As much as Milan is famous for fashion and football, the northern Italian city is also a place of art, history, great buildings and museums. I visited Milan’s best art gallery, the Brera Art Gallery (Pinocoteca di Brera), and the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci, Italy’s largest science museum and devoted to the great painter and scientist that it’s named after.
Brera Art Gallery or Pinocoteca di Brera is housed inside a fine building, Palazzo Brera, that used to be a Jesuit college. Having been open since 1809, the gallery has over 10 rooms filled with art, including some great oil paintings of Venice as well as Biblical scenes. There are paintings from Italian masters including Caravaggio, Bellini and Raffaello Sanzio. I was not actually a huge fan of art before, but visiting Europe and places like the Brera gallery made me one. Once you’re finished, it’s worth it to take a walk through the neighborhood for its cafes, boutiques, and art galleries.
The National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci has a lot of good exhibits including the region’s steel manufacturing heritage, space, and an exhibit featuring detailed models of Leonardo da Vinci’s conceptual devices like flying wings and hydraulic ventilators.
However, what is really cool is that there is an entire hall featuring 19th and 20th century trains, and another hall filled with World War I and II military planes as well as two ships. There are also an actual submarine in the courtyard that used to be used by the Italian Navy from 1965 until it was retired in 1999.
How to get there:
Brera Art Gallery- get off at Montenapoleone station on line 3/yellow line or Lanza station on line 2/ green line (walk east)
National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci- get off at S. Ambrogio station on the line 2/ green line (the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio is near here too)
St Mark preaching in Alexandria by Bellini
These paintings of Venice were my favorite (above and below)
Valle Romita Polyptych (panel painting), created in 1410-1412 by Niccolò di Giovanni di Massio.
Martyrdom of St Erasmus by Sebastiano Ricci (done sometime between 1694 and 1697)
There are some 20th century artworks as well, like this one from 1928 by Alberto Savinio
Courtyard of the building where Brera Gallery is located
An actual ship inside the museum- the 1921 schooner San Giorgio, later renamed Ebe and used by the Italian Navy as a training ship until 1958
Space suit worn by NASA astronaut
Hydraulic machine used for making steel
Models of devices designed by Leonardo da Vinci (above and below)
Former Italian Navy submarine Enrico Toti
Luna Rosa catamaran, which took part in the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2013
Very, very early helicopter