A walk through the artistic and architectural wonders of the city centre can be an interesting way to enjoy Milano’s hidden beauty.
Here is a list of minor masterpieces to discover in Milano’s historic centre.
Church of Santa Maria near San Satiro
Not far from the Duomo - hidden among the many stores in via Torino - you will find this unassuming church, which contains some really amazing works, above all the trompe-l’oeil choir by Bramante, a perspective illusion that simulates non-existent depth.
Until you get closer, it will not be easy to realize that the church does not in fact have the depth you actually perceive at the entrance.
Casa degli Omenoni (House of the Big Men)
The construction of this wonderful palace - one of the most impressive in Milano - is due to the sculptor Leone Leoni from Arezzo.
This great sixteenth-century artist was an imperial sculptor in the service of Charles V of Hapsburg and Philip II of Spain and in 1542 he was appointed sculptor of the Milano Mint.
In 1549 the artist bought the property, and in 1565 he began the renovation of the building, embellishing it with large sculptures and making it his own home.
The Leoni family was a benchmark for 16th-century Milanese art. Both the artist and his son were also famous collectors and art dealers, and gathered an important art collection in the building.
Some of these works, such as Leonardo's Codex Atlanticus, were later transferred to the Ambrosiana Gallery.
San Giorgio al Palazzo Church
This church, also located in via Torino, houses the artistic masterpiece of the great Bernardino Luini, Leonardo Da Vinci's greatest heir in Milano. You will admire the bold combinations of bright colours in this series of altarpiece paintings, depicting Christ’s passion.
L.O.V.E. (Acronym in Italian for "freedom, hate, revenge, eternity"), also known as The Finger, is a 4.6 metres high sculpture (11 including the basement) in Carrara marble, by the famous contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan.
The work was placed at the centre of Piazza Affari, in front of the Milano Stock Exchange headquarters.
The sculpture has become famous for its irony and for its contrast with the place where it is located. The work in fact depicts a hand intent on a Roman salute, but with all fingers severed, or depending on interpretation, consumed, except the middle finger.
Church of San Bernardino alle Ossa and the Ossuary
A few steps from the Duomo is one of the most curious attractions in Milano, built near the former Brolo Hospital, once dedicated to the care of lepers and now long destroyed.
In 1750 the church was built in baroque rococo style, looking from the outside like an elegant eighteenth-century palace. In the chapel to the right of the single nave, you will find the tomb where some from Christopher Columbus’ family are buried.
A narrow corridor to the right of the entrance gives access to a small square room where you will find the statue of the Madonna kneeling near the dead Jesus.
The walls of this room are entirely covered with skulls and bones.
The chapel-ossuary also has a vault fresco by Sebastiano Ricci, one of the most important artists of the Italian 18th century.