Situated beneath Piazza Guglielmo Oberdan in Milan, the Albergo Duirno Venezia remains one of the city's clandestine design marvels. Conceived by the esteemed Piero Portaluppi in the iconic art deco style, the spa center officially opened its doors in January 1926. Spanning an impressive 1,200 square meters, the venue housed 30 bathhouses, varying from basic setups to lavish suites, alongside essential amenities such as a barbershop, manicure and pedicure stations, a shoe-cleaning kiosk, a newsstand, a bank, a post office, and much more.
However, the once-fashionable establishment fell into decline over the years. It was further impacted by the construction of the Porta Venezia metro station. By 2006, the last barber ceased operations, marking the end of an era.
Facing uncertainty about its future, the local authorities took steps to preserve this architectural treasure. Numerous proposals surfaced over the years, including transforming the space into offices or archives for the Italian Cinematheque. However, the pivotal decision arrived from the Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini. In an ambitious move, he announced that the Albergo Diurno Venezia would be reborn as the National Museum of Digital Art, targeting a 2026 launch.
While the allocated renovation budget of €6 million might seem modest for such a monumental undertaking, the project's initiation signals a hopeful beginning. As Milan gears up for this transformation, the city pays homage to its rich past while looking forward to a digital future.