned fashion boutiques.