Some pieces of advice to avoid queues and gatherings
Hey you, contemporary art lover, did you think you could do your usual exhibition tour, visiting Fondazione Prada, Palazzo Reale, Museo del 900, Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, Mudec and other galleries? Well, you’d better review your itinerary. The wake of Covid-19 is long and, unless you are able to identify that particular astral conjunction in which the opening days and times of these venues coincide, you run the risk of finding half of these exhibition places closed. Then, my dear friend and tourist, you, who are bored with the poor night life of your town, which is still in a deep lethargic sleep; you, who decided to come to the economic capital, but realized too late that train tickets are not refundable these days; you, who now do not know how to spend your only two days off – leave contemporary art alone. If I may give you a suggestion, I would recommend a less known but equally interesting historical route where you will find neither gatherings nor kilometre queues.
Visit the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio, near the Navigli, and stop at the Portinari chapel that houses the Ark of Saint Peter Martyr, the work by Tuscan artist Giovanni Di Balduccio. The famous Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio is certainly worth a visit – and do not forget to visit Bramante’s courtyard – being it on the way to a small jewel of Renaissance architecture and musive painting, the convent church of San Maurizio in the Monastero Maggiore, which was frescoed by Bernardino Luini and, later, by Simone Peterzano.
Cathedrals and churches full of art treasures wait to be rediscovered by “tourists by chance”
Then, you can visit the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where – I should not even tell you – you can see Leonardo Da Vinci’s Cenacle; and in case you get struck by this genius, you can follow his footsteps from the Sala delle Asse in the Castello Sforzesco to the Aula Leonardi in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, from the 1119 autograph sheets that are collected in the Codice Atlantico and kept in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana to the Museum of Science and Technology, where you can behold the beautiful scale model that reproduces the system of canals of Milan. Continue your visit with Michelangelo’s unfinished masterpiece, La Pietà Rondanini, which has been kept in the Ancient Hospital of the Spanish Soldiers since 2012, and then head towards the Church of San Sepolcro, the place where Constantine’s 313 Edict was promulgated.
Do not forget the wonderful and illusionistic scarsella that was designed by Donato Bramante for the Church of San Satiro, the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio and the whole district of Brera, with the Pinacoteca, the Academy, the library and the botanical garden of the same name. Do you think there is too much to see in a weekend? Run.
P.S. Do not forget the Cathedral.