Antique stores and narrow alleyways lead visitors on an enchanting journey through the Milan district of Brera. It's a place for exploring at leisure, packed with gelato shops, espresso cafes, and fine dining restaurants. Located in the historic centre of Milan, the traditional art district now boasts two of Milan's most prestigious art galleries.
The centrepiece of the district is the Palazzo Brera, a 17th century palace that is home to both the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and the Brera Art Gallery. Known in Italian as Pinacoteca di Brera, the Brera Art Gallery is home to the world's most significant collections of Italian paintings. Masterpieces are split over various galleries, with the likes of Hayez, Caravaggio and Raphael all prominently displayed. Brera's streets radiate an old-world bohemian atmosphere, and much of the attraction comes from getting lost in the narrow alleys. Everything other than the palace is small, with intimate cafes, iconic restaurants, and live music spilling out of cosy nightlife venues. While out exploring, visitors can observe the old mixed with the new, illustrated beautifully by the Carmine Church and the Strehler Theatre.
Brera is located just outside the city's medieval walls, immediately to the east of Castello and Parco Sempione, and to the north of Scala and Duomo. Although there are no metro stops in the district, Lanza, Cairoli and Montenapoleone are all a mere two-minute walk away.
The name of the district comes from the Old Lombardic term “brayda”, meaning a lack of trees. During the medieval period, this area bordering the city walls was deliberately left empty to make Milan harder to attack.