Grandiose and opulent, the Museo Poldi Pezzoli is one of the most significant museums in Europe. It showcases famous Renaissance artworks and other historic collections, and most significantly offers an intriguing glimpse into the life of its former owner Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli – a fine art collector of the 19th century.
First opened to the public two years after Pezzoli’s death in 1881, this awe-inspiring house museum is a tribute to Pezzoli, a wealthy man influenced by his mother’s love of art. He then dedicated his life to decorating his family's palatial apartments with highly renowned paintings and sculptures, and other antiques like clocks, porcelain figurines, carpets, tapestries, furniture, watches, jewellery and glassware.
Having inherited his fortune at the young age of 24 and after extensive travels through Europe, Pezzoli decorated each room themed on the great periods of art, culminating in one of the most valuable and important collections of his time. Visitors to the museum can find artworks from the Renaissance (with impressive Italian paintings by Pollaiolo and Botticelli), Baroque period and the Middle Ages.
The museum’s history also includes a remodel in 1846, when artists and decorators Luigi Scrosati and Giuseppe Bertini brought in landscapes by Alessandro Magnasco to decorate the museum’s staircase. The museum also became home to works by Bernardino Luini, Lucas Cranach and Andrea Mantegna. Due to the devastation of World War II, much of the home’s interior was ruined and extensive restoration and replication was put in place to revive Pezzoli’s priceless collection.
Since 2010, the museum has hosted a series of exhibitions that explore applied arts and contemporary design. Today, visitors can enjoy a range of activities related to each exhibition, including concerts, lectures, meetings, guided tours and workshops for kids. There is also a quaint restaurant on the first floor of the property in which to relax and enjoy a drink or meal after a tour.