5 libraries and archives in Milan

1) Braidense National Library

The most important room is dedicated to Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, who wanted to open this library to the public in 1786. The walnut wood shelving with the continuous walkway, designed by architect Giuseppe Piermarini, and the 18th-century chandeliers in Bohemian crystal are striking. The latter originally hung in the Palazzo Reale, where they were damaged during WWII.

interior Braidense National Library

Via Brera 28

+39 02 8646 0907

2) Ca’ Granda Historical Archive

In 2018, Ca’ Granda’s Historical Archive and crypt opened to the public. The former is a place of extraordinary beauty, with materials that document over 600 years of history; many Milanese patriots are buried in the latter.

Ca’ Granda Historical Archive

Via Francesco Sforza 32

+39 391 499 7845


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3) Main public library of Milan

This library has a large reading room with newspapers and magazines. Among the most interesting spaces is the room called ‘del Grechetto’, with 23 paintings of the myth of Orpheus taming the animals. But the most enchanting place to read is in the garden at the rear of the building, which is open from April to October.

A reading room at the Public Library of Milan

Corso di Porta Vittoria 6

+39 800 880 066


4) Biblioteca Venezia

Behind busy Corso Buenos Aires, there is an open space where a magnolia almost conceals this beautiful art nouveau building from the early 1900s, the old Dumont cinema. Today this neighbourhood library is a good place to read a newspaper or magazine.

building Biblioteca Venezia

5) The Trees Library

An open-air library, with trees instead of books. A modern botanic garden, designed by the landscape artist Petra Blaisse, covering 8 hectares under the Porta Nuova skyscrapers. The most unique section is that of the ‘vegetable rooms’, or circular mini-forests created with single species. There are also meadows and pedestrian and cycling paths.

exterior of the Trees Library building

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