Discover how Italy became a nation at the Museum of the Risorgimento, explore Milan’s avant-garde designs at the Triennale or delve into the world of fashion geniuses, Donatella Versace and Giorgio Armani.
If you’re unsure about where to start, we’re here to help! Here are nine of the best museums in Milan.
- Pinacoteca di Brera
- The Last Supper
- Fondazione Prada
- Museo del Novecento
- Leonardo da Vinci Museum
- Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano
- Museo Poldi Pezzoli
- Villa Necchi Campiglio
1. Pinacoteca di Brera
Located in the beating heart of Milan, the Pinacoteca is home to one of Italy’s most extensive collections of fine paintings.
Originally a Jesuit college, the majestic Palazzo Brera (Brera Palace) was built between 1651 and 1773, and since 1776 has been established alongside the Accademia delle Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts). Today, the Pinacoteca houses artworks from the Middle Ages to the mid-20th century.
Visitors are welcomed by a Napoleon I statue, sculpted by Canova. Inside, you’ll find unique pieces by 15th-century painters, including Mantegna’s Lamentation of Christ, Bellini’s Lamentation, Hayez’s The Kiss and Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus.
The paintings at Pinacoteca represent different schools of thought, including Venetian, Lombardian, Tuscan and Central Italian. Napoleon wanted the gallery to showcase Italian art in its purest form.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 09:30 to 18:30
Tickets: €15 standard or €10 for concessions. We recommend booking your ticket in advance.
2. The Last Supper
Santa Maria delle Grazie might not look like the kind of church that would house such an iconic piece of art. But believe it or not, it does. Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper is right there, a stone’s throw from Sempione Park.
Da Vinci started work on The Last Supper in around 1496 and finally completed the painting in 1999. The subject was a popular choice at the time for the refectory walls of monasteries and convents, as nuns and monks could have their meals in the presence of Jesus’ final supper.
Da Vinci’s masterpiece has been described as ‘the painting that speaks’. He painted the scene onto the wall rather than the traditional fresco painting technique.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday between 08:15 and 19:00, with the last entry at 18:45. On Sunday, the church is open from 14:00 to 19:00
Tickets: Start at €15
3. Fondazione Prada
If you fancy adding a bit of extravagance to your stay in Milan, don’t miss Fondazione Prada. Found in Largo Isarco, in the Porta Romana area, this gallery is about mixing inspirations from the Western world with avant-garde artworks.
Once a distillery, this multi-complex is an architectural wonder in its own right. One of the towers is covered in solid gold, while the other is white with greenish glass accents. The building was inaugurated in 2015 and has housed some spectacular collections and design projects.
Explore the worlds of artists like Walter de Maria, Anish Kapoor, Louise Bourgeois and Steve McQueen, and make your way down to the cinema. That’s right! The Gallery also has its own cinema.
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday between 10:00 and 19:00. The gallery is closed Tuesdays
Tickets: Start at €15
4. Museo del Novecento
Located in the beating heart of Milan, a stone’s throw from the Duomo, the Museo del Novecento (Museum of the Twentieth Century) is a haven for Italian art lovers.
This one is in the Palazzo dell’Arengario, hosting more than 400 artworks that catalyse the evolution of 20th century-Italian art. Discover masterpieces, including Il Quarto Stato (The Fourth Estate) by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, the Portrait of Béatrice Hastings by Modigliani and the Neon Structure by Luigi Fontana.
The collection also pays tribute to international avant-garde geniuses such as Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky and Braque. It offers a glimpse of Futurism and Abstractionism periods with artists like Umberto Boccioni, Giorgio de Chirico and Marino Marini.
It’s also a space to interpret landscapes throughout the 20th century, starting with Fontana’s iconic Hall, offering breathtaking views of the Duomo. Explore Marotta’s technical experiments and Braque’s unique bright colours.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday between 10:00 and 19:30. Thursdays from 10:00 to 22:30
Tickets: General admissions cost €10 and concessions €8
The MUDEC (Museum of Culture) is situated in the popular area of Milano Navigli, next door to the Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore, and is a space to celebrate the crossing of different cultures.
The museum was opened in 2014. It’s divided into five halls spanning from the Spanish Empire to the late 20th-century. It’s also home to anthropological items from 1200BC and objects from Africa’s colonialism and the slave trade.
The MUDEC also hosts temporary international modern art exhibitions, such as Robot - the human project, Multiple Visions by Roy Lichtenstein and Visible Invisible by Liu Bolin. There is also a library of over 4,000 books and bibliography funds.
Opening hours: The permanent collections are open Monday from 14:30 to 19:30, Tuesday to Sunday between 09:30 and 19:30 and Thursday and Saturday from 09:30 to 22:30
6. Leonardo da Vinci Museum
Leonardo da Vinci’s legacy is strongly intertwined with Milan’s history and artistic heritage. This Museum is the perfect representation of it. The Leonardo da Vinci interactive Museum is a must for everyone, not just art enthusiasts.
The museum has occupied a former Olivetan monastery since opening in 1953 in the Sant’Ambrogio district. It’s Italy’s most extensive science and technology gallery, with physic exhibitions including apparatus used by Newton, Galileo and Volta, alongside more than 15,000 tools telling Italy’s evolution of science.
The Leonardo da Vinci Arts and Science collections celebrate Da Vinci’s extraordinary creativity and unmatched genius. Da Vinci was hired by the Sforza family as a resident court artist and stayed in Lombardy’s capital for 18 years. The museum pays tribute by showcasing working models of Da Vinci designs for flying machines and submersibles. Not to mention digitalised restorations of his most famous paintings.
Opening hours: Every day from 10:00 to 18:00
Tickets: Start at €14
7. Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano
Milan’s Museo Civico di Storia Naturale (Milan Natural History Museum) was founded in 1838 when Giuseppe de Cristoforis donated all his collections to the city. Today, the museum is located in the 19th-century Intro Montanelli Garden, in the Porta Venezia area.
The gallery is divided into five sections: Mineralogy, palaeontology, natural history, invertebrate and vertebrate zoology. Explore an impressive collection of minerals from around the world, fossils and bones. You’ll also be able to trace the origin of humans and follow how our relationship with the environment has changed throughout the centuries.
The museum showcases Italy’s most extensive collection of life-sized dioramas depicting all the ecosystems.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday between 10:00 and 17:30. Monday is closed
Tickets: General admission is €5
8. Museo Poldi Pezzoli
This 19th-century art museum was once Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli’s private collection. After he passed away in 1879, he left his palace and all the artworks to the Brera Academy. The museum was inaugurated in 1881 but was severely damaged in WWII and underwent a complex reconstruction before re-opening in 1951.
This elegant patrician house presents some of Italy’s best Renaissance art collections, complemented by rare pieces of porcelain, glassworks and precious Persian tapestries scattered throughout the building.
One of the museum’s highlights is the armour – a majestic hall filled with a wide range of weapons. But this isn’t the only masterpiece. Though small, this collection is invaluable. You’ll find Botticelli’s Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints and Pollaiolo’s Ritratto di Giovane Dama (Portrait of a Young Woman), as well as works by Pietro della Francesca, Guardí and Mantegna.
Opening hours: Tuesday closed. Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00
Tickets: General admission costs €14
9. Villa Necchi Campiglio
Discreetly hidden in the heart of Milan, next door to Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Villa Necchi Campiglio is a Rationalist architectural gem. The villa was commissioned by the Necchi Campiglio family – part of Lombardy’s industrial bourgeoisie – and was built between 1932 and 1935 by Milanese architect Piero Portaluppi.
The villa has a swimming pool and tennis court, surrounded by flourishing grounds, a perfect escape from Milan’s bustling streets. It’s home to some of the most significant works by early 20th-century Italian artists such as Giorgio de Chirico, Canaletto and Adolfo Wildt. In 2017, the villa acquired Guido Sforni’s collection of art by Picasso, Fontana, Modigliani and Matisse.
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
Tickets: General admission is €10
Getting around Milan
Visiting Milan’s museums is easy thanks to the city’s excellent transport network. Well-designed, efficient and budget-friendly – a dream for everyone visiting.
The main train stations are Milano Centrale, Milano Cadorna and Milano Porta Garibaldi – all located within the city centre. Milano Lambrate and Milano Rogoredo can also be convenient; they’re a little further out of the city providing services to other parts of Italy.
A quick and cost-effective way to travel around Milan is by metro, with four lines and one under construction. A single ticket costs €2 and is valid for 90 minutes after validation. Trams and metro services operate between 05:30 and 00:30, from 06:00 on Sundays.
Buses are also a great alternative to travel around this cosmopolitan metropolis. A single ticket costs €1.50 and can also be used on metro and trams within the same timeframe. Buses run from 05:30 to 01:45 on weekdays, while night services are available Fridays and Saturdays.
If you’re planning to use public transport frequently during your stay, you might want to consider getting a carnet (book) of ten tickets for €13.80. Alternatively, choose a 24 or 48-hour pass valid for all transport within a 90-minute window.
Travelling to Milan by train?
If you're considering spending some time in Milan and visiting the museums, why not travel by train? Getting the train to Milan is easy due to the high-speed rail connections operated by Trenitalia and Italo. You can travel to Milan from some of the most popular cities in Europe, including Zurich to Milan (3h 35m), Paris to Milan (6h 38m) and Rome to Milan (2h 52m).
Need more information about travelling to Milan by train? Check out our dedicated page to trains to Milan.