The Pinacoteca di Brera is one of the most important museums in Italy and Europe that features an impressive collection of masterpieces belonging to the Italian artistic heritage and tradition.

The History of the Pinacoteca di Brera

The Pinacoteca di Brera is hosted within the Palazzo Brera. The building was entirely renovated by architect Giuseppe Piermarini, the same designer that was commissioned the construction of the La Scala Opera House. It was in 1773 when the Jesuits, who formerly owned the Palazzo, where evicted and the building went under the control of the Austrians.

The Empress Maria Theresa decided to relocate here some cultural institutions like the Academy of Art (which was officially founded in 1776), the astronomical observatory and the botanical gardens.

The history of the Pinacoteca di Brera goes side by side with the one of the Academy of Art. Even though the  museum was officially opened in 1809, the Palazzo Brera already hosted, since the birth of the Academy, a small collection of artworks to allow the students of the Academy to appreciate art close up.

Unlike other important museums, the Pinacoteca di Brera is not the result of years of work of wealthy private collectors. The museum is nothing more than the result of years of thefts committed by the French army in buildings owned by religious orders that in those years were disappearing.

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The museum

The main courtyard of the Pinacoteca di Brera features a statue of Napoleon which was erected in 1859, when the sculptural tradition of Milan, known as the School of Milan, was particularly flourishing.

Spread on one floor, the collection of the Pinacoteca di Brera allows the visitors to virtually travel from era to era of the Italian painting tradition.

Among the masterpieces of the collection there are some of the most important works of art that have made the history of art. In particular:

  • The dead Christ and the three mourners by Andrea Mantegna
  • The marriage of the Virgin by Raffaello Sanzio
  • The supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio

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The Pinacoteca di Brera is located at 28 of Via Brera in the heart of the so-called design district.

Getting there is extremely easy thanks to the underground services. Just catch the green line and get off at Lanza Station.

Tickets start at € 10.00 and discounts are offered to groups, students and visitors under 18 and you can also buy tickets on-line here.

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