Bagatti Valsecchi Museum in Milan, description and photos

Bagatti Valsecchi Museum

The Bagatti Valsecchi House Museum is located in the palace of the same name in Milan’s Fashion Quarter. It was founded in 1994 and today is considered one of the most important, best-preserved house-museums in Europe. It displays collections of artworks and interiors from the Renaissance and Neo-Renaissance periods. In 1974, by order of the heirs of the Bagatti Valsekchi family, a private foundation was created, which is still managed by representatives of the family. Their goal was to preserve and open the masterpieces collected by their ancestors to the general public.

In 1975, the Lombardy Region bought the historical residence; since 2008 it became part of Case Museo di Milano, a structure that unites 4 house-museums: Bagatti Valsecchi, Boschi di Stefano, Poldi Pezzoli and Villa Necchi Campiglio. All of them are located in the heart of Milan.

The history of Bagatti Valsecchi

Law graduates, the brothers Fausto (1843-1914) and Giuseppe (1845-1934) Bagatti Valsecchi, never worked in their main profession, but had a passion for architecture and collecting. Thanks to their shared love of the arts, particularly those of the Renaissance, they decided to renovate the family home in line with their ideals, without abandoning the innovative comforts that the 19th century had to offer. The brothers decorated the house and assembled a rich collection of artwork that is available today to a wide range of visitors.

Bagatti Valsecchi Milan museum living room

Central Living Room @ MuseoBagattiValsecchi

United by a common idea, though, the brothers were very different. Fausto was brilliant and social, while Giuseppe was somewhat reserved, preferring domestic peace and having five children, born to Caroline Borromeo. Otherwise, their lives were spent between pursuits traditional to gentlemen of their circle. In addition to managing their estates, they supported charity, participated in the life of Milan, traveled in Italy and traveled abroad, enjoyed horseback riding, enjoyed sports, and loved to fly hot air balloons and ride bicycles.

After Fausto and Giuseppe died, their heirs lived in the Bagatti Valsecchi house until 1974, when their 70-year-old son Giuseppe Pasino decided to establish a private foundation and sell the property for the benefit of the region.

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The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum has extensive collections of paintings, sculptures, weapons, glassware and bronzes, jewelry and ancient artefacts, tapestries and carpets, ceramics, furniture and household items, books and handmade objects from the Italian and Lombardy Renaissance. According to Giuseppe, the brothers did not set out to create a museum, but simply wanted to reconstruct a stately home from the mid-16th century that could house art masterpieces dating back to the 14th century.

The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum in Milan

Wrought iron banisters of the entrance staircase ©

Collection of paintings

With a few exceptions, the Bagatti Valsecchi collection contains works from the 14th and 16th centuries, mainly by Tuscan and Lombard masters and, to a lesser extent, by Venetian painters. The most famous canvases are:

  • “Santa Giustina” (1470) by Giovanni Bellini;
  • “Saint Francis” (1507) and “Saint John the Baptist” (1507) by Bernardo Zenale;
  • “Madonna and Child” (16th century) by Giovanni Ambrogio Bevilacqua;
  • “The Blessing of the Redeemer” (1535-40) by Giampetrino;
  • “The Mystical Engagement of St. Catherine among the Saints” (1515-20) by Girolamo di Benvenuto.

Catherine's mystical betrothal by the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum Milan

Fragment of “The Mystical Engagement of St. Catherine among the Saints” © Sailko


The collection consists of street reliefs embedded in the walls of the palace and sculptures displayed in the interiors. The works include the bas-relief of “Madonna with Child and Giver” by Bonino da Campione (mid 14th century), “Judith” and “David” by Lombard sculptor (early 16th century), “Adoration of the Magi” (polychrome wood of the 16th century) and others.

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Jeweller’s art

Articles of worship and household items of the XIII-XVII centuries are represented by crosses, reliquaries, eucharistic vases. In the collection there are caskets with enamel decoration and antique cutlery. They were designed for decoration of rooms and have no chronological or typological completeness.


The furniture collection is considered a fundamental component of the housing project. The Bagatti Valsecchi brothers tried to combine the furniture of the XIV-XVI centuries to create a more interesting effect compared to the original content of a single piece. In the museum you can see a cradle, a walker, an unusual seat, a “Bargueno” portable desk-cabinet, a cassone trunk, etc.


Stylized and original exhibits are placed in the Galleria delle Armi, exhibited with a scenographic effect. Here you can see ancient weapons, crossbows, swords and armor. Firearms Fausto and Giuseppe were not interested in.

Arms gallery at the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum in Milan

Weapons Gallery ©Paolobon140


The core of the collection is made up of pieces from the 16th to 17th centuries, although there is no shortage of pieces from later periods. There are products of Italian artisans from Venice, Pavia, Ferrara, Faenza, Pisa, Montelupo, Pesaro, Urbino, Deruta, Casteldurante and also from Rome, Gerace and Trapani and Bergio. A number of pottery items belong to the ancient apothecary sets. Of interest is a group of chandeliers from the 16th-17th centuries from the Spanish province of Valencia, including Manises.

Ivory objects

There are pieces from the Embriachi workshop, which dominated the ivory industry in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the Bagatti Valsecchi house-museum one can admire carved boxes, candlesticks, ciboriums, figurines, etc.

Scientific instruments

The exhibits include measuring instruments, designs of armillary spheres, an unusual 18th-century microscope made of ivory and fish skin, 16th-century terrestrial and celestial globes mounted on stylish pedestals, a 19th-century compass, etc. The collection is housed in the Library Room.


This collection by the Bagatti Valsekchi brothers is housed in the Dining Room. Exhibits from different eras and purposes are adjacent to each other, creating a motley score in the overall decorative design of the room. Collectors have relied on Murano glass from the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. They purchased ancient pharmaceutical vessels, original Kuttrolf flasks with shaped necks, bowls, goblets, and more.

The dining hall of the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum Milan

Dining room ©

Halls of the Bagatti Valsekchi Museum

The grand staircase with magnificent wrought iron railings leads to the noble floor of the building. From here one enters the first room that belongs to Fausto’s apartments. Not surprisingly, the brothers in the Bagatti Valsekchi house had their own private rooms, forming separate private areas. Alongside these are shared representative rooms for family gatherings and receiving guests.

The red room is the master bedroom of Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi and Carolina Borromeo. Its dominant feature is a huge Sicilian bed made of wrought iron and decorated with gold leaf.

The Red Room of the Bagatti Valsekchi Museum Milan

The Red Room ©Paolobon140

The Green Room was Giuseppe Bagatti Valsekchi’s separate bedroom, where he could retreat from his many family members.

The Stufa Valtellinese Room is the living room and first room of Giuseppe’s family apartment.

The Bevilacqua Room is Fausto Bagatti Valsecchi’s elegant private living room, where precious tapestries from the late 19th century are preserved.

Bevilacqua Hall of the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum Milan

Bevilacqua Hall @ MuseoBagattiValsecchi

The Letto Valtellinese room is Fausto’s bedroom, decorated with a 16th-century polyptych of the Virgin Mary with Child and Saints by Giampetrino.

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The Room of Frescoes, the first room in Fausto’s apartments, is named after a painting by the Bergamo artist Antonio Boselli, dated 1495. On special occasions the room was used by the family as a private chapel for weddings or baptisms.

Fresco Hall of the Bagatti Valsekchi Milan Museum

Fresco Room ©

The library is a suitable place for study and reading. Here are two globes from 1579, the Earth and the Sky.

The living room is the largest room in the Bagatti Valsecchi house, with double-height ceilings, a huge chandelier and angled lights on pedestals. It was one of the first private estates in Milan to be equipped with electricity.

The dining room is a communal dining room decorated with antique tapestries. Glass and ceramic pieces from the Renaissance period are placed on the table and in display cases.

The bathroom is the best interpretation of Bagatti Valsekchi’s philosophy. Despite its ancient appearance, the bathroom fixtures are equipped with running water and sewage.

The studio is a kind of study on the noble floor, where the brothers negotiated and received visitors coming from the Via Santo Spirito.

The House of Bagatti Valsecchi Museo di Valsecchi Milan

Studio ©

Passaggio del Labirinto is a room with a labyrinthine ceiling decoration. Here craft tools, antique household items and cutlery are on display.

The Squires’ Hall – once served as a second monumental entrance to the Bagatti Valsekchi house.

The Dome Gallery, a link between the two compartments of the house, named after the dome with a ceiling window, connected Fausto’s and Giuseppe’s apartments.

The Gallery of Arms is a room symmetrical to the Dome Gallery. It was originally intended for a collection of arms and armour.

Mode of operation

The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum House can be visited on certain days. The schedule is subject to change.

  • Thu-Fri. – from 13:00 to 17:45;
  • Sat. – From 10:00 to 17:45.


Tickets for the Bagatti Valsecchi House Museum can be purchased on the official website or on-site at the box office. Cost:

  • For adults 18+ -10 euros;
  • For visitors 65+ and students – 7 euros
  • For students – from 9 euros;
  • For children and adolescents 6-17 years old – 2 euros;
  • Infants up to 5 years old – free of charge.

A visit to the Bagatti Valsecchi House Museum is included in the list of museums with free admission with the Milan City Pass. In addition, it offers (optional) free public transportation or hop-on-hop-off sightseeing buses, as well as numerous discounts at restaurants and stores participating in the partner program.

How to get to the Bagatti Valsekchi Museum

The building is located at Via Gesù, 5. From Milan Cathedral and Pinacoteca Brera, it is a 10-minute walk away. The Montenapoleone Metro Station, line M3, is about 350 meters away. San Babila Metro station, line M1, is a little further (450 meters).

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The Bagatti Valsekchi Museum, Milan, Italy

The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is a historic house-museum in the Montenapoleone neighborhood of central Milan in northern Italy.

The permanent collections of the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum mainly contain Italian Renaissance decorative arts (such as majolica, furniture, tapestries, metalwork, leather, glassware and precious ivory table chests or “moldings and pastilles”), some sculptures (including a Madonna and a baby lunette by a follower of Donatello) and many paintings. European Renaissance arms, armor, clocks and several fabrics, as well as scientific and musical instruments complete the collection assembled by the Barons of Bagatti Valsecchi and displayed in their house according to their wishes.

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Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsekchi of Varedo designed together a house inspired by the noble palaces of the 16th and 16th centuries of Lombardy with Renaissance art objects. For this purpose, at the end of the nineteenth century, the palace of the Milanese family (the current site of the museum) was enlarged.

The uniqueness of the project of the Bagatti Valsecchi brothers was to create an absolutely harmonious whole (in German “Gesamtwerk”) in which the building, the fixed decorations and the precious objects of art, assembled with passion, contributed equally to the loyalty of the Renaissance.

The nineteenth-century culture reflected in the house of Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsekchi was determined to seek inspiration for its artistic expressions in the past. However, the two brothers, going off the beaten path, did not combine ideas from different eras. Instead of eclecticism, they directed their preferences to Renaissance proposals and objects in accordance with the cultural program launched by the young Savoy monarchy after the unification of Italy.

Description The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, open to the public since 1994, is one of the most important and best-preserved house museums in Europe. It is a private foundation created in 1974 by the heirs of Bagatti Valsecchi to display public collections of Renaissance and Renaissance decorative arts objects collected during the last decades of the nineteenth century by the brothers Fausto and Giuseppe to enrich their home. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

For each room in the museum, visitors are greeted by detailed mobile forms written in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese, and maps for children to follow the historical and artistic path while learning to play. Guided tours can be booked with qualified guides for children in Italian and for adults in Italian, English, French, German and Spanish.

The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is managed by the Bagatti Valsecchi Foundation – ONLUS, a private legal body whose president is Pierre Fausto Bagatti Valsecchi and which also sees Vittorio Sgarbi as a board member representing the Lombardy region.

From a shared dream to the Bagatti Valsecchi Foundation The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is a museum house resulting from an extraordinary collection of late 19th century collectors, the main protagonists of which are two brothers: Barons Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi.

Beginning in the 1880s both brothers devoted themselves to renovating the family home located in the heart of Milan: the building between Via Gesù and Via Santo Spirito, today the center of the quadrangle of fashion. At the same time, both brothers began collecting applied art and artifacts from the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries with the intention of installing them in their home to create a house inspired by 16th century houses from pawnshops. Continue

An incredibly topical project, due in part to the brothers’ desire to concentrate everything that could be futuristic in the world of the time–heating, plumbing and electric lighting–into their home and make it as exquisite as possible.

After Fausto and Giuseppe’s death, the Bagatti Valsecchi house continued to be inhabited by heirs until 1974, the year the Bagatti Valsecchi Foundation was created, which was given the legacy of artwork collected by the two brothers. Twenty years later, in 1994, the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum opened to the public, one of the best preserved museum houses in Europe and one of the first great expressions of Milanese design.

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Fausto and Giuseppe, the odd couple Fausto and Giuseppe have personally dedicated themselves to the restyling of the Palazzo, inspired by the Renaissance: law graduates never used their educational qualifications for professional purposes, but dedicated their time and resources to renovating the family home, decorating it and collecting works of art.

Moreover, the predilection for that era corresponded to the cultural program launched by the Savoy monarchy after the unification of Italy; it was the Renaissance that defined the moment to seek the construction of a new national art, a necessary component to strengthen this common identity, which is still too weak.

United and cohesive, the two actually had very different personalities: the brilliant and worldly Fausto, the more reserved and more domestically inclined Giuseppe. It was the latter who needed to ensure family continuity through the five children born of his marriage to Caroline Borromeo, celebrated in 1882.

If so much energy was devoted to the preparation of the dwelling between Geso and Santo Spirito, the rest of their existence passed between the affairs and ordinary duties of gentlemen of their rank and time. To the management of their assets they joined numerous charitable institutions, participation in lively city life, trips to Italy and abroad, the practice of horseback riding and other curious sporting hobbies such as balloon climbing and bicycle riding.

After Fausto and Giuseppe died, the Bagatti Valsecchi house continued to be inhabited by their heirs until 1974, when now seventy-year-old Pasino, one of Giuseppe’s sons, decided to create the Bagatti Valsecchi Foundation, to which he donated the Legacy of Works of Art collected by his ancestors.

The collection of Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi considered the typological richness of the works of art and artifacts collected with his brother Fausto, motivated by the diversity due to the internal reduction of their collection project to recreate a Renaissance residence. In this context, the same ancient artifacts collected from the passion of the two brothers became everyday objects, used in everyday life and households, losing the connotation of a historical object.

Preserved in relation to nineteenth-century furnishings, the collections unfold from room to room: in the wraparound rooms of the museum house, antique tables by authors such as Giovanni Bellini, Bernardo Zenale and Giampietrino find their place next to boxes in tablets. , with wooden furniture, in glass or ceramic artifacts. In addition to its intrinsic value, each work is part of Bagatti Valsecchi’s holistic project and contributes to defining its impressive together.

Along with artifacts from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, there are some exceptions to the rule: exceptions, perhaps imposed by the constraints of the antique market, or, in the case of particularly high quality artifacts, out of an understandable desire not to deprive oneself of works. this would have been well thought out in the house of Bagatti Valsecchi.

Paintings With few exceptions, Bagatti Valsecchi’s collection of paintings consists of sixteenth- and sixteenth-century woodwork, mostly relating to Tuscan, Lombard and, to a lesser extent, Venetian. The splendid home furnishings complement the works of great authors-the most famous of which is undoubtedly Giovanni Bellini’s Santa Giustina-with paintings by smaller masters, sometimes referring to secluded places such as the Lariana area or the Bergamo valleys. The Neo-Renaissance frames are able to harmonize the works created in the rooms and transform the doors of dismembered polyptychs – a typology well represented in the collection – into paintings that can be enjoyed by themselves, softening the individuality of a compartment already inserted in a more articulated work.

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sculpture Walled reliefs in palace courtyards or inserted as fixed interior objects in dwellings constitute the most important core of this collection. Despite the small group of works, problematic artifacts are lacking both from an attributive point of view and from their chronological definition. The degree of awareness of the two Bagatti Valsecchi brothers of works whose realization in the nineteenth century is still evident, as in the case of Alceo Dossen’s The Scourging of Christ.

Furniture A rich collection of furnishings is a fundamental component of the Bagatti Valsecchi project and residential project. Without any exaction, the two brothers encase the recreation with antique fragments or antique furniture with furniture from the fourteenth century, creating a setting in which the overall effect is more important and convincing than the originality of a single piece.

jewelry This collection center consists of liturgical objects and everyday objects: crosses, reliquaries, and eucharistic vases are placed next to enameled caskets or ancient cutlery, spanning the time period from the third to the seventeenth century. The purpose of the collection, which is not intended to be complete either chronologically or typologically, is entirely functional for the decoration of rooms in which various objects are artfully arranged.

Ceramics The core of Bagatti Valsecchi ceramics consists mainly of artifacts from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, although later works are lacking. Many production centers are represented as maps of the main Italian producers: in particular Venice, Pavia, Ferrara, Faenza, Pisa, Montelupo, Urbino, Casteldurante, Pesaro, Deruta, as well as Rome, Heras, Trapani, Burgio. Numerous clay pieces came from sets of ancient apothecaries dismembered in the nineteenth century. Compared to the Italian character of the collection, a group of chandeliers dating from the sixth to the seventeenth century, from Valencia and Manisis, is an exception.

Ivory The ivory collection of the Bagatti Valsecchi brothers, collecting heterogeneous objects by chronology, provenance and function, includes a compact core of artifacts belonging to the Embriachi, a workshop that dominated the production of bone and ivory objects in Italy between the 14th and 15th centuries. Fausto and Giuseppe sought above all to create an antique collection that would also be a tool for environmental restoration.

Scientific Instruments Inside the residence of Bagatti Valsecchi, the Library has a collection of scientific instruments for learning and reading. In this room, measuring instruments, armillary spheres, and an ivory microscope are displayed on a central table, while an excellent pair of sixteenth-century globes stand out on their pedestals in style.

Weapons and Armor This rich gathering core is housed entirely in the Galleria delle Armi, an environment of great influence, where artifacts are arranged on ancient caissons, while weapons for auction and swords show themselves in racks along the walls. Style and original artifacts stand side by side in the name of spectacular ensemble effect.

Glass In keeping with the interior of the Bagatti Valsecchi booth, the glass collection is set in the dining room windows; artifacts are placed next to ceramic plates and risers, forming a dense cut where works from different eras are freely combined with decorative effectiveness. The two brothers’ predilections are focused on Murano production, represented by glasses along a broad chronological arc, from the four to the nineteenth century.

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