Have you ever glanced at Italian issue Euro coins and wondered about the artworks represented on their obverse sides? You will find Botticelli's Venus, Leonardo's Vitruvian Man, the Mole Antonelliana in Turin, and, depicted on the 20 cents coin, the Futurist sculpture Unique Forms of Continuity in Space by Umberto Boccioni. You might not know that this stunning expression of movement and fluidity is housed in Milano’s Museo del Novecento.
This museum, located in Piazza Duomo, vaunts a privileged view over the spires of the cathedral and houses one of the most important collections of twentieth-century Italian art. The works date from 1902, with the massive Fourth State by Pellizza da Volpedo - which can be viewed (no admission ticket needed) on the scenic spiral slope at the entrance - to the art of the early ‘80s.
The museum boasts 400 works of art in total - paintings, statues and installations - that span futurism, art between the two wars, abstractionism, spatialism and Poor Art. The collection ranges from Kandinsky and Klee to Modigliani, from Jannis Kounellis to Alberto Burri and Emilio Vedova, to mention just a few.
Rooms are dedicated to artists of great significance for Milano: Boccioni, Carrà, Morandi, de Chirico, Arturo Martini, and Piero Manzoni. The feather in the cap of this fascinating museum is the upper-floor Lucio Fontana gallery with a spectacular vista of the Duomo and the immense ceiling neon installation that illuminates the piazza. This is absolutely one of the best places to see Milano from above and photos can be taken against an exceptional backdrop.
In addition to the permanent collection, the Museo del Novecento also curates several inspirational temporary exhibitions throughout the year, dedicated to the most diverse artists and themes.
It also offers a great place to take a break and enjoy good food: the museum's restaurant and bar, the renowned Giacomo Arengario, is located in the section overlooking Piazza del Duomo. Click here for the 5 museum cafes not to be missed in Milano.
AROUND THE MUSEUM
Being at the centre of the city the museum is surrounded by many landmarks: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Museo del Duomo, the major exhibition venue Palazzo Reale, the La Rinascente department store for both Made in Italy and top foreign brands, plus the surrounding shopping streets, catering to all budgets.
And if you feel you have got hungry in the meantime... there are plenty of historical eateries around, or you can always settle for a take-away panzerotto.