A Milanese architect active from the 1910s to '60s, Piero Portaluppi designed the Italian Pavilion for the Universal Exposition in 1929. After World War I, he went on to restore several of Milan's historic Renaissance treasures, and began designing numerous public works and office buildings as well as notable private residences. A brief tour of highlights from his oeuvre offers a glimpse of local history.
1. Villa Necchi Campiglio
Via Mozart, 14 (Porta Monforte/Quadrilatero del Silenzio)
The mother of all Portaluppi villas, Villa Necchi Campiglio remains in pristine condition, and now serves as a house museum with an excellent café.
Wednesday - Sunday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Guided house tours only; the garden and café accessible without needing reservations or tickets.
Portaluppi also designed the Villa Alberto Zanoletti at via Mozart 9, currently covered in glorious ivy.
2. La Vigna di Leonardo / Casa degli Atellani
Corso Magenta, 65 (Magenta)
The Renaissance palazzo that hosted Leonardo da Vinci while he painted “The Last Supper” (across the street) was renovated by Portaluppi in 1922 and then again in 1943 for the new owners, who happened to be his parents-in-law.
Everyday: 9 AM to 6 PM. Ticketed guided tours only.
The original Pasticceria Marchesi, on the corner of Corso Magenta and via Santa Maria alla Porta.
3. Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano
Via Giorgio Jan, 15 (MM1 Lima/Centrale)
Set in a 1930s Portaluppi-designed apartment building, this grand dwelling also houses the modern Italian art collection of Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano.
Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Closed the month of August.
4a. Albergo Diurno Venezia
Piazza Guglielmo Oberdan (Porta Venezia)
An early Portaluppi masterpiece from 1925, the Albergo Diurno Venezia was once an ornate underground Art Deco public bath. Long since abandoned, it is currently being restored. For updates, visit: fondoambiente.it
4b. Planetario di Milano (Planetario Hoepli)
Corso Venezia 57 / Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli (Porta Venezia)
Another early Portaluppi, from 1930, this planetarium takes a more classical form, with references to Étienne-Louis Boullée and Art Deco touches sprinkled throughout.
The mid-century classic Padiglione D’Arte Contemporanea (Pavilion of Contemporary Art) by Ignazio Gardella at via Palestro, 14.
5. Casa Corbellini-Wasserman
Viale Lombardia, 17 (Piola/Città Studi)
1936 Portaluppi villa that will house the new Massimo De Carlo Gallery in late 2018. Until then the famous Triennale marble staircase is visible on the exterior. Featured in AUGUST issue 01.
The Sardinian restaurant Baia Chia at via Antonio Bazzini 37. Order the spaghetti with bottarga.
6. Villa Panza
Piazza Litta, 1, 21100 Varese
This 17-century villa, which was renovated by Piero Portaluppi in the 1930s, is home to one of the most important modern art collections in Italy. Count Giuseppe Panza installed his Minimalist art collection here before selling it to the Guggenheim, but permament installations by Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, and Donald Judd share space with Baroque splendor.
Villa Panza is located about 1-hour drive from Milan's center. For public transportation, take the train from Garibaldi FS station to Varese, then take a taxi to the Villa Panza.
For more information on Piero Portaluppi, visit the website of the Fondazione Piero Portaluppi: www.portaluppi.org