There are three areas in Milan where Liberty can be seen in all its splendour: Porta Venezia, Porta Vittoria and Porta Magenta so let’s set off for a ride to visit the last on the list, the Porta Magenta district.

 

Acquario Civico

We start from the Civic Aquarium at via Gadio 2. In 1906, Milan hosted the International Expo which had transport as its main theme and was organised to celebrate the opening of the Simplon Tunnel. Some of the 225  buildings built for the occasion were constructed in Parco Sempione. The only surviving edifice is the one that currently houses the Civic Aquarium. The exterior has a beautiful Art Nouveau façade with aquatic-themed decorations and whimsical details, such as the exotic hippo head fountain dominated by the sea god Neptune.

 

VIA SAFFI: Casa Bosisio and Casa Dugnani

Now let’s continue along Viale Gadio and turn left into via Paleocapa towards piazzale Cadorna. At the Piazza Virgilio roundabout we take the 2nd exit onto Via Vincenzo Monti and then turn left onto Via Aurelio Saffi where there are many examples of Art Nouveau to be admired.

At no. 8, Casa Bosisio has a simple and refined style thanks to the use of terracotta bricks. At no. 9 Casa Dugnani has floral decorations that adorn only the upper part but beautify the entire edifice. Constructed in 1902, the building can be divided into two parts: the first made of smooth ashlar stonework and cement, the second in terracotta and tiles decorated with sunflowers, produced by the Richard Ginori company.

VIA SAFFI: Case Binda Castiglioni

At nos. 24 and 26: the Binda Castiglioni houses are two residential buildings designed by the architect Achille Binda in 1903 and 1904. If the first is simple and characterized by architectural elements that evoke Art Nouveau, the second, in contrast, vaunts a large eye-catching decoration below the roof edge.

Casa Donzelli

We continue along via Saffi to via Gioberti and we can stop to admire the last stage of our journey, the Casa Donzelli at via Gioberti 1 by Ulisse Stacchini (1903-1904): an example of early Liberty interesting for its airy and linear structure; the loggia balconies and ceramic decorations have vibrant floral motifs. The building is visually divided into three vertical dissections where the central one, in exposed brick, contrasts with the two lateral cement sections: the entire facade flaunts elaborate wrought iron balconies, while the top floor is crowned by a balcony loggia framed by a horizontal band of majolica tiles with yellow flowers.