The Brera Botanical Garden is a romantic green oasis in the heart of Milan, behind Palazzo Brera. It was a place for meditation and cultivation for the Humiliati monks as far back as the 14th century and for the Jesuits from the 16th century. It became a Botanical Garden between 1774-1775, during the reorganisation of institutions under Maria The- resa of Austria, when Palazzo Brera was turned into a lively cultural centre for late eighteenth century Milan.
Since its foundation the Botanical Garden has been a seat of advanced education in pharmacy and medicine, through the cultivation of medicinal plants. In 1935 it was annexed to the Milanese Universitą degli Studi, which still manages it today and which has transformed it into a renowned museum. It reopened to the public in 2001 after restoration work which brought the original design to light, distinguished by two picturesque elliptical pools, an arboretum and closely packed beds for plants. The Botanical Garden still shows its historical character.
The beds house particularly rich collections of Italian flora and medicinal species of various genera; others are preeminently dedicated to particular themes (food, dyes, textiles and paper) or particular environments (Mediterranean, dry or damp).
There are of course rare plants or ones to be preserved for biodiversity, particularly Lombard indigenous plants. The patriarchs of the Botanical Garden are two remarkable Ginkgo biloba trees two and a half centuries old, the symbols of the garden, located in the historic arboretum, which was redeveloped in 2018.
In every season, as in an open-air living museum, the Botanical Garden offers visitors an aspect worth discovering, and a rich programme of events and educational activities.