The Cloisters of Sant’Eustorgio and the Carlo Maria Martini Diocesan Museum of Milan


The Carlo Maria Martini Diocesan Museum is one of the youngest and most interesting museums in the city of Milan, but at the same time it is also one of the least known.

The history and the collections of the Diocesan Museum of Milan


Only inaugurated in 2001 by Cardinal Martini (to whom it was then dedicated in 2017), the museum boasts a wealth of artworks from the Ambrosian Diocese, and the utmost effort has been made to curate and showcase them to best effect. The collection spans the second to the twenty-first century with a mishmash of ancient and recent art. This medley of styles and epochs has sparked fascinating connections between the over one thousand artworks on the premises which were donated, bequeathed or lent.



The old Dominican monastery of the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio in Milan


The museum collections are displayed throughout the interiors of that which was once a vast Dominican monastery on the northern side of the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio. In 1220, it was handed over to the good offices of the Dominican Order, which was founded by Papal Bull only four years earlier on 22 December 1216. The order then took possession of the entire premises in 1227.

The foundation of the monastery started off in the ancient Hospital of San Fede while Saint Dominic de Guzmán was still alive and it soon became one of the most popular Dominican monasteries as well as one of the biggest.


The Cloisters of Sant’Eustorgio in the Ticinese neighbourhood


The monastery gained two cloisters in the first centuries of its life and had to be rebuilt after it suffered damage. This was when the two cloisters took on the guise that is familiar to us today. However, a period of decline began during the sixteenth century due to the foundation of a second Dominican monastery in the city at Santa Maria delle Grazie on Corso Magenta. Finally, in 1798 after Milan was conquered by Napoleon, the friars were moved out and the building was converted into barracks and military quarters.

The premises of the former monastery were only returned to the community when they were bought by the Municipality of Milan in the early twentieth century, but sadly enough, the building was heavily bombed and badly damaged in August 1943. In the aftermath of the second world war, successful liaisons between the various institutions, including the Municipality and the Diocese, led to a decision to redevelop the area, although actual work didn’t really begin until the eighties.

Today, the premises of the second cloister of the monastery are occupied by the Diocesan Museum which organises a wide range of cultural activities and exhibitions for the benefit of the whole city.


Learn more

CLIP 1 – The Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio and the Portinari Chapel

The Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio and the Portinari Chapel in Milan   The Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio is the most iconic building in the Ticinese neighbourhood, not only for its quintessentially Lombard beauty, but also for its ancient legacy, for its collection of masterpieces and for a tradition that is kept alive.

Learn more