Are you ready to immerse yourself in the secret, off-the-beaten-track Milan? Beyond its busy streets and fashionable shop windows, there is an artistic and cultural world waiting to be discovered in Milan.
Milan, once considered a grey and transitory city, has undergone a surprising metamorphosis and is now one of the most fascinating destinations for art and culture lovers. In this post, I propose a journey through the art and culture of Milan. I will guide you through five secret and extraordinary places that few decide to visit.
Secret Milan: 5 unusual places for art lovers
Are you ready to immerse yourself in a Milan that goes beyond expectations, a city that opens up to those willing to look beyond the surface? Through this virtual tour of Milan’s hidden places of art and culture, you will be ready to unveil its beating heart and fully enjoy the artistic riches this city has to offer.
1. HOUSE MUSEUMS THAT TELL STORIES
Milan is an ever-changing city, and behind its busy streets and famous monuments lies a world of little-known art treasures.
Milan’s Case Museo are a series of ancient homes of philanthropists and collectors that reveal the stories behind the works of art that have inspired generations. Embarking on a journey through the city’s history from its house museums is unique, starting with the magnificent Poldi Pezzoli Museum, passing through the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, the Boschi di Stefano House Museum and Villa Necchi Campiglio.
2. ART NOUVEAU AND THE ENCHANTED SOUL OF MILAN
For fans of Art Nouveau, the Italian Art Nouveau movement, Milan is a hidden haven of creativity. Its streets are transformed into open-air galleries, revealing buildings with sinuous lines, delicate stained-glass windows and colourful majolica.
Let yourself be guided through a magical itinerary that reveals Palazzo Berri Meregalli, Casa Galimberti and the picturesque Villa Invernizzi, famous for its flamingos.
3. CONTEMPORARY ART IN MILAN
The Bicocca area, once dominated by factories, now shines as a jewel of contemporary art. Here, the Pirelli Hangar Bicocca welcomes visitors with breathtaking installations in a spatial environment.
A walk through this area, accessible by the lilac metro or train, will lead you to discover a modern and surprising Milan.
If contemporary art fascinates you but you often find it incomprehensible, then I recommend a visit to the PAC – Padiglione di Arte Contemporanea (Contemporary Art Pavilion), whose aim is to show how contemporary art is a tool to unhinge stereotypes and step out of our comfort zone to look at reality with new eyes.
4. THE ROMAN ROOTS OF MILAN
Milan hides its ancient roots among the busy streets.
Ancient Mediolanum was an important trading centre in the Roman Empire and emerges through archaeological remains. From the Roman Baths to the Roman Circus, these fragments of the past are scattered around the city.
Also, don’t forget to visit the civic archaeological museum to better discover the ancient soul of Milan.
5. ILLUSIONS IN MILAN
Of all the hidden gems of Milan, one stands out as extraordinary: small but centrally located, this place will amaze you.
A few steps from Piazza Duomo is the church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro. Its neo-Renaissance façade conceals an interior of inestimable artistic value. As soon as you cross the threshold, anyone looking at the apse sees it as exceptionally deep for a church of that size, but as you get closer you discover that it is actually less than a metre deep. This is Bramante’s fake apse.
If we talk about illusions, don’t forget that there is also the Museum of Illusions in Milan to visit to amaze and amuse yourself.
Milan is much more than can be seen on the surface. Behind the corners of its streets are hidden stories of artists, collectors and visionaries. Take your time to discover these secret places, immerse yourself in the hidden art and culture that make Milan a cultural treasure to be admired.
If you are curious to discover more of Milan’s hidden wonders, take a look at our guide on What to See in Milan.