Built in 1790 by Austrian architect Leopoldo Pollak for the noble Lodovico Belgiojoso
, Villa Reale is an imposing but lovely neoclassical building. The rear façade, open onto the garden, is really worth seeing.
The villa was the Milanese residence of Napoleon and, later, of the Kings of Italy (hence its common name of "Royal Villa
"). Since 1928 it has been owned by the City Council, or Comune (hence its official name of Villa Comunale).
It houses the Museo dell'Ottocento
- called until recently Galleria d'Arte Moderna - with 19th-century French and Italian paintings. Particularly famous are Segantini's works and - before this painting was moved to the Museo del Novecento
- Pellizza da Volpedo's The Fourth Estate
Beside the Villa Reale is the PAC
(an acronym, to be pronounced pack
, for Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea), designed by Ignazio Gardella in 1948-54. This art pavilion
was destroyed by fire in 1993 after a Mafia bomb was placed in a car nearby (and killed five people).
Its reconstruction to the original scheme was completed in 1996, and the PAC now again hosts its temporary exhibitions