Not just museums and art galleries! The warm season in Milan offers the ideal opportunity to discover a concept of culture that is somewhat outside the box. A walk around parks, gardens and public spaces in search of contemporary artworks in the open air is a valid - and no less fascinating - alternative for those who don’t have time for a visit to the traditional places of culture.

A map of these venues follows

In a city as cosmopolitan and open to innovation as Milan, it is no surprise that art finds a place even in unconventional locations, in dialogue with nature and urban architectures, blending in with them. Thanks to the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, which has carried out an official mapping of public art in Italy, now those who love spending a pleasant time outside and who don’t have time on their side can find the visiting experience to suit them, to discover the sites of contemporary art in Milan.

“Needle, Thread and Knot”

Places that are at a distance from each other, such as the fountain and the square of Cadorna Station, are joined together virtually by a yellow, red and green needle and knotted thread, a metaphor for the lines of the Milanese underground, which connected up the city as early as the 1990s. This is the meaning of the imposing work by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen that is visible outside Cadorna railway station.

Needle, Thred and Knot
Needle, Thred and Knot

Address: Piazza Cadorna
Public Transport: M1 (red line) – M2 (green line) Cadorna F.N.

"Egg"

A glass ogival structure designed by Alberto Garutti at the foot of the UniCredit Tower reveals 23 chromed brass tubes, which, almost like long trumpets, create communication – also in sound terms – between different storeys of the building that are apparently distant and without any relationship with each other.

Egg by Alberto Garutti c/o Piazza Gae Aulenti
Egg by Alberto Garutti c/o Piazza Gae Aulenti

Address: Piazza Gae Aulenti
Public Transport: M2 (green line) Garibaldi F.S

"L.O.V.E"

The name of this large statue outside the Milan Stock Exchange is the acronym for “libertà, odio, vendetta, eternità” (i.e. freedom, hatred, revenge, eternity), but the real meaning of the middle finger of sculptor Maurizio Cattelan is intentionally ambiguous. A provocation? You be the judge of that!

L.O.V.E By Maurizio Cattelan
L.O.V.E By Maurizio Cattelan

Address: Piazza Affari
Public Transport:  M1 (red line) Cordusio

"Graffiti"

Graffiti are among the undisputed protagonists of Milanese contemporary art. All areas of the city, particularly those around the San Siro Racecourse, are dotted with masterpieces by the exponents of local street art. Look out for them; they deserve much more than a photo.

Graffiti artists at San Siro Ippodrome
Graffiti artists at San Siro Ippodrome

Address: Piazzale dello Sport c/o San Siro Ippodrome
Public Transport:  M5 (purple line) San Siro Stadio

"Bagni Misteriosi"

Two swimmers, a swan, a platform, a cabin and a fountain stand out, immersed in a small swimming pool, in the heart of the park around the Triennale Milano. The work, created by Giorgio de Chirico, refers to the artist’s childhood in Greece.

The gardens of Milan's Triennale by Marta Mailhac
The gardens of Milan's Triennale by Marta Mailhac

Address: Gardens of the Triennale
Public Transport:  M1 (red line) – M2 (green Line) Cadorna F.N

"La Mela Reintegrata"

Heading towards the square outside the Central Station, why not stop for a while to look at the large white apple made of marble powder and metal in the middle of it. It’s “La Mela Reintegrata” by Michelangelo Pistoletto, a curious allegory of a future in which science and technology finally blend with nature.

La Mela Reintegrata by Michelangelo Pistoletto
La Mela Reintegrata by Michelangelo Pistoletto

Address: Central Station
Public Transport:  M2 (green line) – M3 (yellow Line) Centrale F.S.

"Grande Disco"

The distinctive style of Arnaldo Pomodoro is immediately recognisable in the large bronze work a few yards from the Quadrilateral of Fashion. “Grande Disco” (Large Disk) is an abstract representation of man, previously inscribed in a circle by Leonardo da Vinci

Grande Disco © Delbo Andrea/Shutterstock.com
Grande Disco © Delbo Andrea/Shutterstock.com

Address: Piazza Meda
Public Transport:  M1 (red line) San Babila

"Il Grande Toscano"

In the heart of Brera, contemporary art is in dialogue with that of the past in the large bronze statue of classical inspiration designed by Igor Mitoraj. The church of the Carmine in the background with the bust of the Great Tuscan in front of it is an image with a powerful visual impact.

Il Grande Toscano
Il Grande Toscano

Address: Piazza del Carmine
Public Transport: M2 (green line) Lanza

"Parco dell'Arte"

Just a few minutes from the city, the Idroscalo is a great idea for a trip into nature. Along the banks of the reservoir for swimming, a permanent open-air museum immersed in a marvellous natural setting stretches out for more than a kilometre, with sculptures by contemporary artists of international renown; it is known as the “Park of Art”.

Parco dell'Arte c/o Idroscalo
Parco dell'Arte c/o Idroscalo

Address: Idroscalo
Transport: Autostradale Bus departing from Centrale Railway Station