On the other end of the spectrum from Fondazione Prada, sits Gallerie d'Italia. I've written about this art gallery before but as much as it deserves a revisit in life, as does it deserve a revisit in words.
It used to be free entry but now costs €5 (or €3 if you're under 25 or over 65). Even so, it's not too bad considering the variety of art on show and the incredible setting. The building used to be the headquarters of the Banca Commerciale Italiana before being turned into a public art gallery to house the Intesa San Paolo collection. There's another one in Vicenza and another in Naples.
The exhibitions shuffle around every now and then to display the breadth of the bank's collection. This time we found many more historical pieces on show, giving the gallery more of a museum feel for the day.
Here are a couple of my favourites; this dude's excellent ancient battle armour.
And this amazing dish made of ivory, oyster shells and stag antler (not that, as a vegetarian, I should be lusting after a piece made of various animals but still, it's pretty and a vegan replica would do if anyone wants to make me one?)
I also loved this painting for its excellent exemplar of another fail at drawing animal faces. I seriously doubt that the painter in question had ever actually seen a dog or lion or whatever its supposed to be (unless its the devil??) before putting paint to canvas...
Amongst the older works, there's a contemporary exhibition too which is frequently reorganised to depict different themes.
And then you can move further into the old building, where interiors jostle with paintings for your attention.
The museum staff were also very friendly and helpful and chatted with me for quite a while about this painting about the cinque giornate battle in Milan. I love seeing old photographs of places I know well and pointing out the familiarities amongst the sepia. In this gallery, you can do the same with the famous sites of Milan. This painting clearly shows the typical Milanese buildings that still fill the city today, standing calmly in the background of this revolutionary uprising.
Here's a familiar view of the Duomo to anyone who has visited the Piazza Duomo and walked around its impressive, smooth, pink walls...
And here's a long lost view of the city of Milan, way back when the Madonnina (the little golden virgin Mary on the top of the Duomo) was, by law, the highest point in the city. How times have changed!
And finally, for any who have studied Italian literature, you might be interested to find that a wander into the gardens (where there may be an additional art installation) will take you straight to the house where Alessandro Manzoni, author of the first Italian language novel I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), lived.
Gallerie d'Italia in Piazza Scala is a true gem of a gallery. Perfect for taking shelter on any of Milan's typical rainy or oppressively hot afternoons!
Piazza Scala, 6
Opening times: Tues-Sun 9.30-19.30 (last admission 18.30); Thurs 9.30 - 22.30 (last admission 21.30)