Have you ever, by chance, looked at Italian-issue Euro coins and tried to guess the artworks represented on their obverse sides? You’ll find Botticelli's Venus, Leonardo's Vitruvian Man, the Mole Antonelliana in Turin, plus, depicted on the 20 cents coin, the Futuristic sculpture Unique Forms of Continuity in Space by Umberto Boccioni. Perhaps not everyone knows that this stunning expression of movement and fluidity is located 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 (without museum ticket) on the scenic spiral slope at the entrance - to the art of the early ‘80s.
There are 400 works of art in total - paintings, statues and installations - that span futurism, art between the two wars, abstractionism, spatialism and Arte Povera. They represent a broad artistic base: Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Modigliani, Jannis Kounellis, Alberto Burri and Emilio Vedova to mention a few.
Certain rooms are dedicated to the artists most significant to 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: absolutely one of the best places to see Milano from above and take photos 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: the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Museo del Duomo, the major exhibition venue Palazzo Reale, La Rinascente department store for fashion Made in Italy and top foreign brands, plus, the surrounding shopping streets to suit all budgets.
And if you’re feeling in the mood for food... there are plenty of historical eateries around, whether it’s traditional Milanese or a take-away panzerotto.