Housed in three fabulously decorated palaces, the enormous art collection of Fondazione Cariplo and Intesa Sanpaolo bank pays homage to 18th- and 19th-century Lombard painting. From a magnificent sequence of bas-reliefs by Antonio Canova to luminous Romantic masterpieces by Francesco Hayez, the works span 23 rooms and document Milan’s significant contribution to the rebirth of Italian sculpture, the patriotic romanticism of the Risorgimento (reunification period) and the birth of futurism at the dawn of the 20th century.
Amassed from Biennale exhibitions and the private collections of Italian sovereigns and aristocrats, the works are of extraordinary quality and historic pedigree. Of particular interest are a range of 19th-century Milanese streetscapes, and a stunning series of little-known naturalist paintings by Domenico and Gerolamo Induno, Renoir-esque Mosè Bianchi and Eugenio Gignous, which bridge the gap between romanticism and the dawn of divisionism (pointillism) and futurism.
The gallery's restaurant and cafe (open from 8am to 10.30pm daily) makes for a nice lunch spot, and serves up good coffee, pastries and cakes.