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Villa Reale di Milano

Built by the architect Leopold Pollack, the Villa stands out for its rational design and moderate elegance, typical of Austrian Neoclassicism.

The first of its kind in Milan, the Villa’s “English-style” garden recreates a natural landscape dotted with ancient ruins.

The history of Villa Reale, from the private residence of Count Belgiojoso during Austrian occupation of Milan to the city’s Modern Art Gallery.

Villa Reale is embellished with a complex decorative cycle on both the exterior facades and the interior stuccowork and furnishings.

Built between 1790 and 1796 as the private residence of Count Lodovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso, Villa Reale is a masterpiece of Milanese Neoclassicism. The Count himself chose the location for the Villa along the contrada Isara (Via Palestro), as it was strategically found between the city center and Porta Orientale (Corso Venezia), Milan’s true and symbolic entrance on the way to Vienna.


The Villa was designed with elegance and practicality by the Austrian architect Leopold Pollack, who worked with the greatest exponent of Lombard Neoclassicism, Giuseppe Piermarini, who had originally been commissioned with building the Villa.

 Refurbished in 1921 to host Milan’s Modern Art collections, Villa Reale offers its visitors an extraordinary experience of continuity between “content” and “container.” This was further consolidated after World War II with the decision to limit the collections on display in the Villa to the 1800s and place 20th-century works in the adjacent Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC), built in 1955 by the architect Ignazio Gardella where the stables, bombed during the War, once stood.

Following an attack that destroyed the PAC in 1993 and which caused serious damage to the Neoclassical construction, the Villa underwent extensive restoration. Works intensified starting in 2002 and came to an end in 2006. Restored to Milan in all its original splendor, Villa Reale is today a lavish venue with its new exhibit itinerary.