10 Best Things to Do in Milan #1 – Get the Best View of Duomo Square
Mirella and Valeria of Bella Milano Tours have selected for you the 10 best things to do in Milan. You won’t find typical highlights (“visit the outstanding Duomo”, “marvel at the beauty of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele”: follow us on one of our tours and we will show you the best of Milan!), but rather some sources of inspiration for an unforgettable visit to our beloved hometown.
1. GET THE BEST VIEW OF DUOMO SQUARE…
…from the second floor of Museo del Novecento. Milan’s Museum of 20th-century art is housed in Mussolini’s Arengario, a Fascist-era complex of two symmetrical buildings in Duomo square. Seen from the outside, it is not difficult to imagine the fascist dictator speaking to the crowds from the balconies! In fact, the construction was completed long after the fall of the regime, so the aura of the place has remained immaculate.
Before you enter, do not forget to appreciate the details of the façade, including some reliefs by Arturo Martini, a leading Italian sculptor in the first half of the 20th century.
Marching towards the light -The museum is in the left side building, at the end of a futuristic spiral ramp reminding of the Guggenheim in New York. Half way along the pale blue ramp, you will encounter an iconic painting, The Fourth Estate by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo. Painted in 1901, it depicts a worker’s strike, men and women marching towards the light of a brighter future. Don’t they look alive? After all, most of the people represented here were actual fellow citizens of Pellizza da Volpedo. Move very close to the painting and you will appreciate the unusual technique used by the artist: the surface consists of very tiny brushstrokes, individual points of colours whose juxtaposition leads to an extremely natural rendition of light. According to divisionism (that is the name of this particular style), colours should not be mixed on the palette but applied directly on the canvas, leaving to our own eyes the task of blending them.
A museum with a view – You are now inside the museum. Its collection – including masterpieces by Umberto Boccioni, Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi – does deserve your attention. Yet we suggest that you head straight to the second floor and reach the stunning Lucio Fontana hall, overlooked by one of his mesmerizing neon installations.
The view from here is simply marvelous: look at the colourful people and the geometrical patterns of the floor of the piazza. And then turn your eyes to the cathedral, its thousands of statues, and pinnacles, and gargoyles. If you are lucky, the massive body of the cathedral will turn pink: this is what happens at dawn and at sunset on clear sunny days.
A special treat – For a very special treat, stop at Giacomo Arengario, an elegant, Art-Decò restaurant housed in the same building. And of course, ask for the table with the best view!