The University of Milan possesses an important artistic and cultural heritage that includes important historic buildings, inherited and acquired collections, archives, botanical gardens and the old Brera Astronomical Observatory commissioned by Maria Theresa of Austria. The University’s departments are housed in important historic buildings in the centre of Milan and in modern buildings in the area known as Città Studi (City of Studies). Among the palazzos that house the University’s facilities are the old “Ca’ Granda” ("the big house"), a monumental complex from the 15th century in the heart of the historical city centre; the 18th century Palazzo Greppi designed by Giuseppe Piermarini (architect of the Scala Theatre in Milan) and the 17th century Sant’Alessandro College commissioned by the Arcimboldi family. The book collection, which is one of the richest in the region, is preserved in 87 libraries, while the APICE Centre collects rare and valuable book stocks and archives.
The total university surface area is about 500,000 m2 (5,400,000 sq ft), comprising 356 classrooms with approximately 27,382 seats, 203 teaching and computer laboratories with approximately 1,831 seats and 171 libraries and study rooms with approximately 4,417 seats.
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