What’s in this guide?

How to get to the Pinacoteca di Brera

If the gallery is first on your itinerary, you won’t have any problem getting there. Milan’s transport system is excellent, whether you decide to travel by metro, tram or bus.

If you’re staying near the metro, the quickest way to reach the gallery is the M2 line to Lanza. You could also choose the M3 line to Montenapoleone or the M1 line to Cairoli. From there, it’s just a short walk through the scenic Brera neighbourhood.

No metro station nearby? No problem. Buses and trams run throughout the city with frequent services, so you won’t need to wait long. You can travel to the Pinacoteca by bus number 61 to via Pontaccio or 57 to Foro Buonaparte – right at the gallery entrance. Alternatively, hop on tram 1, 2, 12 or 14 to via Cusani, or 4 to Lanza.

Planning to use public transport often in Milan? Single tickets are affordable at just €2 for the metro and €1.50 for the bus or tram. But Milan’s travel passes are an excellent option to save money, especially if you’ll be using them frequently. The 48-hour pass costs €8.25, while the 24-hour pass costs €4.50.

What to see at Pinacoteca di Brera

The Pinacoteca collections are some of Italy’s best, including masterpieces from Baroque genius Caravaggio to Renaissance Master Andrea Mantegna. The gallery has 38 halls, and the paintings are organised chronologically, grouped by the artistic movement they belong to. Let’s dive deeper into the extraordinary artworks that make the Pinacoteca so fascinating.

Brera’s collections

The Pinacoteca’s primary collection is an elegant mix of historical and modern art, combining masterpieces from the Romanticism period with the Baroque and Renaissance periods.

Explore many notable works by Italian artists, such as Cagnacci’s the Death of Cleopatra, Correggio’s Adoration of the Magi and Tintoretto’s St. Helen and Barbara at the Cross.

Apart from the primary collection, the gallery also houses two captivating exhibitions: the Drawing Cabinet and the Photographic Library.

The Drawing Cabinet’s collection includes artworks dating to the first half of the 19th century. Initially, it only contained early drafts for paintings now in the Pinacoteca and some rare cartoons created in 1959 for a series of exhibitions in Bologna. Thanks to donations and acquisitions, the collection grew over time, including works by Surrealism Masters Duchamp and Picabia.

The Photographic Library is attached to the Pinacoteca and was inaugurated in 1899. It brought the gallery monuments and artworks from Italy and worldwide for study and consultation purposes.

The library has attracted various photographic prints ever since, many of them showcasing innovative techniques like salted paper, aristotypes and carbon prints. Some prestigious landscape painters who contributed to the collection include Alinari, Anderson and Noack.

Brera’s masterpieces and artists

The Pinacoteca is a space to celebrate all kinds of art and display Italy’s artistic evolution through the centuries. So, whose masterpieces are present in the gallery?

The Dead Christ and Three Mourners – The brainchild of Andrea Mantegna gave life to this incredible Renaissance artwork, presumably finished in the early 1480s. The underlying theme is the strong bond between the mourners and the body, reinforced by the abundant use of light and shade

Pietà – Outgrowing Mantegna’s artistic influence, Giovanni Bellini’s tempera on oil painting is an authentic representation of sorrow. The body of Christ is supported by the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist. The artist focuses on using light and colours rather than on space and perspective

The Kiss – Displayed at the Brera Exhibition in 1859, Francesco Hayez’s notable painting didn’t enter the Pinacoteca until 1886. It was commissioned by Alfonso Maria Visconti and represented the spirit of the Risorgimento (Italy’s unification) and a symbol of Italian Romanticism. The kiss is considered one of the most passionate works in the history of Western art, portraying the patriotic love for the homeland

Pinacoteca di Brera history and building facts

Home to Italy’s significant painting collections, the Pinacoteca is an outgrowth of the Brera Academy, housed in the beautiful Palazzo Brera.

The palazzo owes its name to the Germanic braida – a patch of green in the city’s landscape. Formerly a convent and monastery built by the Humiliati, the building was passed on to the Jesuits in 1572. They transformed it into a college with its own library and astronomical observatory.

The Jesuits were banned from the convent in 1773 when the designs were extended by Giuseppe Piermarini. He was also appointed professor when the Academy of Fine Arts was founded by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in 1776. The Pinacoteca became independent from the Academy in 1882 and started acquiring more and more paintings, including Hayez’s The Kiss and Raphael’s Sposalizio.

Restaurants, bars and shops near the Pinacoteca di Brera

After visiting the fascinating Pinacoteca di Brera, why not treat yourself to a delicious Italian meal or a refreshing aperitivo? Or maybe you prefer spending your afternoon browsing the shops and boutiques around the Brera area? Either way, Milan’s got you covered.

Best restaurants and pizzerias near Pinacoteca di Brera

Whether you fancy some grilled meat or seafood, a classic pizza or a taste of home, we’ve picked some of the best restaurants around the Pinacoteca.

  • La Tartina
  • Panini de Santis
  • Osteria da Fortunata
  • Nabucco
  • Osteria di Brera
  • Hosteria della Musica
  • Il Carminio
  • Trattoria Torre di Pisa
  • Taverna del Borgo Antico
  • Rosso Brera
  • Del Carmine 9

Fancy a pizza? You’ve come to the right place.

  • Ristorante Pizzeria il Kaimano
  • Pizzeria Sibilla
  • Momus
  • Da Zero
  • Obicà Mozzarella Bar
  • Pizza Love
  • Ristorante Pizzeria Convivium

Best bars near the Pinacoteca di Brera

If you’re in the mood for a drink, there is plenty of choice in the artistic neighbourhood of Brera.

  • Cinc
  • N’Ombra de Vin
  • Caffè Fernanda
  • Don’Cola Brera
  • Caffè Leonardo
  • Bar Aperitivo
  • Bech

Best shops near the Pinacoteca di Brera

From high-end luxury boutiques and upscale ateliers to vintage shops for fantastic finds, strolling around Brera is one of the best shopping experiences you’ll have in Milan.

Some of the best shops for accessories, clothing and antiques near the Pinacoteca include:

  • Il Cirmolo
  • Mandarina Duck
  • Sease
  • Massimo Alba
  • Ginori 1735
  • Il Segno del Tempo
  • COS
  • Fabriano Boutique Milano

Opening times and prices

The Pinacoteca di Brera is open from Tuesday to Sunday between 09:30 and 18:30, with the last entry at 17:30. Advanced booking is essential.

To visit the Pinacoteca, you’ll need to purchase the BreraCARD. This subscription will allow you to see the gallery as many times as you’d like over three months. You can book the pass on brerabooking.org. General admission costs €15 while concessions begin at €10.

Concessions include:




Under 18s


EU citizens aged 18 to 25


Over 65s


Families (up to 2 adults + 5 children)

£10 per adult

Disabled visitors


Italian citizens


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