Like any respected bank, the former Banca Commerciale Italiana also had a vault where items and materials of great value were stored.

The interior, planned in the early years of the last century by Luca Beltrami, is dominated by a unique, symmetrical compositional design: the ample space is supported by two majestic columns in the Doric style, each with a triglyph pulvino. The staircase, the balustrade in cast iron and the iron details of the walkway recall the style and phytomorphic motif of the balaustrade of the grand staircase on the upper floor, offering an overall view of consistency of the architectural project.

Though the vault no longer contains safe-deposit boxes, it safeguards something equally valuable: about 500 paintings belonging to the Intesa Sanpaolo collection.

The art works, preserved by an extremely efficient archiving system, hung on sliding grid panels offering an interesting and unexpected exhibition itinerary.

As you descend to the lower floor to deposit your bags or rucksacks, don’t forget to take a peek inside the vault; catching a glimpse, through the metal gate, of what currently cannot be shown in the museum halls but that could take centre stage in future displays.