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Botanical Garden in Milan – find a little, green secret

by Stephen Bellamy

What is the best thing about this place is that it is located in the very centre of Milan but it is rarely included in the route of the tourists.

Milan, as any other big tourist destination, has lots of secret places, which it keeps only for the most curious travelers. Such a little, green secret can be found just a few blocks away from the La Scala opera house, on the back side of the popular Brera Gallery – this is the Botanical Garden of Milan (Orto Botanico di Brera).

The Garden is part of the University of Milan, while a walk through it is like a stroll in someone’s yard in the country. Yet from its very beginning the alleys lead you through sweet-scented herbs – basil, thymus, salvia, oregano – each with its own name-plate. You can simply walk down the alleys, gently rub the leaves between your fingers and breathe in one scent after the other.

After the herbs, here come the vegetables, the flowering bulbaceous (in spring). There is a table with metal chairs where you may sit and rest under the shadows in a hot summer day. There are also benches, blooming shrubs, as well as one of the oldest Ginkgo biloba trees in the entire Europe.

History at a glance

This place has a centuries old history. In the past the garden was used by the students in medicine and pharmacy – established back in 1774 at the order of Austrian Empress Maria Teresa. Earlier, there was a green spot of the Society of Jesus at this place.

Bonus: Every Thursday (except during bank holidays) there is a brief tour with a guide from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. The tours are organised for small groups of up to 10 people and only after advance reservation on [email protected]

Useful information: The Brera Botanical Garden is situated right behind the Brera Gallery, on 28 Brera Street. It is free of charge. Working hours: Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. (with a break between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.); Saturday – from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Sunday – closed.


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