This former private Palazzo from the 17th century, now Museo, is located on Via Manzoni, Milan (near Teatro alla Scala) is the private collection of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli (1822-1879) who was the last heir of the possessions of two prominent families.
His father, Giuseppe Poldi Pezzoli (1768-1833) inherited a considerable estate, married his mother Rosa Trivulzio, daughter of Marquis Gian Giancomo (1774-1831) heir to the most famous Milanese private museum.
In 1846, at the age of 24, Gian Giacomo inherited the family fortune. He began purchasing antique arms (mainly Italian pieces), his passion, and creating an Armoury. He then also added to the significant collection of Italian Renaissance paintings. He hired artist/decorators Luigi Scrosati and Giuseppe Bertini to redecorate some of the rooms of the family palace 1946, and commissioned architect Giuseppe Balzaretto to refurbish his home.
In 1879, Gian Giancomo Poldi Pezzoli died suddenly and left the palace and the entire contents including significant collections to the Brera Academy to become an Artistic Foundation. Friend and collaborator Giuseppe Bertini, who also painted frescos in the Palace, was entrusted with the administration and direction of the foundation and the Museum was opened to the public in 1881.
Baroque staircase and fountain. With statues representing Prudence, War, Wisdom, Pity, Faith and Theocracy decorating the walls. A stained glass skylight and stucco plasterwork were destroyed in the 1943 bombing.
The amassed collections in the Poldi Pezzoli Museum are so vast I can not properly do justice to the depth of them here… but here are some highlights, and I would love to go back and see more.
This is the Stucco room, holding a large collection of porcelain and majolica purchased by GGPP. Part of the porcelain collection is a group of Meissen dating from 1720.
There is also a Murano glass room, a collection of almost 200 pieces of Antique glass, mainly from Murano, Venice.
It was Gian Giancomo Poldi Pezzoli’s wish for the museum to be “for public use and benefit” continues to be a service for the community. Generous donations of over 1000 objects in 50 years, adding to the collection, considered one of the most refined in Europe.
In 1943, during World War II bombings, the Palace suffered huge damage to the rooms, plasterwork, frescos, damasks, woodwork – windows, ceilings and walls, but the artworks had been safely stored, and much of the furniture survived. The museum reopened in 1951 after restoration. Photos of the Palace pre war damage on the website.
Carlo Innocenzo Carloni The Apotheosis of Bartolomeo Colleoni 1737 Calusco d’adda Lombardy Italy – installed here in 1951 after the restoration from the bombing damage restoration.
Golden Room containing several important art masterpieces of the collection. The Palazzo collections contains over 80 masterpieces by Italian painters.
Sandro Botticelli The Virgin and Child 1480-1481 Florence Tuscany Italy
Piero Del Pollaiolo Portrait of a Young Woman 1470 Florence Tuscany Italy
Lorenzo Bartolini Trust in God 1833-1836 Tuscany Italy
Black Room (it’s original name, due to the ebony and ivory wall coverings, also destroyed in the bombings)
Detail inlaid wood table and chair
Sundial called the “Navicula de Venitiis” Oronce Fine 1524 France, part of the significant sundial collection.
Collection of compasses, astronomical and geographical – dating from 1500’s. There is also a significant collection of pocket watches and clocks in a temperature controlled room, also dating from 1500’s, from Germany, Switzerland, England, Austria and Italy.
Detail 16th Century Italian table in Walnut on herringbone floor.
Canaletto Pra della Valle in Padua 1741-1746 Padua Veneto Italy
Francesco Guardi 1745-1760 Venezia Italy.
A Private Library of 3500 printed volumes from the 15th to 19th century. A Textile room holds an exhibit of carpet and fabrics.
The Lace room with a large number of items to show the designs, techniques and fashions of the Italian works from the 16th to the 20th century.
Two hundred pieces of Antique Jewelry displayed in the Jewelry Room.
I have only touched the surface of all there is to see here…
details of the Museum
Museo Poldi Pezzoli – Via Manzoni 12 Milano
open 10-5:30 daily except major holidays museopoldipezzoli.it
My name is Sue Womersley and I am and Interior Designer in White Rock/ South Surrey, BC sharing my love of design, photography and travel with you. decorata.ca
other posts of Milan you may enjoy…
Villa Bagatti Valsecchi – Italian Renaissance collection of brothers Baron Fausto and Guiseppe from the late 19th century.
Villa Nechi Campiglio1930s Moderne extraordinary architecture – grande yet simple and elegant and a complete departure from the traditional design of the era.