The Brera Botanical Garden Museum of the Università degli Studi di Milano is a historical garden, which was founded in 1775 by Maria Theresa of Austria. The Jesuit Fathers, who since the end of the 1500’s lived in the Palazzo Brera nearby, had previously cultivated this area.
From the beginning, the Botanical Garden had an important educational role, although during the Napoleonic era, with the introduction of exotic species, it became more characterised by ornamental plantings.
During this time, in the space where the current Botanical Garden is, tall trees grew that shaded the ground, making it difficult to cultivate other species.
High walls and buildings, making its transformation difficult, surrounded the area.
The project for the garden included the removal of existing trees, raising the level of the ground and building a new greenhouse.
The garden was born as “Hortus Œcomomicus” the same as of Collegium Theresianum of Vienna.
Originally, the aim of the garden was to promote agriculture and the arts. They weren’t expecting to grow foreign or exotic plants.
The manager of the garden taught Botany at Brera High School. On top of this, the garden gave officinal plants to the Brera Pharmacy.
The project gave Fr. Fulgenzio Vitman three large areas of the garden to oversee: the first area was a flowerbed for each type of plant in the Linneo Classification, the second was for trees and the third area was for the greenhouse. The project for the greenhouse was in collaboration with Piermarini but carried out by Vitman.
When the French arrived they attempted to change part of the garden, while during the Austrian period the aim was essentially educational. During the French period they transformed the garden into a pleasurable space to introduce people to exotic ornamental plants.
At the end of Napoleon’s reign in 1814 the Austrians returned, however there weren’t any major changes for either Palazzo Brera or for the Botanical Garden.
Then the Austrian disengagement from educational and cultural activities began following political and social turbulence that led to their withdrawal of the unity of the Italian State.
The garden was entrusted to various institutions up until 1935 when it was passed to the Superior Institute of Agriculture, University Faculty, to be managed.
Also, under the management of the University of Milan, the garden was first assigned to the Faculty of Agrarian and then to the Sciences.
The passing from one administrator to another, as well as its characteristics of small, closed spaces between the buildings didn’t help the fact that the garden was slowly being abandoned.
It was only restored and reopened to the public in 2001.
Brera Botanical Garden is actually a University Museum. Its aim is to save the historical asset, to protect the areas of biodiversity and for rare species.
Since 2005 it has been recognised by the Lombardy Region as an Institutional Museum.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Le principali collezioni”]
Hydrangea and medicinal plant collections: the most interesting are the collections of salvia species, in particular:
S. fulgens, S. sclarea, S. pratensis, S. dominica, S. transsilvanica, S. glutinosa, S. virgata, S. verticillata, S. elegans, S. nemorosa, S. verbenaca, S. guaranitica, S. frutucosa, oltre a S. officinalis e le sue cultivar “Maxima”, “Argentea”, “Purpurascens”, “Icterina” e Tricolor”.
The most interesting tree species:
– Two Ginkgo biloba (male and female)
– Juglans nigra
– Firmiana platanifolia
– Pterocarya fraxinifolia
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Attività e progetti”] Attività per il pubblico e le scuole a cura del personale dell’Orto Botanico:
Guides are available for the general public and schools by reservation only.
Progetti realizzati con la Rete degli Orti della Lombardia:
– The eco-friendly garden
– Tropics in Milan
– EST: Training in science and technology
– Sandra Sicoli “The botanical garden in Milan: the beginnings years” in Tucci, P. Bicentennial commemoration of R. G. Boscovich, Milano September 15-18 1987, Proceedings;
– Tucci, P. “Il Museo Astronomico e l’Orto Botanico di Brera in Milano” in Annali di storia delle Università Italiane 2007, II, 251-559;
– Aurora Scotti “Brera 1778 – 1815 Nascita e sviluppo di una istituzione culturale milanese” Quaderni di Brera 5, Centro Di;
– Claudio Longo “ Brera crocevia “ dispensa.
Materiale prodotto dalle Rete degli Orti Botanici della Lombardia:
– Gli orti e i giardini botanici della lombardia, proposte didattiche ed educative per le scuole (2006);
– Gli orti e i giardini botanici della lombardia, proposte didattiche ed educative per le scuole (2009);
-Un tesoro da proteggere, piante protette in Lombardia e coltivate all’orto di Brera;
– 1 Piante rare e piante interessanti degli orti botanici della Lombardia;
– 2 Piante e cambiamenti climatici.
Materiale prodotto dal Museo Astronomico – Orto Botanico di Brera:
– pieghevole sull’orto botanico di Brera;
– pieghevole cortecce, percorso invernale;
– pieghevole bulbi primaverili.