Pinacoteca di Brera (art gallery)

Price guide: Budget

Via Brera 28, Milan, 20121

Price guide: Budget

Pinocateca di Brera
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By Melissa Shales, your Milan expert

I write for AA Travel Guides, .... Read more
#3 of 20
expert-rated things to do in Milan
Expert overall rating:4.9 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Backpackers / Students, Couples, Culture vultures, First-time travellers, Seasoned travellers, Art, History, Sightseeing

Expert review of Pinacoteca di Brera (art gallery)

A superb collection of masterpieces for those who wish to wallow in the greatest of art.

This grand palazzo, built over a 14th-century convent, was taken over by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in 1773 to house many of the grand cultural institutions of the city. She charged Neo-Classical architect Giuseppe Piermarini with the redesign, which was to include an Academy of Fine Arts, a major library and the Pinacoteca di Brera, originally conceived as a style library of Italian art for use by the students.

Napoleon had other ideas when he arrived in town however, turning the collection into a major art museum. It now contains a superb range of works by many of the finest Italian artists from the 13th to the 20th centuries – people such as Mantegna, Bellini, Piero della Francesca, Caravaggio, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and Canaletto.

There’s a huge concentration of religious art as the works, notably those by Leonardo and Raphael, were “acquired” by the state during the suppression of various monasteries. And, during a swap arrangement with the Louvre, the collection gained five 17th-century Flemish works by Rubens, Joardens, Van Dyck and Rembrandt. A major post-war gift added works by artists including Braque and Modigliani.

This is now one of the best art galleries in Italy – a lush sensual feast of colour. If a few too many of the angels are rolling their eyes to heaven, it's small price to pay for such a treat.

Price advice: 

Entrance is five euros, 2.50 concessions.

Expert tips: 
Behind the gallery is the Orto Botanico di Brera (Botanical Garden) while the via Brera is one of the best places to find a lively café culture.

More information on Pinacoteca di Brera (art gallery):

Price guide:
Art gallery
Via Brera 28, Milan, 20121
02 722 631
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Tue-Sun 8.30am-7.15pm (ticket office closes 45 mins earlier); closed Mondays and Jan 1, May 1 and Dec 25.

Have you been to Pinacoteca di Brera (art gallery)? Would you recommended it?