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Stampa d'epoca della Villa

Villa Belgiojoso was built based on a design by Leopold Pollack between 1790 and 1796 as the private residence of Count Lodovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso, upon returning to Milan after an important diplomatic career in Europe on behalf of Austria. Right after its completion, the Villa fell into French hands and subsequently became the home of the military governor of Milan, Gioacchino Murat, and the lavish venue for ceremonies and balls.
In 1804, the Vice President of the Italian Republic, Melzi d’Eril, purchased the Villa from the Belgiojoso heirs as a present for Napoleon. On that occasion, the Villa became known as “Villa Bonaparte.” In 1806, after hosting illustrious guests like Camillo and Paolina Borghese and Letizia Ramolino, the Emperor’s mother, the Villa became the private residence of the viceroy Eugene de Beauharnais, Napoleon’s adopted son, and his wife, princess Amalia of Baviera, who, preferring the Villa to their royal palace, commissioned lavish decorations on the upper floor.

Once all art intervention were completed, the Villa’s history went hand-in-hand with that of Milan: it was the residence of officer Heinrich von Bellegarde at the dawn of the Restoration; the site of the signing of the so-called “Pace di Milano” (document with which on August 6, 1849 the city of Milan was handed over to Austria on the part of officer Radetzky, who became the Governor General of the Lombard-Veneto kingdom and also an inhabitant of the Villa, between 1857 and 1858); home to Napoleon III. Finally, it also belonged to officer Vaillant, commander of the French army in Italy at the dawn of Italian Unification.
After the Unification, the Villa was assigned to the Italian Crown and was abandoned for an extended period of time. In 1920, it became State property, and important renovation work began, transforming the historic venue into the Modern Art Gallery and inaugurated in 1921.

G. Rosa (a cura di), La Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Milano, comune di Milano, Milano 1961 


G.C. Bascapè, T. Celona, M.P. Bassi, La villa Reale di Via Palestro, Strenna dell’Istituto Ortopedico Gaetano Pini, Milano 1986


Villa Reale historical photos