The best of Art Nouveau takes shape in the rough-hewn ashlars, the monumental facade, the stairway and the floral balustrade of Palazzo Castiglioni. This three-story building, built by Giuseppe Sommaruga between 1901 and 1904, initially caught the attention of Milan because of its two female nude sculptures placed over the entryway, considered too provocative for the times. Heading towards Porta Venezia, you can find one of the most original Milanese Liberty-style works, designed by architect Giovanni Battista Bossi. With its cement floral motifs and, above all, its facade decorated with ceramic tiles depicting female figures, Casa Galimberti rises proudly from its stone base. Also on Via Malpighi, but at number 12, Casa Guazzoni has remarkable wrought iron decorations, as well as a complex web of cherubs and garlands, sculpted in cement around the windows and the balustrades of the balconies on the second floor. The floral touches are also a feature of the former Dumont Cinema, one of Italy’s first, the name of which, a common French surname, shows the intent to confer upon the structure a touch of the exotic and avant-garde. The last Art Deco treasure is in Piazza Oberdan. Here, in 1926, the inauguration took place of a project headed up by architect Portaluppi to offer calm to travellers and citizens alike among marble, wainscoting, commercial spaces and others to pamper physical well-being. A fountain surmounted by the Goddess Igea stood at the entrance of the thermal baths. It was known as the Diurno - a sort of Pompei of the ‘20s - closed in 2006, but periodically open to visits that allow its decaying splendour to be appreciated.
Fragile and magnetic, a young woman stares out at the spectator beyond the canvas - not even its creator could pull himself away from the portrait of Concha Emiliana de Ossa, today in the collec-tion of the Pinacoteca of Brera.