This wonderfully eclectic art collection was the life's work of aristocrat Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli, who donated his cache of artwork and decorative arts to the city of Milan in 1879; it is now elegantly displayed in his luxurious former palazzo. The ornate rooms of the ground floor feature Oriental rugs, weapons, ancient armor, and rare books. Up the carved marble stairs the riches continue through extravagant rooms hung with family portraits displayed alongside hand-blown Murano glass and dainty Limoges china. Scenes from “The Divine Comedy” are featured in stained glass, and fine gilded pistols sit side by side with precious jewelry.
The stars of this wonderful show are the intricate Armillary Sphere, crafted by Flemish clockmaker Gualterus Arsenius in 1568 to illustrate contemporary theories of planetary movement, and the Renaissance paintings by Botticelli and Piero della Francesca in the Golden Room. The clock room boasts 150 watches and clocks from the Renaissance to the late 1800s.