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Visitor Treasure Guides

PROEDI MEDIA GROUP T R A D I T I O N A L A N D D I G I TA L C O M M U N I C AT I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 5

Thanks to

MILANO


Il complesso di Brera BRERA PALACE by Stefano Zuffi, art historian, cultural manager with Associazione Amici di Brera and president of the Associazione Amici del Poldi Pezzoli

A maze of winding, cobbled streets, historic buildings and secluded gardens; the lingering presence of great writers, internationally renowned artists, and brilliant students; the rich atmosphere of the home to the Brera Pinacoteca and Academy, and other historic cultural institutions: the Brera district is undeniably one of Milan’s most enchanting. Two jewels of gothic architecture stand nearby – the churches of Santa Maria del Carmine and San Marco. But the district also has an alluring outdoor quality that inspires you to stroll along its narrow streets, passing by many restaurants with outdoor seating, refined and unique fashion boutiques, antique shops, and stores specialized in the fine arts, discovering a host of delightful hidden corners. Via Brera is lined with elegant 18th-century noble palazzi. One of them will soon become an extension for the Pinacoteca, which is always looking for new spaces to host temporary exhibitions and offer even mores services to the public. Already incorporated into the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, the brick apse of the deconsecrated church of San Carpoforo stands directly opposite the Pinacoteca entrance. The church hosts exhibitions and performances by Academy students. You may also treat yourself to a soothing pause in the small but delightful Botanical Garden, with access via Palazzo Brera or from Via Fratelli Gabba. Dating to the 18th century, the garden was reopened to the public a few years ago and offers a delightfully peaceful setting within Milan’s densely urbanized historical centre. It also offers a view of the metallic dome of the coeval Observatory, which contains a collection of historical scientific instruments. Magnificent Palazzo Brera is clearly the district’s centre of gravity. Its majestic brick and stonework have changed little since the 17th-18th century, when it housed a Jesuit college and was one of the city’s foremost pieces of civilian architecture. The stately entrance portal with its columns is the work of Giuseppe Piermarini, the architect who designed Teatro alla Scala and Palazzo Reale.

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BACK TO THE FUTURE by James M. Bradburne, General Director of the Pinacoteca di Brera and Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense

Every great city has its fabled sites: Paris has the Eiffel Tower, but also the Jardins de Luxembourg; London, the Tower, but also the Chelsea Physic Garden. In Milan there is the Duomo, the Galleria, la Scala – and Brera. Brera is more than just an old palace, and more than just the site of one of the country’s most important collections of art – much more. Brera includes the city’s oldest botanical garden, created by the Jesuits to grow medicinal plants. Brera is home to the city’s oldest observatory, which used to determine precise noon for the city before the introduction of time zones in 1884. It is home to the country’s most important art academy, an institute for science and literature and the magnificent library founded by Maria Theresa in 1786. Brera is one of Milan’s fabled places. To be director of two of the palace’s most prestigious institutions is therefore both a privilege and a pleasure. My mission – and that of the whole Brera team – is to make Brera a vital, dynamic cultural meeting point in the centre of the city’s design district; at the heart of the city itself. In addition to reinstalling the museum’s collection of masterpieces including Mantegna, Piero della Francesca, Raphael, Caravaggio and Picasso, the palace plays host to events, concerts and activities in every season – during Design week, Fashion week, the famous Furniture Fair. From 2017, every two years Brera hosts an annual summer ball on June 21st. It is hard not to feel the magical quality of Brera every day arriving at work walking through the magnificent courtyard of honour. There is a tangible excitement to bringing the palace alive, and to seeing the courtyard, museum and library full of young people. But there is an equally heavy responsibility, to care for a piece of the world’s cultural heritage, and to find ways to bring it to life by creating new value to reach new audiences. Brera is the heart of Milan, and it is a privilege to help it beat in time with the contemporary city.

At Brera you dance to the notes of “La La Land” 1_  


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ROTONDA SO DELLA The Botanical Garden is a relatively small Home to some 1.5 million volumes, BESANA A D 2 AZZA many displayed in the splendid Maria RCULEA I (c. 5.000 m ) but highly fascinating green OSPEDALE Ppocket O R nestled in the city. Originating VIA visible from the Pinacoteca: MAGGIORE Theresa Hall, PIAZZA TA18th century, it is nowPOLICLINICO in the managed historical codices and books UMANITARIA VIA I collected T N A C F LU RO by the Department of Botany of the by the Jesuits, VIAan exceptional nucleus VIA S MMilan. In 2017 the Botanical of scientific texts from the Age of VIA University of AN F IA introduced Enlightenment, and an important S OGarden A A a new variety of rose, TA the “Rosa di Brera”. Via Brera, 28 or via collection of handwritten documents AN privata F.lli Gabba, 1 by Alessandro Manzoni. Via Brera, 28


Visiting the Pinacoteca Instituted as a collection of paintings to guide the development of students at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, the Pinacoteca di Brera was opened to the public during the Napoleonic era. It was actually inaugurated on Napoleon’s birthday, the 15th of August 1809! The original nucleus of works comprises large sacred paintings, most of them requisitioned by Bonaparte’s armies as they made their way through Italy. It is easy to recognize these works because they are all mounted in simple, identical gilded frames. The Pinacoteca gained international stature in the space of just a few years and went on to more add galleries and new works. Even today, the exhibition spaces continue to be a work in progress, with an upcoming expansion that will offer visitors additional services and an even more pleasant visit. Access is via the grand staircase at the rear of the courtyard of honour leading to the upper level of the portico and the piano nobile. Climbing the stairs we pass in review before statues of the great Enlightenment thinkers. One of the first sights to greet our eyes after entering the Pinacoteca is the splendid Maria Theresa reading room, the sumptuous heart of the Braidense Library. The entrance corridor leads to a group of small rooms on the left with gold-ground panels and detached frescoes, the museum’s oldest paintings, from the 13th to the early 15th century. Next is the newly redesigned exhibition of 15th-century Venetian painting, featuring a lofty [1] Giovanni Bellini, Pietà, 1467-1470, tempera on panel, 86 × 107 cm. Room VI Dating to sometime between 1465 and 1470, the panel marks a clear break between the artist and the teachings of Andrea Mantegna. The two were bound not only by a cultural affinity, but also by kinship (they were brothers-in-law). Immersing the three sculptural figures in an atmosphere of natural light, Bellini concentrates on representing the human suffering of the protagonists, introducing a new artistic idiom that would become his unmistakable personal and stylistic trait.

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PINACOTECA DI BRERA VENERANDA PINACOTECA AMBROSIANA

[2] Andrea Mantegna, Dead Christ and Three Mourners, 1470-1474, tempera on canvas, 68 × 81 cm. Acquired on 1824 through the mediation of Antonio Canova. Room VI This very famous exercise in perspective features an innovative foreshortening of the human body. In all probability, Mantegna painted the work not to sell it but to hang it in his own funerary chapel. When the artist died, his son recorded it among the objects that were still in his studio. It is one of the few works on canvas from the Italian Quattrocento. The extremely delicate colour evokes the shadow and mournful atmosphere of a funeral chamber. Curious detail: Mantegna highlights the slab on which Christ has been laid. In Mantua, where the painter lived, a fragment of marble from Jerusalem was kept associated with the Stone of Anointing in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

interplay between Giovanni Bellini’s Pietà [1] and Andrea Mantegna’s famous Dead Christ and Three Mourners [2]. At the end of the corridor you enter the monumental spaces of the four Napoleonic Rooms created in the early 19th century. Laid out along a stately enfilade of paired columns, these room hold the Pinacoteca’s largest paintings, including the spectacular Saint Mark Preaching in Alexandria [3] by Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, and Tintoretto’s unsettling yet innovative Finding of the Body of Saint Mark [4]. Dominating the view along the rooms is Antonio Canova’s full size plaster model for the statue of Napoleon that stands outside in the centre of the courtyard. The wide corridor that runs alongside the halls is dedicated to Lombard painting between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries: a sequence full of appeal, which starts from the sumptuous age of the Sforza dynasty and continues, showing the influence of Leonardo and finally the attached attention to reality [5]. The last room is the reconstruction of a chapel frescoed by Bernardino Luini. After visiting a reconstructed chapel with frescoes by Luini, we enter the fourth Napoleonic Room and from here move on to the recently renovated gallery of sixteenth-centuries portraits. The large restoration workshop has ample windows where we are able to watch the restorers at work as they protect and restore masterpieces of art to their original splendour.

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Visiting the Pinacoteca

[3] Gentile e Giovanni Bellini, Saint Mark Preaching in Alexandria, c. 1507 ca. Oil on canvas, 347 x 770 cm, from the Scuola Grande di San Marco of Venice. Room VIII This is the largest painting exhibited at Brera. Supposedly set in Alexandria but highly reminiscent of Piazza San Marco in Venice, it is an incredible compendium of interesting details: clothing, characters, objects, exotic animals. The painting was begun by Gentile Bellini, who was well acquainted with oriental atmospheres and customs, having sojourned at the sultan’s court in Constantinople, but completed by his famous brother, Giovanni. Curious detail: At the right, among the crowd of people, we may note an unexpected portrait of Dante Alighieri, recognized by the crown of laurel on his head. A few years prior to the painting of this work, the Republic of Venice had conquered the city of Ravenna, where the great poet’s tomb is located. Gentile Bellini thus meant to celebrate this bit of literary glory that the Serenissima could suddenly claim as its own.

[4] Jacopo Tintoretto, The Finding of the Body of Saint Mark, 1562-1566, oil on canvas, 396 x 400 cm, from Scola di San Marco, Venice. Room IX A large square canvas with a rushing diagonal perspective, starkly dramatic illumination, and a subject that was truly novel for its day. A group of Venetians have entered a church in Alexandria, Egypt, and are opening the tombs in search of the body of Saint Mark. The saint’s ghost appears at the left foreground, making a grand gesture to stop the macabre raiding of the tombs. Curious detail: The saint’s dead body on the ground is painted in a foreshortened, frontal view strongly reminiscent of Mantegna’s Dead Christ.

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PINACOTECA DI BRERA

[6] Gentile da Fabriano, Valle Romita Polyptych, 1410-1412, tempera on panel, central panel 157.2 x 79.6 cm; lower panels 117.5 x 40 cm; upper panels 48.9 x 37.8 cm. Room XXII This is the consummate masterpiece of late-Gothic painting at Brera. The Pinacoteca obtained the five largest panels of the polyptych in 1811 from the Franciscan hermitage of Santa Maria di Valdisasso, near Fabriano; the four smaller panels were acquired from a private collection in 1901. The subject, the coronation of the Virgin surrounded by the saints who founded the order, is the most holy to the Franciscans.

The series of rooms dedicated to fifteenth-century paintings from Emilia and Marche feature a stunning contrast between the gold works and the red walls. Here we may admire the exceptional Polyptych [6] by Gentile da Fabriano, a masterpiece of late-Gothic painting. The visit continues through a room currently used for storage, preluding to the museum’s most solemn space: a room shared by the Montefeltro Altarpiece [7] by Piero della Francesca and Raphael’s The Marriage of the Virgin [8]. The visit continues in the rooms dedicated to paintings from the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth century (please stop to contemplate Vincenzo Campi’s The Fruit Seller [9]), recently remodelled around the Supper at Emmaus [10] by Caravaggio. Baroque paintings are next, including a magnificent large painting by Rubens. The delectable pale blue rooms contain eighteenth century works by the Venetian veduta artists Canaletto, Bellotto, and Guardi. The room dedicated to the nineteenth century continues to regale us with important works, leading up to the moment when the Pinacoteca bids us adieu with Francesco Hayez’s famous work The Kiss [11]. 7_  


Visiting the Pinacoteca

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PINACOTECA DI BRERA [9] Vincenzo Campi, The Fruit Seller, 1578-1581, oil on canvas, 143 x 213 cm.

Room XV The sun is setting on the Renaissance. New painting genres and subjects are emerging and the tastes of collectors are quickly evolving. Vincenzo Campi, a painter from Cremona, was ready and able to interpret the nascent predilection for still-lifes, which would reach full maturity about ten years later with Caravaggio. The protagonist is again a woman, a good natured, modest fruit vendor holding a bunch of grapes in her right hand and seated amidst an abundance of fruit of all sorts celebrating the bounty of the seasons. Curious detail: Vincenzo Campi took pains to choose a different container for each kind of fruit: bowls, baskets, tubs, plates, etc.

[10]

Michelangelo Merisi (Caravaggio), Supper at Emmaus, 1605 - 1606, oil on canvas, 141 x 175 cm, purchased in 1939 from the Associazione Amici di Brera. Room XXVIII [5] Donato Bramante, Christ at the Column, circa 1490, oil on panel, 93 x 62 cm. From the abbey of Chiaravalle. Room XXIV. A great architect, Bramante also produced some excellent paintings in Milan, in which he reveals his study of human anatomy and presents an expressive intensity closely resembling that of Mantegna.

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Treasures and Secrets

[7] Piero della Francesca, The Virgin with Child, Angels and Saints (Pala Montefeltro), c.1474, Tempera on panel, 248 x 170 cm, from San Bernardino church, Urbino. Room XXIV An ostrich egg, a perfect geometrical figure suspended in a perspective space, hangs above a silent group of figures. This altarpiece by Piero della Francesca is one of the masterpieces that fully express the sense of geometry of Italian humanism in the perfect relation between the figures and the architecture. The Madonna is surrounded by four angels and six saints: on the right, kneeling, is Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, and patron of the work, which was painted for the church where he is buried. Curious detail Federico is always portrayed in profile to hide the wound that had disfigured his face and cost him his right eye. The dented helmet in front of him bears witness to the event. [8] Raffaello Sanzio, The Marriage of the Virgin, 1504, oil on panel, 170 × 118 cm. Room XXIV

SECRETS OF THE PALACE Some 4.000 international students populate the historic rooms of the Brera Fine Arts Academy. The long corridors are lined with plaster casts of famous classical and Renaissance sculptures, once teaching materials and now sumptuous decorations laid out in an evocative perspective view. In the small square next to the Palazzo stands a monument to Francesco Hayez, who taught at the Academy for many long years before becoming its director. This is a special honour: the only other monument to a painter in Milan is the one dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci in Piazza della Scala! Hayez faces the beautiful eighteenth-century façade of Palazzo Cusani, an outstanding example of Milanese noble dwelling. Entering Palazzo di Brera, on the right side of the large central courtyard you will find the recently restored “Atrium of the Jesuits”. It is a place rich in history, featuring sculptures from various periods, including a large relief with the triumph of Napoleon, which was intended to be mounted on the Arco della Pace at the foot of Corso Sempione but never installed. Passing through the beautiful Baroque portal you enter the corridor that leads directly to the Botanical Garden and to the stairway to the Astronomical Observatory. On the right along this corridor you will find the large room for stage sets in the very evocative gothic ruins of the church of Santa Maria di Brera, whose bell tower still stands in a lateral courtyard. Continuing along the corridor, you note the celebrative plaques honouring famous professors. One of them celebrates the studio of Hayez, who donated his extensive collection of paintings to Brera. You then emerge into the Botanical Garden proper, where in addition to the continually varying display of natural splendour, you should also have a look at the old greenhouses, which will soon be reborn to new use.

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A botanical garden with a view

The Observatory gives onto the Botanical Garden, both part of the complex instituted in 1774 by Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN Visitors may access the Botanical Garden from Palazzo Brera through the long corridors of the Academy, or enter via the gate at the end of Via Fratelli Gabba. The Brera Botanical Garden is relatively small (5,000 square metres) but offers a delicious respite from the bustle of the city immersed in a natural setting. It is managed by the Botany Department of the University of Milan, which recreated the layout of the flower beds it had when Maria Theresa instituted it in 1774. It features some 300 plant species and includes a novelty: the Rosa di Brera, a specially selected variety. The old greenhouses designed by Luigi Piermarini, the architect of Teatro alla Scala, look out onto the Garden. Currently used by the Academy of Fine Arts, plans are underway to transform them into a garden café. The Botanical Garden borders on the garden of Palazzo Citterio, a building on Via Brera purchased by the Italian state to provide more exhibition space for the museum. HAYEZ, “THE KISS” [11] Written and pronounced as one, The Kiss by Francesco Hayez has recently become a favourite painting among visitors for its apparent spontaneity. After a long series of solemn paintings of sacred subjects, finally, at the end of the itinerary, at last we have an outpouring of passion between two lovers! But is that really what it is? In truth, Hayez painted The Kiss as an allegory for the alliance between Italy and France during Italian Unification (the Risorgimento), helping Italy achieve national independence. But it doesn’t matter! Booming sales of merchandise in the Pinacoteca bookshop affirm its great success as a romantic painting.

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Timeline 1275 The approximate year of construction of the church of Santa Maria di Brera by the Humiliati order in a meadow area (“braida”) near the city’s Medieval walls.

1346 The church is rebuilt to designs by the Pisan architect and sculptor Giovanni di Balduccio.

1485 Vincenzo Foppa paints the fresco Madonna and Child with St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist in Santa Maria di Brera. The fresco is now in the Pinacoteca.

1571 After a failed assassination attempt on Archbishop Carlo Borromeo, the Humiliati order is dissolved. The Brera convent passes into the hands of the Jesuits.

1591 Remodelling and expansion work begins on Palazzo Brera.

1615 The architect Francesco Maria Richini takes over project leadership, creating the designs for the grandiose central courtyard.

1630 The Great Plague of Milan slows construction on Palazzo Brera.

1702 The Brera astronomical observatory, known as the “specola”, is built.

1707 The end of Spanish domination in Milan. The city is now administrated by the Austrian Empire.

1717 Birth of Maria Theresa, future empress of the House of Habsburg.

1740 Death of Emperor Charles VI. Maria Theresa assumes the throne.

1760 Two Jesuit fathers observe a comet from the Brera observatory.

1773 Suppression of the Jesuit order. Palazzo Brera becomes state property. Maria Theresa promotes the creation of a major center for scientific study with the Braidense Library, the Botanical Garden, and the Astronomical Observatory.

1776 The architect Giuseppe Piermarini reworks the palazzo, creating the magnificent entrance portal.

1780 Maria Theresa is succeeded by her son Joseph II, who initiates work to open the Brera Academy of Fine Arts.

1786 Brera astronomers draw a huge meridian on the floor of the Milan Cathedral.

1791 Abbot Giuseppe Parini is appointed superintendent of the Brera public schools.

1796 Napoleon enters Milan.

1801 Giuseppe Bossi is appointed secretary of the Brera Academy and becomes the main force behind the Pinacoteca.

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1805 Napoleon commissions the painter Andrea Appiani to select and collect paintings from various parts of Italy (Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia, Marche).

1806 The state buys The Marriage of the Virgin by Raphael, a decisive step toward the creation of a museum.

1809 After the partial destruction of the old church to make room for the new museum, the Pinacoteca di Brera is inaugurated.

1857 After various vicissitudes, the imposing bronze statue of Napoleon, based on a model by Canova, is finally placed at the centre of the large courtyard.

1882 Management of the Pinacoteca is separated from that of the Academy. The two institutions are now separate.

1917 At risk of damage during WWI, the paintings in the Pinacoteca are removed and spirited off to a safe location. Their return after the end of the war is an occasion for a general reorganization of the spaces and the acquisition of new works.

1926 The Friends of Brera Association is founded, bringing important new works and sustained support to the Pinacoteca.

1939 The Fascist regime orders the breakup of the Friends of Brera and dismisses the Pinacoteca director, Ettore Modigliani, because of his Jewish origins. Modigliani and the Friends leave Brera with a grandiose gesture: the acquisition of Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio.

1940 Italy enters the Second World War alongside Germany. The Pinacoteca di Brera and the Academy are evacuated: books and paintings are moved to a safe location thanks to the selfless courage of extraordinary civil servants such as Guglielmo Pacchioni and Gian Alberto Dell’Acqua.

1943 -1945 Milan is heavily bombarded by the British Air Force. The palazzo is gutted, the roofs burn. In winter 1943-44 snow accumulates in the ruins of the galleries that once housed the Pinacoteca.

1950 The Pinacoteca reopens under the direction of Fernanda Wittgens, with exhibition design by Piero Portaluppi. It is one of the leading symbols of Milan’s rebirth after the war.

1974 The superintendent Franco Russoli closes the Pinacoteca to protest the apparent indifferent by the state for one of its finest museums. Brera needs space to grow: the “Grande Brera” project is initiated.

1976 The Jesi collection of 20th-century art is donated to Brera: other donations and acquisitions in the following years will increase the size and importance of the Pinacoteca’s collection of modern art.

2009 The superintendent Sandrina Bandera directs the celebrations for the bicentennial of the Pinacoteca. Some 12,000 people visit Brera on the museum’s birthday, 15 August (Ferragosto).

2015 J ames Bradburne is appointed director general of Brera and initiates a radical overhaul of the Pinacoteca under the mottos “Fieri di Brera” (Proud of Brera) and “A occhi aperti” (Eyes Wide Open).

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SERRAVALLE AND ART McArthurGlen’s deep commitment to culture and art is indissolubly bound up in the inherent nature of the Group. McArthurGlen has always supported art in all its forms, funding and creating bonds with the most important cultural institutions on the Italian peninsula and promoting their values at its five outlets in Italy. The McArthurGlen Designer Outlets in Serravalle, Noventa di Piave, Barberino di Mugello, Castel Romano, and La Reggia feature works of contemporary art and exhibitions in their piazzas, promote exposure to music, and organize talks with writers and artists. The bond with the Pinacoteca di Brera reaffirms the Group’s commitment, and particularly that of the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet of Serravalle, with one of the world’s foremost museums, creating a ideal bridge between the city of Milan and the Serravalle area, rich in important artistic and cultural stimuli that have yet to be fully discovered.

PROEDI MEDIA GROUP T R A D I T I O N A L A N D D I G I TA L C O M M U N I C AT I O N S I N C E 1 9 8 5

Visitor Treasure Guides | Milano: BRERA EYES WIDE OPEN Supplement to “Where® Milan” - The Monthly City Guide Reg. Trib. Milano n. 453, 19 July 2010. Where Italia Srl, Registered to ROC n. 20182 del 14 settembre 2010 The guide is available in traditional and digital editions PDF and PDP© (Proedi Dynamic Publications) (www.proedieditore.it/visitor-treasure-guides/) © registered trademark of Proedi Comunicazione srl Managing Editor: Andrea Jarach Chief editor: Patrizia Masnini Art direction: Elisabetta Giudici Marketing: Rachele Renna Text: Stefano Zuffi Photo: pinacotecabrera.org/ Editing and layout: Proedi Editore Via E. Biondi 1 - 20154 Milano www.proedieditore.it English translations: Language Consulting Congressi – Milan – Italy Printed by: Graphicscalve, loc. Ponte Formello 24020 Vilminore di Scalve (BG) First Edition: December 2017 For this issue, thanks to: James Bradburne, Alessandra Quarto and McArthurGlen Serravalle Designer Outlet who sponsored this guide

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UNITED FOR ART BENEFITS FOR YOU

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At Zani Viaggi or Autostradale Viaggi ticket offices ► A €5 discount on the Milan-Serravalle Designer Outlet shuttle ticket offered by Zani Viaggi (departures from Largo Cairoli and Stazione Centrale) and Autostradale Viaggi (departures from Piazza Duomo, Piazza Castello and Stazione Centrale)

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At the Bottega Brera cash desk ► 15% discount on the cover price of the volumes: • La Pinacoteca di Brera (Italian, English, Spanish, French and Russian)

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Pinacoteca di Brera | Visitor Treasure Guides [EN]  

The August 2018 edition of 'Brera EYES WIDE OPEN'. This is the first of the guides part of the editorial project Visitor Treasure Guides ded...

Pinacoteca di Brera | Visitor Treasure Guides [EN]  

The August 2018 edition of 'Brera EYES WIDE OPEN'. This is the first of the guides part of the editorial project Visitor Treasure Guides ded...

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