Filled with historical monuments, known worldwide, Milan can conceal some of its treasures. Only those who look beyond lavish appearances can discover what hides behind the corner, in the narrow streets of the city centre.
Hidden spots, secret rooms and unconventional art: Milan hides also a more curious side, which can be discovered only by those who can watch carefully.
Often, participating in guided tours or following itineraries, organized with the aim of optimizing the time spent visiting the city, leaves no room for the curiosity of hidden places. With this short collection we want to bring back the attention they deserve to these places. Whether these are added between one visit and another of your tour or visited on the last day before leaving the city, they will make you seem to enter even more into the Milanese soul. Here are the 10 places that fascinated us the most, and that we are sure will show you Milan from another perspective.
SAN BERNARDINO ALLE OSSA
Piazza Santo Stefano
Entering this small sanctuary, it seems to be a very normal place of worship. Continuing through the ossuary, however, the real secret is hidden: a room whose walls are entirely covered with human bones and skulls. These remains were exhumed from the nearby cemetery, while others came from the ancient ossuary. The macabre decorations are flanked by frescoes by the Venetian Sebastiano Ricci. The ossuary can be visited freely from Monday to Friday from 8.00 to 18.00 and on Saturdays from 9.30 to 18.00.
Via Serbelloni, 10
The first intercom in Milan can be found right at the entrance of this Art Nouveau building. Palazzo Sola-Busca, renamed Ca' dell’oreggia, houses this work by the Milanese sculptor Adolfo Wildt to the right of the main door. Originally it was used to connect the road to the porter's lodge, while today, no longer in use, it retains a mystery: anyone who whispers their wishes will one day see them fulfilled.
INVERNIZZI VILLA AND ITS FLAMINGOS
Via Cappuccini, 7
Entering the Quadrilatero del Silenzio (Quadrilateral of Silence), where the noises of the city seem only a distant memory, you find yourself in front of Villa Invernizzi. The home of the homonymous entrepreneur, who loved nature and peaceful country life, preserves a colony of pink flamingos imported from South America in the 1970s. The garden is not accessible to the public but walking along the street you can see some specimens beyond the hedge
Treesse - Corso Buenos Aires, 10
How many times has it happened to you to go shopping and change between the safety deposit boxes of an old bank? Inside this very normal clothing store there is a hidden vault that also contains a secret passage. To find it, just look for box number 892 and the door will open to an external safe.
If you are looking for a colourful place to take photos or simply transport your mind to another city, then the Via Lincoln Village is the right place. This rainbow district was built to accommodate local workers at an affordable price. Today it has become the "Milanese Burano" and attracts curious visitors every day who want to get away from the frenzy of the city for a little while.
THE WALL OF DOLLS
Via Edmondo de Amicis, 2
Born in 2014 from an awareness project against violence against women, this wall of dolls is located in a very central position a few steps from the Columns of San Lorenzo. Today it has become a symbol against violence, recognized and replicated even at international levels.
THE HOUSE OF CARDS
Viale Berengario, 8
Inside the courtyard of Casa Pozzi, a building that is easily distinguished by its original architecture, there is a castle of giant playing cards. The installation, dating back to 2014, was the result of the collaboration between the fashion houses Fiorucci and Missoni. In the evening, the play of light with colored neons is reminiscent of the style of the two designers. The work, also called "Love art 4 all" is clearly visible from the street, giving anyone the opportunity to stop and admire it.
Corso di Porta Romana, 5
Symbolizing one of the most important events of the Italian Risorgimento, this cannonball has remained embedded on the wall of a building since 1848. This was launched by the Austrian army to counter the insurrections of Milanese citizens during the famous Five Days of Milan. Today it represents an open-air historical relic visible to all.
Piazza degli Affari
Known by the acronym of (Libertà, Odio, Vendetta, Eternità) Freedom, Hate, Revenge and Eternity, at first glance it may seem like a vulgar sculpture, but the meaning is deeper. Made by Maurizio Cattelan, this 11-meter-high hand, intent on the Roman salute, has all but one cut off fingers. Furthermore, the position facing the Palazzo Mezzanotte, currently the seat of the Stock Exchange and a symbol of the Fascist period, is intended to criticize the world of finance, but the author leaves its meaning free to interpret.
Corso Magenta, 65
Another story that links Leonardo Da Vinci to Milan is precisely that of this vineyard. On the occasion of Ludovico il Moro's commission to paint the Last Supper, in 1498 Leonardo was given this vineyard cultivated at the bottom of the garden of Casa degli Atellani, part of a redevelopment project by Lodovico il Moro. Today visits are organized during the museum hours, from Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00 to 18.00, at a price of € 10 (reduced € 7/8) per person. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit the website.
These 10 places of secret Milan are considered small glimpses of the past or anticipations of future movements and, in any case, each one contains an interesting meaning. Difficult to find in city guides, we hope this short collection will bring added value to your visit to Milan and we hope to have intrigued you enough to come back for more tips.
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