Orta Botanico di Brera


Introduction about the garden

The Brera Botanical Garden is part of a large cultural compound housed in Brera Palace, which includes the Brera Pinacoteca, the Astronomical Observatory, the National Library and the Academy of Fine Arts. The surface of the Botanical Garden is about 5000 square meters; it is worth to be visitied or its special charm of an ancient garden encapsulated in a historical building.

The Orto Botanico di Brera is a botanical garden located behind the Pinacoteca di Brera in the centre of Milan, and is operated by the Istituto di Fisica Generale Applicata of the University of Milan. The garden was established in 1774 under the direction of Maria Theresa of Austria, transforming an existing Jesuit garden used by students of medicine and pharmacology. The garden has greenhouses from the 19th century that are now used by the Academy of Fine Arts, as well as flowerbeds and elliptical ponds from the 18th century.

Story of botanical garden

Orto Botanico di Brera is home to one of the oldest ginkgo biloba trees in Europe, and various other mature botanical specimens can be found within the grounds. It is a true plant-lover’s paradise and a wonderful place to take a stroll and admire the romantic features. The Orto Botanico di Brera is small by botanical garden standards but is well worth visiting for its historical charm and the originality of the mixture of art and nature that often results from the influence of the Academy of Fine Arts. Locals enjoy reading, relaxing and soaking up the sun in this lovely green area and the fact that most tourists never discover the rather well-hidden garden is probably a blessing, as it remains a peaceful and beautiful refuge.

The Brera Botanical Garden is part of the Brera Astronomical Museum-Botanical Garden, a museum managed by the Università degli Studi di Milano. The Museum’s aim is the safeguard of Palazzo Brera’s historical-scientific and historical-naturalistic heritage.

Activities in the botanical garden

The promotion and realisation of projects and activities of recovering and conservation are directed not only to the preservation of the historical heritage but also the dissemination of scientific culture. That is why the Brera Astronomical Museum-Botanical Garden welcomes school classes and groups of adults joining the “Storia e Scienza a Brera” routes every day. Furthermore, an educational division of the Milan Municipality has been working daily since some years, promoting the activities devoted to the students of the compulsory schools.

Even if there has always been a space in Palazzo Brera devoted to gardening, horticulture, growing of medicinal plants, meditation and contemplation the establishment of a full-blown “Botanical Garden” happened in 1774 by will of Maria Theresa of Austria. They had the aim to make the place pleasant to everyone who wanted to visit it for his/her own pleasure. The didactic and educational aspects had been privileged compared to the ostension of rare or exotic species. Furthermore, the Garden had to supply the Brera “Pharmacy” with medicinal plants. The project was committed to Father Fulgenzio Vitman, who had already planned a large university Botanical Garden in Pavia.


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