Museum Poldi Pezzoli, Milan (must see)
Founded in 1881, the Poldi Pezzoli Museum was originally a private collection of Poldi Pezzoli and his mother, Rosa Trivulzio, and featured 19th century Northern Italian and Flemish paintings along with a number of decorative art pieces including textiles, porcelain, glass, clocks, jewelry and metal works. In 1818, Poldi Pezzoli inherited great wealth from his uncle Giuseppe Pezzoli which included the beautiful palace and the garden filled with statues and fountains. He then spent his entire life decorating the house with paintings (spanning the 14th through 18th centuries) and eventually garnered 3,000 pieces of art. During WWII, heavy bombings in one night destroyed all the main Milan museums. The Poldi Pezzoli palace was also severely damaged, yet the works of art - previously moved to a safer place - remained unharmed. From the 1950s onwards, the Association of Friends of the Museum and private Milanese donators replenished the collection further, making it one of the finest in Europe. Operation hours: Wednesday - Monday 10 am - 6 pm.