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BRERA ART GALERY

The Pinacoteca di Brera ("Brera Art Gallery") is the main public gallery for paintings in Milan. It contains one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings by Caravaggio, Correggio, Bramante, Bellini, Hayez, Mantegna, Piero della Francesca, Raffaello, Rembrandt, Tintoretto, Tiziano.

AMBROSIANA ART GALLERY

The Biblioteca Ambrosiana is a historic library in Milan, Italy, also housing the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, the Ambrosian art gallery. Named after Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan, it was founded by Cardinal Federico Borromeo. It houses famous painting such as  il Ritratto di musico by Leonardo, la Canestra di frutta by Caravaggio, la Madonna del padiglione by Botticelli and Ritratto di una dama by Ambrogio De Pedris.

MUSEO DEL NOVECENTO

Museo del Novecento (Museum of the Twentieth Century), located in the Palazzo dell'Arengario, is a public venue dedicated to Milan's collection of Twentieth-Century Art. A portion of this collection is displaied at the Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano (Boschi Di Stefano House Museum), devoted to the works donated by the Milanese collectors Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano.

THE MANSIONS

During tour we will enter the building where the old mighty aristocracy and bourgeoisie used to live. Mansions adorned with precious old paintings and refined pieces of furniture which reveal either the extremely sophisticated taste or the eccentric and amused attitude of the dwellers. We'll have a walk into the Fashion District of Milan where the most stylish and refined designer shops are concentrated.

HERMITAGE OF SANTA CATERINA DEL SASSO BALLARO

Clinging to a rock face directly overhanging the lake, the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso is certainly one of the most charming sights of Lago Maggiore. The entrance to the church is through a portico consisting of four round, renaissance-style arches. The structure of the current building is truly unique, the fusion of three chapels, originally built separately in three different eras. There are numerous pictorial cycles both inside and outside the Church, mainly covering the period running between the 14th and the 19th century. Art and history merge wonderfully in this most striking of natural frames, almost a balcony leaning out towards the Borromeo Gulf, Stresa and the islands.

CASTLE OF MASNAGO - VARESE

The Castle of Masnago, the result of a series of modifications and extensions from the Middle Ages (11th – 13th centuries) to the 18th century, is one of the most important historical buildings in Varese.

The original nucleus of the castle is the medieval tower, which was linked to other towers in the Varese area and was used as a sighting and signal tower. The main body of the castle dates from the 15th century and gave the castle the appearance of a mansion house, as may be seen from the façade overlooking the Mantegazza Park. Finally, the wing that was built into the pre-existing medieval fortress in the late 17th – early 18th centuries resulted in its present appearance as a country residence.

The Castiglioni family, who owned the Castle from the 15th to the beginning of the 20th century, were responsible for the exquisite frescoes. On the death of Marquis Paolo Castiglioni Stampa the castle was inherited by a female branch of the family, and was later sold to Angelo Mantegazza of Varese.

The frescoes, painted in the style known as International Gothic, date to around the mid-15th century, but were discovered only in 1938. Two of the interior rooms are frescoed: the “Sala degli Svaghi” (the “Pastime Room”) where the pastimes of the court are depicted, and the “Sala dei Vizi e Virtù” (“Room of Vices and Virtues”) illustrating the morals of the time.

The Castle’s magnificent rooms also host the Museum of modern and contemporary art. It houses paintings such as Tamar di Giuda by Francesco Hayez, la Donna con i fiori by Giuseppe Bertini  and la Sera d’autunno by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo.

THE ARCHEOLOGICAL AREA OF CASTELSEPRIO - TORBA

The place in which Castrum Sibrium was founded in Early Medieval times had been occupied starting from proto-historic times, as is demonstrated by the discovery of objects dating from the Late Bronze Age (X century BC) to the early Roman era.
In the IV-V century AD the summit of the plateau became a military post that controlled the pre-Alpine valleys and the nearby transport system, exploited periodically by Goths, Lombards and Franks.
The settlement in later times succeeded in maintaining its importance but, when it became involved in a power struggle between the Visconti and the Della Torre, it was overwhelmed in 1287 by Ottone Visconti who subsequently ordered its demolition. The cult buildings were spared and only abandoned by the religious authorities in the XVII century.
The Archaeological Park at Castelseprio includes a fortified area that extends down the valley as far as Torba and an extramural village.
At the "castrum", surrounded by a wall built in Gothic times, the entrance was via a bridge. Inside the defences the paleochristian complex dedicated to Saint John stands out, made up of basilica and baptistery, to which are linked a cistern with a well. The bell tower is an adaptation of one of the three Late Roman watch towers. Close by the Romanesque church of Saint Paul was built. Amongst the residential buildings there are private houses from various eras and houses that were occupied by the church canons up until the XVI century.
In the extramural village the oratory Santa Maria "foris portas", erected between the VII and the IX century is decorated with extraordinary series of frescoes that narrate the story of Mary and of Christ's childhood according to the traditions of the apocryphal gospel.
The "Antiquarium" is located in the small 13th century convent of S. Giovanni.
The Torba complex in Lombard times was the seat of a convent of the Benedictine nuns that had adapted one of the defensive towers as an oratory and burial ground; the monastery and the adjacent church of S. Maria were in use up until 1482.

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