Best art museums in Milan: discovering the city's artistic wonders

Trace the footsteps of Da Vinci and Boccioni in Milan's finest art galleries. These top 10 picks cover essentials like the Duomo and the Mudec.

Once the stomping ground of Leonardo da Vinci, Milan is bursting with artistic treasures from the Renaissance to the present day. Many of the city's historic landmarks are themselves treasure troves of art. The iconic Duomo is the world's most sculpture-studded building and the historic Sforza Castle contains originals from Michelangelo and Donatello.

Visit family-friendly museums that put art history into your hands or trace operatic legends at the Scala Theater Museum. With so many art museums and collections to visit, you'll discover guided tours to help you get the most out of your visit.

Don't miss out on the best of Milan's art scene with these 10 essential picks.

Best art museums in Milan

1_-_BCC-2023-BEST-ART-MUSEUMS-IN-MILAN-1-1x1.webp

1. Marvel at the Gothic majesty of Duomo Milan

Milan's iconic Duomo wows with its Gothic beauty and spires. There are more statues on this building than any other in the world, including the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty, La Legge Nuova. Book a Cathedral and Rooftop Ticket to see its treasures up close.

Highlights:

Inside, you'll discover a wealth of religious art and technicolor stained-glass windows. Look for the Madonnina that towers above its rooftop.

Address and opening hours:

P.za del Duomo, 20122 Milano MI, Italy. Open daily, 9:00 AM-7:00 PM.

2_-_BCC-2023-BEST-ART-MUSEUMS-IN-MILAN-2-1x1.webp

2. See a historical treasure at the Santa Maria delle Grazie

Book a Guided Tour of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper to learn all about one of Da Vinci's most famous works. This masterpiece was completed in 1495, offering an incredible time capsule of Italy's High Renaissance.

Highlights:

You'll get 15 minutes with this impressive piece of human history with an expert to help you uncover its story and secrets.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8:15 AM–7.00 PM.

3_-_BCC-2023-BEST-ART-MUSEUMS-IN-MILAN-3-1x1.webp

3. Lose yourself with the iconic paintings of Pinacoteca

Pinacoteca di Brera is Milan's most important art museum. It houses many of the country's greatest Old Master paintings and iconic sculptures. On the Brera District & Pinacoteca Guided Experience, you'll explore masterpieces by Hayez, Caravaggio, and Raffaello before exploring Brera's chic cobblestone streets.

Highlights:

Pinacoteca di Brera contains world-famous pieces like Andrea Mantegna's The Dead Christ and Three Mourners and Hayez's iconic The Kiss.

Address and opening hours:

Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8:30 AM-7:15 PM. Last entry at 6:00 PM.

4_-_BCC-2023-BEST-ART-MUSEUMS-IN-MILAN-4-1x1.webp

4. Explore one of Europe's oldest public libraries at Ambrosiana

This treasured public library and gallery is one of the continent's oldest. Formed in 1609, it contains a veritable treasure trove of Renaissance masterpieces that span Caravaggio's Basket of Fruit and Da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus. Get a highlights tour with Ambrosiana Gallery & Da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus Tour that'll bring you face to face with Da Vinci's sketches.

Highlights:

From centuries-old artworks to sketches and books, the Ambrosiana Gallery is also a breathtakingly beautiful public space. Explore its mahogany interiors as you view Italian artistic masterpieces.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza Pio XI, 2, 20123 Milano MI, Italy. Open Thursday-Tuesday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM. Closed on Wednesday.

5_-_BCC-2023-BEST-ART-MUSEUMS-IN-MILAN-5.webp

5. Admire Goya and Giordano at the Royal Palace

Milan's splendid Royal Palace was once the seat of emperors and local government. Today, it houses exceptional artworks with treasure-filled halls like the Royal Collections Gallery. View masterworks by Goya and Giordano on the Royal Palace Tour with Optional Royal Collections.

Highlights:

The Royal Palace's permanent collection includes the Traballesi fresco, Apotheosis of Apollo, and De Troy's Jason and Medea tapestry.

Address and opening hours:

P.za del Duomo, 20122 Milan MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 12:00 PM-7:30 PM. Open late every Thursday, 12:00 PM-10:30 PM. Tour times vary.

6_-_BCC-2023-BEST-ART-MUSEUMS-IN-MILAN-6-1x1.webp

6. See important paintings by Michelangelo and da Vinci at Sforza Castle

Milan's impressive 14th-century Sforza Castle is home to numerous museums and galleries. These treasured spaces include masterworks by Italian greats like Michelangelo and Da Vinci, including the former's last known work. Get access to these pieces with a Sforza Castle Entry Ticket.

Highlights:

Highlights include the Rondanini Pietà Museum, where you'll find the bulk of the castle's Renaissance masterpieces

Address and opening hours:

Piazza Castello, 1, 20121 Milan MI, Italy. Open daily, 7:00 AM-7:30 PM.

Best design museums in Milan

7_-_BCC-2023-BEST-ART-MUSEUMS-IN-MILAN-7-1x1.webp

7. Browse historical operatic designs at La Scala Theater

This 18th-century theater has put on some of the most acclaimed operas in Italian history. View memorabilia, costumes, and stage designs from this illustrious history with a La Scala Museum and Theater Tour.

Highlights:

A live tour guide will recount anecdotes of noted performances, and you may even stumble upon a rehearsal.

Address and opening hours:

Teatro alla Scala, Via Filodrammatici, 2, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open daily, 9:30 AM-5:30 PM.

8_-_BCC-2023-BEST-ART-MUSEUMS-IN-MILAN-8-1x1.webp

8. Explore living Italian fashion at Quadrilatero della Moda

Milan's Quadrilatero della Moda is like a living, open-air fashion museum, containing acclaimed boutiques that have operated for decades. Discover the district's most important stores and architectural landmarks with a Fashion Highlights Tour with Guide.

Highlights:

Marvel at the architecture of fashionable hubs like the Grand Hotel of Milan as you browse the decadent shops of the world's most prestigious fashion houses.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza della Scala, 5, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Tour times vary.

Alternative museums in Milan

9_-_BCC-2023-BEST-ART-MUSEUMS-IN-MILAN-9-1x1.webp

9. Immerse yourself in the glamor of Milan's interwar era at the Villa Necchi Campiglio

Milan's 1930s were a high point where artists, designers, and intellectuals mingled. The famed architect Piero Portaluppi created a hub for this modernist epoch that remains a lasting museum of its finest ideas. A Villa Necchi Campiglio Entry Ticket offers access to its fashionable interiors and tranquil gardens.

Highlights:

Your tour guide will show you around the villa and lead you to the serene garden on the property.

Address and opening hours:

Via Mozart, 14, 20122 Milano MI, Italy. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM.

10_-_BCC-2023-BEST-ART-MUSEUMS-IN-MILAN-10-1x1.webp

10. Learn about different cultures at the Mudec Museum

Milan's strikingly modern Mudec Museum (unites the world's culture through art, artifacts, and design. Home to blockbuster temporary exhibits spanning K-Pop and Rodin, its permanent collections are free to visit.

Highlights:

Mudec's former factory space has been lovingly redesigned as a temple of glass and light. Browse this space and grab a drink in its show-stopping café.

Address and opening hours:

Via Tortona, 56, 20144 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 AM-7:30 PM. Open Monday, 2:30 PM-7:30 PM, with late openings on Saturday and Thursday to 10:30 PM.

FAQs

Are there any free-entry days for art museums in Milan?

Milan offers plenty of free-to-enter art exhibits, including the Palazzo Morando and Palazzo Moriggia. You can also view the permanent collections of the Mudec Museum.

What are some unique and lesser-known art museums worth visiting in Milan?

Milan's Pinacoteca Ambrosiana is an absolute gem, housing preserved Da Vinci sketches and works by Botticelli, Bruegel, and Titian. For more contemporary creations, hip spots include Gió Marconi Gallery in the heart of Parco di Monza and Tornabuoni Arte near Santa Maria Novella.

Which art museums in Milan have works by famous artists?

Milan is stacked with artistic heavyweights, from Da Vinci's famed Last Supper in Santa Maria delle Grazie to Pinacoteca di Brera's world-famous collection of Old Masters.

Are the art museums in Milan wheelchair-accessible?

Yes, many art museums in Milan are wheelchair-accessible. These include larger collections like the Milan Duomo, Sforza Castle, and Royal Palace.

Are there any art museums in Milan that are suitable for children and families?

You can share a slice of art history with your kids at Santa Maria delle Grazie, where you can view Da Vinci's famed Last Supper mural. For a more child-friendly introduction to the world of Da Vinci, head to Leonardo3 or the exceptional National Museum of Science and Technology.