Separated by the Pubic Gardens of Milan by Via Palestro, the Villa Reale Gardens stand out as one of the most exquisite parks of the city. The park was one of the first examples of English style gardens ever laid out in Milan. Constructed in the late 18th century on a commission by Lodovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso, they were designed by Leopold Pollack (the same architect who designed the epic neoclassical style Villa Reale) in collaboration with Ettore Silva, a reputed landscape gardener of the time.
The garden was designed such as to create the impression nature was not altered by the human intervention, at the same time blending in perfectly with the imposing presence of Villa Reale (home to the Modern Art Gallery of Milan). The garden is crossed by a feeble creek fueled by the water which flows from a waterfall and alimenting, at its turn, the central lake on which there is a small shaded island. On the island there is temple with circular plan dedicated to the god of Love (Amore). The stream is here and there pegged out by small scenic wooden bridges. Also interesting is the fact the important species of trees and shrubs of the park are marked with signs which feature the name of the species (the common name, as well as the scientific name), their origin and sundry other explanations.
What is notable about this garden is it is opened only to children and to the parents accompanying them. There’s no jogging or cycling allowed here, as if the main goal of the authorities managing the park is to preserve, as much as possible, the tranquility of the place. A children play area was, however, laid out in the park. If possible, tourists should definitely pay a visit to the Villa Reale Gardens: it’s not just the little ones who will enjoy the visit, but also the accompanying adults.
The Church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro was built between 1472 and 1482. It is best known for containing elements of Bramante’s trompe d’oeil technique
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.
The Modern Art Gallery of Milan opened in 1921. It is located in Villa Reale, once home to Napoleon. It contains works by 19th and 20th century artists.