It is a shame to visit only one and leave the other to itself! The Civic Gallery of Modern Art (GAM) is situated inside the Villa Belgiojoso: planned at the end of the 18th century by the Austrian architect Leopoldo Pollack, it became, first, the Milanese dwelling of the Belgiojoso’s family, then Napoleon and his wife’s, and finally Radetsky’s. Moreover, it used to be the setting for spectacular weddings. It is not hard to get why all these important historical characters wanted to live there as well as why brides used to choose it as their wedding photos scenario: the villa, apart from being of a breathtaking beauty, is enclosed between two gardens, the PAC’s (with the famous Fausto Melotti’s sculpture I sette savi) and the Villa Reale’s.
A frame that makes the Villa Belgioijoso even more similar to a fairy tale house. Be careful, though: the Villa Reale’s gardens are open only to children under 12 years old, as the Londoner Coram’s Field!
As soon as you enter the GAM, you’ll find yourself in the central living room: gaze up and you’ll notice Appiani’s fresco Il Parnaso, Apollo e le Muse. Apart from the container, that is so say the villa itself, also the content has a valuable resonance. With content, we refer to the infinite number of contemporary paintings, such as Mose Bianchi’s Cleopatra, Hayez’s Ritratto di Matilde Juva Branca, Manet’s Signor Arnaud a cavallo, Butti’s La lettrice di Faruffine and his sculpture Il minatore.
After having walked in the Villa’s rooms and admired its treasures (the entrance is free, so shame on you if you ignore it!), head towards the PAC, the Contemporary Art Pavilion. There was a time when the structure used to host the Villa Reale’s stables. Then, in 1954, it was inaugurated as a contemporary art museum. Destroyed by a mafia attack in 1993, it was re-built in 1996 thanks to Ignazio Gardella’s work. Today, it hosts temporary exhibitions and it is an unmissable step in a cultural visit of Milan!
Via Palestro, 14, Milano, MI, Italia