Galleria d’Arte Moderna

Milan, Italy | C.1796

Photo Credit: Giorgia Caffagni

Not many people can claim to have a palatial residence gifted to them, but for a world famous conqueror, it comes with the territory. Completed in the Neoclassical style in 1796, this estate would be gifted to Napoleon Bonaparte at the height of his short lived empire.

Defeating Austrian forces and the Kingdom of Sardinia, Bonaparte was crowned in Milan in 1805 as King of France and Italy. Festooned with ornate classical statues and flowers on the parquet floors, the Villa Reale would serve as Napoleon’s refuge in the northern Italian city as a gift from his coronation. As much as he may have liked the estate, it was his stepson, Eugène de Beauharnais who would inhabit the manor and govern the new kingdom as Viceroy until Bonaparte’s forced abdication in 1814.

Napoleon’s time at the villa may be long gone, but it is now home to many conquerors–of the brush. Deeded to the City of Milan in 1921, the Villa Reale became home to Galleria d’Arte Moderna, home to hundreds of paintings and artwork from the Neoclassical era to the early 20th Century.

Touring grand hallways, it’s hard not to stop and take a gander at brilliant pieces like “Le Pardon de Pont-Aven” by Vincent Van Gogh, the only surviving paper-based work from the time he was living with Gauguin. Though the chandeliers are masterworks in their own right.

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