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Milan is a bustling cultural hub and one of the most popular cities not just in Italy, but in all of Europe. Although it may be known as the epicenter of European fashion and design, Milan also has a strong historical and artistic impact on the world. You can find many of the city’s most famous attractions and sites located right in Milan’s museums.
With such a strong influence on the arts, it’s easy to find a breathtaking art gallery or Museum in Milan. Many renaissance painters and artists have their best works on display. Leonardo Da Vinci is also a prominent figure in Italian society, which can be seen by the multitudes of museums dedicated to his studies.
History buffs and creative artists will find something to love at one of the many museums in Milan. You just have to make sure you have enough time to visit all the ones on your list!
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Although there is no shortage of excellent art museums in Milan, Pinacoteca Brera is one of the best in the entire country! With an impressive collection of Romantic, Renaissance, and Middle Age artworks, Pinacoteca Brera is one of the cultural highlights in Italy.
From Raphael to Caravaggio, you’ll find pieces from some of Italy’s most famous artists and painters. The museum is housed in a stunning neoclassic monetary, which is worth visit on its own.
Skip the line and head straight into the museum with advanced tickets!
With over 16,000 different objects and 13 interactive exhibits, the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnica is the largest science and technology museum in all of Italy. Most notably, you’ll find an impressive collection of drawings and models made by none other than Leonardo Da Vinci himself!
Besides the Leonardo Da Vinci gallery, you’ll also find exhibits ranging from telecommunications and transport to space travel and energy sources! Don’t forget to visit the outdoor gallery where you can see a real World War II Italian submarine.
Learn more about the museum with a live tour guide!
If you can’t get enough of Leonardo Da Vinci, then Milan’s Codex Atlanticus in Pinacoteca Ambrosiana is for you. This museum is dedicated to the studies, observations, and life of the famous Renaissance man.
You’ll find thousands of drawings, handwritten notes, and sketches that show a glimpse into the brain and genius mind of Da Vinci. Besides Da Vinci, you can also find books, drawings, and paintings from other famous Italian masters such as Raphael and Tiziano.
But your ticket directly to save time and money!
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The Fondazione Prada may have just opened in 2015, but its rich collection of contemporary and modern art gives Milan’s other art museums a run for their money! The museum itself is located on the outskirts of the city center and housed in an old 20th-century distillery.
The highlight of Fondazione Prada is the 4-story Haunted House, which is less scary than it sounds. It’s actually a Louise Bourgeois exhibit, and completely covered wall to wall in gold leaf. Make sure you buy your tickets to the Haunted House in advance.
P.S – Luckily, we’ve compiled this guide of the best places to stay in Milan to help you plan your trip!
If you’re visiting the famous Duomo, then head right next door to the Museo del Novecento! With over 400 individual works of art, the Museo del Novecento showcases some of the top international artists from the 1900s including Picasso, Matisse, and Mondrian.
There is also a large section dedicated strictly to Italian artists from the Abstractionism, Realism, and Post Impressionism movements. To top it off, the view from the on-site restaurant and bar offers unparalleled views of the Piazza del Duomo!
With your Milano Card, you can have discounted entry to the Museo del Novecento as well as many other museums in the city!
With over an astounding 3 million items and artifacts, it’s easy to see how Milan’s Museum of Natural History the largest natural history museum in all of Italy. Explore the 23 exhibits that cover everything from flora and fauna, paleontology, mineralogy, to even the evolution of man.
You’ll also find zoology exhibits for different ecosystems, and the animal habitats that live in the marine, forest, tropical, and arctic environments. You absolutely cannot miss the largest diorama installation in the world!
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For an interactive, creative experience, stop by MUDEC in the fashionable Navigli District. Opening in 2015, the museum is completely devoted to arts and culture from all countries around the world. There’s an ongoing rotation of traveling exhibits that showcase everything from graffiti art and fine photography to documentary films and tribal communities.
Built inside an old factory, the sleek curves and dramatic lines of the building to the museum is also a marvel to look at.
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If you’re looking for an art museum tucked away from the bustling crowds of tourists, then look no further than the Museo Poldi Pezzoli. This private apartment turned museum is home to a vast collection of Italian and Northern European artists.
Although the museum was badly damaged during World War II, it was refurbished and reopened to the public in the mid-1950s. Museo Poldi Pezzoli focuses more on glassworks, ceramics, jewelry, and weaponry but also includes paintings and drawings.
In a city known for its thriving cultural scene, it’s no wonder that Milan is home to a museum solely devoted to theater and opera! Not only will you find an impressive collection of set and costume designs used in the theater, but also authentic musical scores, instruments, and other paraphernalia used in production.
Right next door to the museum is the Biblioteca Livai Simoni, a library that houses over 140,000 books and volumes about theater history, librettos, and periodicals.
Skip the line and learn more with a Museo Teatrale all Scala guided tour!
If you’ve ever wanted to live a life of Milanese luxury, then take a peek inside Villa Necchi Campiglio! Considered one of the first contemporary modern homes in Milan, Villa Necchi Campiglio is a pristine example of 20th-century art deco.
Built by Italian architect Piero Portaluppi, the village contains a blooming English garden, a tennis court, and even a turquoise blue swimming pool. You’ll also find some of the coolest mid-century artwork, furniture, and decor! Check the museum website for special events and temporary exhibits that are hosted in the Villa.
Italian architect also made his mark on Milanese design by building the Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano. With over 11 exhibitions, Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano contains contemporary paintings, drawings, and sculptures dating back to the 1960s.
The private collection of Antonio and Marieda Di Stefano includes works from with famous artists such as Funi, Marussig, Tozzi, and Casorati. Besides artwork, you can wander through the house and view the mid-century art deco furnishings in each of the rooms.
HangarBicocca wins the award for most unique museum building! Housed inside an old factory hanger, the HangarBicocca allows contemporary artists and designers to showcase their larger than life works of art.
The installations are built on a monumental scale, and it’s guaranteed to make your jaw drop! The highlight of the museum is the Seven Heavenly Palaces installation, which has seven concrete towers reaching as high as 18-meters inside the hanger. You’ll also find a rotating schedule of temporary, modern exhibits throughout the year.
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Sports enthusiasts will enjoy a thrilling visit to Mondo Milan Museum, the home of AC Milan! Experience first hand the history of Milan’s football club with real-life memorabilia, cup trophies, and even a holographic theater.
You also can’t miss the Hall of Fame and Ballon d’Or Winners room. With over 115 years of football history, even the biggest of AC Milan fans will find something new and unforgettable here at Mondo Milan Museum!
Visit the Mondo Milan Museum and neighboring San Sira Stadium for an action-packed football adventure!
For a fun, interactive way to learn about Leonardo Da Vinci’s contributions to society, head to Leonardo3! With over 200 3D reconstructions and installations, Da Vinci’s masterpieces come to life and move, unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Kids will also love the on-site workshops, where they can build their own inventions just like the Renaissance genius himself. If you don’t have time to visit the real “Last Supper” painting – don’t worry. Leonardo3 has a stunning digital restoration of the famous fresco.
Guarantee a spot in line by purchasing your Leonardo3 tickets in advance!
The Memoriale Della Shoah Di Milano may be a somber Holocaust memorial, but it might be one of the most important museums to visit in Milan. Located at the Milano Centrale Railway Station, the museum remembers the Jewish prisoners that were deported from Italy during the Holocaust in World War II.
You can read a list of the names of victims that were transported to Auschwitz engraved on the walls. Some of the railway equipment and wagons are still intact and can be visited at the memorial.
Although the Gallerie di Piazza Scala is a fairly new art museum compared to other galleries in Milan, it still manages to attract thousands of visitors each year. Housing almost 200 pieces of Lombard painters and artists, Gallerie di Piazza Scala has one of the largest collections of Fondazione Cariplo.
It recently opened a new gallery with 189 pieces from Italian artists throughout the 20th century. You can’t miss Gallerie di Piazza Scala, as it’s located right in the middle of Piazza della Scala next to the Duomo.
If you’re looking for a break from Italian art and culture, check out the Egyptian Museum! Located beneath the historic Sforza Castle, you’ll learn all about Egyptian hieroglyphics, pharaohs, and deities! The museum is home to hundreds of figurines, artifacts, and decor from civilians of ancient Egypt.
The highlight of the Egyptian Museum are the preserved mummies dating back to the 650 BC Greco-Roman period. After you’re done, you can visit the other museums at the Sforza Castle, including the Museum of Ancient Art, The Museum of Musical Instruments, and the Milan Archaeological Museum.
Take a 2-hour guided tour of the Sforza Castle and skip the line to the Egyptian Museum!
How many museums are in Milan?
There are almost 100 different museums to visit just in the city of Milan! Ranging from natural history to modern art, there are plenty of museums for every type of traveler. You’ll also find several Leonardo Da Vinci museums. Da Vinci called Milan home, so it’s easy to see why there are plenty of museums devoted to his life’s work.
How many free museums are in Milan?
You can find dozens of free art galleries or history museums to visit in Milan. There are also several paid museums that offer free entry during certain hours of the day or days of the week. Don’t forget that Milan’s municipal museums are free on the first Sunday of the month!
What are the hours of the museums in Milan?
In Milan, most museums are open daily from 10 am until 6 pm. Most museums are open on Saturday and Sunday but will likely be closed on Mondays. Of course, there are exceptions and some are open 7 days of the week. Check the website for the museum you wish to visit for exact opening and closing times.
What can I bring in Milan Museums?
Most museums in Milan will allow bottled water and other liquids, but not food. In most of the art museums, the use of photography is also strictly forbidden even without a flash. Some museums also ban large suitcases and backpacks and require you to check them in before entering. According to Italian law, pets and animals are not allowed in any of the museums in Italy.
This is just a small sample of what hidden gems and treasures Milan has to offer. From colorful, legendary frescos to modern, up and coming works of art, Milan is a thriving city that commemorates the past as much as the present.
With so many different museums, you’ll have no problem finding one that suits your tastes and interests. All you have to do is wander the streets and you’ll bump into a museum just begging to be explored!
Whether you’re interested in exploring the ancient history of Italy or simply wanting to admire the famous Last Supper, we’re sure that you’ll find something at one of Milan’s museums.
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Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties. When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.