When I lived in Milan, lazy weekend days wandering around the city were my absolute favourite. We would normally have a lie in until about midday, only getting up to go out for lunch somewhere. Then the afternoons would be given over to window shopping, wandering through the streets, seeing those familiar sights and fairly often, visiting an art gallery or exhibition.
As such, I thought I'd start posting a little more about the best places to go for art in Milan. Obviously you have the big museums in the Piazza Duomo but I actually get quite bored in there (should I admit that?)
Instead, I prefer the slightly smaller galleries showing private collections or rotating exhibitions. Is it because I'm incredibly lazy? Perhaps. But these are definitely my favourite places to visit when I'm looking for a creative fix. Especially when the building itself is a work of art on its own.
Just next to Piazza Duomo, down through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, is Piazza della Scala. Here you can find one of the palazzi of Gallerie d'Italia.
Historically, it was the headquarters of the Banca Commerciale and now hosts the private collections of the Intesa San Paolo bank.
Walking around, it's easy to see the building's old identity still in evidence.
Entrance is free, as are brief tours of the building which point out the medieval influences on the architecture and design.
On entering the palazzo, you find yourself in the middle of the modern art collections which feature prominent names from the world of Italian art such as Lucio Fontana who was renowned for founding the spatialism movement in art. His works often consist of slashed or punctured canvases in an attempt to "synthesise colour, sound, space, movement and time" in his artwork (according to Wikipedia of course!)
Why do I have so many photos of Michele looking like he would rather be anywhere else but with me? We are happy together, I swear!
The most honest piece of artwork ever: "See in it what you will".
They were shooting a fashion story in there whilst we were visiting - if anyone recognises these clothes or this shoot, let me know - I'd love to see the final images!
After a good peruse, we moved away from the modern collections into the part of the building that houses paintings from the 1800s. The interiors here did not disappoint either!
Recently I was chatting to someone about this gallery and they asked if I had seen the old paintings of Milan.
"Nope," I said, "Definitely not! I'd love to see them though."
It turns out that I definitely did:
I was just far too busy staring at the ceilings and chandeliers!
But I did turn my attention back to the paintings at some point.
My favourites are the ones showing really detailed landscapes. Those are the ones I tend to lose myself in. They're like opening the pages of a book for me. When artists use light and colour to illustrate a landscape or scene, I'm sold.
We didn't see the entire collection during our visit; seeing as entrance is free, it's nice to know that you can take your time to really appreciate one or two sections and come back another day to see the rest.
Although some parts of the building are strictly off limits!
After a good walk around, with aching legs, we went for a coffee at the cafe on the ground floor. It's always good to know that there's a good cafe nearby!
Just as we sat down, the fashion shoot moved to the room behind us so the lighting flooded through to Michele.
So I took a few snaps and seeing as he looked so dapper, I thought I'd pop them up here too, especially seeing as he appears on here more often than I do anyway!
He didn't take the hint and take some pictures of me in return though. Honestly, sometimes it looks more like his blog than mine!