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Pinacoteca di Brera, Brera

The huge statue of Napoleon in the courtyard hints at this museum’s past – in 1809 the French emperor exhibited Italian art looted by his armies here. Today the 17th-century palazzo holds the pick of Italy’s masters, including Raphael and Caravaggio, and modern works by Umberto Boccioni and Modigliani. Careful lighting and fresh decor, courtesy of new director James Bradburne, make the canvases an even greater pleasure to see. Visit the Ettore Sottsass-designed glass restoration chamber to see paintings unframed for retouching.

28 Via Brera, 20121 
+39 02 7226 3230 
pinacotecabrera.org
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Mudec, Tortona

The Museum of Cultures brings historical and social context to the exhibitions that it organises. Shows that focus on the likes of Miró and Kandinsky, for example, tease out pleasantly unexpected angles to the artists’ work. There’s a vast display of artefacts from different ethnic traditions too, from utensils to musical instruments. Inaugurated in 2015, the zinc-clad building has a sinuous, wonderfully luminous matte-glass hall inside, while on the second floor is fêted chef Enrico Bartolini’s inventive two-star restaurant. 

56 Via Tortona, 20144 
+39 02 54 917 
mudec.it
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Fondazione Prada, Ripamonti 

Prada’s public gallery is worth every minute that it takes to get there on the metro. Rem Koolhaas transformed a century-old distillery into an inimitable space that includes a gold-leaf gallery housing permanent installations by Robert Gober and Louise Bourgeois, plus exhibition halls, a cinema, a library and even a café designed by Wes Anderson. There are roughly six exhibitions a year but, if the current display isn’t to your taste, pay the entrance fee anyway because the real masterpiece comes courtesy of Koolhaas. 

2 Largo Isarco, 20139 
+39 02 5666 2611 
fondazioneprada.org 

Images: Claudia Ferri, Luigi Fiano

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