The imposing and elegant Villa Reale is set in the Indro Montanelli gardens; it is also known as Villa di Belgiojoso in honour of the eponymous Count who commissioned its creation at the end of the 18th century. The sumptuous interiors of the Villa have housed the Galleria d'Arte Moderna (GAM) in Milan since 1921 and, in its long history, it provided lodgings to many illustrious characters. It had the function of representing Milano’s Authorities to those who came to visit from Vienna, before it eventually became a museum.
Adorned with mythological statues and reliefs, conceived by Neo-classical poet Giuseppe Parini and sculpted by the same artisans who toiled on the Duomo's facade, it is a timeless and immensely fascinating building.
Inside, a profusion of nineteenth-century masterpieces and international avant-garde works from the early 1900s make GAM one of the most extensive collections of modern art in Italy. Antonio Canova, Francesco Hayez and Lombard Romanticism, the most famous works of the Scapigliatura and the Divisionist season with Medardo Rosso and Segantini. Not forgetting the great Italian and foreign artists from the thirteenth to the twentieth century, with amazing works by Renoir, Van Gogh, Manet, Fattori and Segantini, Morandi, Sironi, De Pisis, Modigliani, Picasso and Matisse, together with a collection of ancient artefacts from the Far East.
The villa's wonderful English garden merits a leisurely visit, as it is a natural oasis at the heart of Milan, a small park to take refuge away from the city chaos in: the perfect locus amoenus where to stroll and listen to the water trickling from the rocks into the stream that runs through the garden. Pleasant undulating lawns between the paths and the wooden bridges will guide you to the pond where a small temple dedicated to Love can be admired: an out-of-town trip right in the centre of the city.
GOOD TO KNOW
Even without visiting the Art Gallery itself, you can enjoy a refreshing break at the LùBar, the museum's café, bistro and restaurant. The LùBar's chic and relaxing atmosphere has proved to be a mecca for lovers of instagrammable corners in the city.
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