Internationally, Milan is well known as one of the capitals of design and fashion. The Design Week in spring and the prestigious Fashion Weeks are an important showcase for the professionals in these fields, that’s a given. But, on top of all those exclusive appointments, there are plenty of exhibit spaces open to the public year-round. The result is a unique mix of traditional and contemporary art that can give the international fashionista a good amount of artsy inspiration and pure wonder. Here’s “just” a selection of Milan’s Art Museums: may the exploration start!
The Royal Palace hosts an incredible number of blockbuster exhibitions, from the Impressionists to Escher. But there’s occasionally room for applied arts too, such as jewellery or Gianfranco Ferré’s fashion. The Sala delle Cariatidi, restored to new splendour, is a must see. In occasion of the Milan Fashion Week SS17, the Prince’s Apartment has been open to the public and reinvented by 9 different artists.
Piazza del Duomo, 12 (M1 and 3 Duomo)
Museo del Novecento
Home to many runway shows this September (among them, Stella Jean and Uma Wang), the museum gathers over 400 masterpieces from the 20th century: the Italian futurists, Modigliani, De Chirico, the 60’s avantgarde and many international masters. On the top floor you’ll be amazed by a unique view on the Duomo, the symbol of Milan, framed by a neon installation signed by Lucio Fontana. Up for fine dining? You can spoil yourself at the Giacomo Arengario restaurant, also overlooking the main square.
Via Marconi, 1 (M1 and 3 Duomo)
Rotonda della Besana
This location has been chosen multiple times by designers to showcase their new collections: Marni did in 2015 and Alberta Ferretti did it for SS17. The beautiful late baroque complex used to be a cemetery; now the quiet portico is perfect to take a stroll and the former church hosts exhibitions.
Via Enrico Besana, 12 (M3 Crocetta + tramway 16/bus 65)
Re-located in a former distillery in 2015, the Foundation reflects Miuccia Prada’s passion for contemporary art and collectionism. It can be seen from afar thanks to the golden building towering in the middle of an otherwise quite empty part of the city. The 20,000 square meters former industrial complex hosts a sophisticated selection of contemporary art pieces and installations. To complete the picture there’s a cinema for thematic screenings and the Caffé Luce, designed by Wes Anderson. Yes, the director!
Largo Isarco, 2 (M3 Lodi TIBB)
This is not exactly a conventional museum, but certainly a mecca for the fashion-savvy. Giorgio Armani’s career, that spans for over 40 years, is beautifully showcased through his fashion creations. A sober, minimal setting and a theatrical lighting make the experience almost spiritual. The exhibition Emotions of the Athletic Body is opening on September 23rd.
Via Bergognone, 40 (M2 P.ta Genova FS)
MUDEC – Museo delle Culture
In the heart of the ultra-hip showrooms-packed Tortona area, the Museum is inside the Acciaierie Ansaldo (the building used to be a steel mill). The permanent ethno-antropological collection currently ranges from ornate Buddha statues to beautiful African masks. The temporary exhibition rotates: last year the museum hosted one about Barbie. Inside you can also find an elegant bistrot and a design-savvy store, perfect to make yourself a chic gift. At the moment you can visit the exhibition Crafting the future: stories of craftmanship and innovation organized by the Camera Nazionale della Moda itself.
Via Tortona, 56 (M2 P.ta Genova FS)
PAC – Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea
The Padiglione is home to thoroughly curated contemporary art exhibitions and to art performances. Once you walk past the gate, you will recognize the facade as it’s completely decorated by street artists Blu and Ericailcane. In the past it hosted an exhibition dedicated to Yayoy Kusama and, more recently, to Jean-Paul Goude. Tod’s is presenting its SS17 collection here.
Via Palestro, 14 (M1 Palestro)
GAM – Galleria d’arte moderna
The main art collection is focused on the XIX century and is on display inside Villa Belgiojoso, built between 1790 and 1796. In Spring 2016 the Gallery featured an exhibition about Robert Dallet in collaboration with the maison Hermès, for which he created designs for two decades. A great complement to the visit is a walk in the garden of the Villa and in the neighboring park.
Via Palestro, 16 (M1 Palestro)
Photography is certainly crucial to fashion and its allure. This foundation is entirely devoted to this form of art. From social documentary photography to, from time to time, fashion photography. The beautiful catalogues, published by Contrasto, are a must-have for any pro; and if you want to revamp your skills, they also organize workshops.
Via Meravigli, 5 (M1 Cordusio)
In the the Quadrilatero della Moda, among the widest variety of luxury botiques, the facade of Palazzo Morando hides a lovely courtyard and a small museum. The interiors include chandeliers and frescos and the collection of paintings show a long forgotten Milan and its urban development. A changing handful of fashion pieces and costumes from a collection of over 6000 is always on display in the rooms, accompanied by a temporary exhibition.
Via Sant’Andrea, 6 (M3 Montenapoleone)
La Triennale di Milano
Hosting temporary exhibitions that specifically focus on design and decorative arts, the Triennale is at the edge of one of the green spots in Milan, the Parco Sempione. In over 80 years, the Palazzo dell’Arte that hosts the Triennale, has been a link between art, industry and world-famous designers. At the caffè, you can enjoy the view on the park, accompanied by an aperitivo or a coffee. The space is multifunctional: there’s also room for performances in a theatre or a study session at the library.
Viale Alemagna, 6 (M1 and 2 Cadorna)
Pinacoteca di Brera
The most important public museum in Milan, located in the historical, charming Brera district. Here you can dive into some of the finest examples of traditional Italian art: Raphael, Caravaggio, Mantegna, and many others. Trussardi (that also has a foundation dedicated to art) chose it as a setting to present its AW 16/17 collection. Bottega Veneta, instead, chose the adjoining art academy (Accademia di Brera) to present its collection SS 17 and celebrate its 50 years!
Via Brera, 28 (M2 Lanza)
Fabbrica del Vapore
An other fine example of industrial archeology, former company Carminati & Toselli has been turned into a multifaceted cultural center. The activities offered are definitely diverse: events, performances, laboratories, exhibitions and workshops. With a special attention to new technologies and to the maker culture in design and fashion.
Via Giulio Procaccini, 4 (M5 Monumentale)
Galleria Carla Sozzani
Corso Como 10 is a real institution for the most fashionable crowd. Aside from a spectacular rooftop and an ultrafancy concept store, there is a gallery owned by the sister of Franca Sozzani, the Italian Vogue Editor in chief. Check what’s on display, as it is an unparalleled reference when it comes to fashion photography exhibitions. The cherry on the cake? Milan’s new Fashion Hub is within walking distance.
Corso Como, 10 (M2 and 5 Garibaldi FS)
Besides running its core business and creating the famous calendar, Pirelli is somehow one of the epitomes of Milan. In 2004 the company created a non-profit organisation too: they converted a former industrial space in a unique venue that hosts and promotes contemporary art. DSquared2 chose it as the location for the 20th anniversary of the brand back in 2015. Hungry? You can stop by the lively restaurant, Dopolavoro Bicocca.
Via Chiese, 2 (M1 Sesto Marelli + bus 51/87)
Are you planning a trip to Munich or London? You can get our fashion-artsy tips here and here!
|By Giuliana Catalano – Senior Content Marketing Manager|