The Giardini Pubblici are Milan’s “green lung” and cover an area extending between Via Palestro, Piazza Cavour, via Manin and Bastioni di Porta Venezia. They occupy an area of 172.000 m2 (1.851.393 ft2) and in 2002 they were named after journalist and historian Indro Montanelli. This park is made of a neoclassical part facing Corso Venezia designed by Giuseppe Piermarini and an English-style garden that was planned later by Balzaretto e Alemagna.
This public park was initially conceived as an urban place designed for recreation, and the works were completed between 1782 and 1786. The area they cover was once owned by San Dionigi monastery and Carcanine monastery, both abolished during the Austrian dominion. The space is characterized by geometrical lines that can be seen mostly in the flowerbeds flanking the long French-style boulevards. During late 19th century the Giardini Pubblici were enlarged by architect Giuseppe Balzaretto, who added Palazzo Magnani park and the picturesque northern area, with artificial rocks that, thanks to the natural drop of the ground, create little waterfalls and waterworks. At the end of the 19th century the architect Alemagna enlarged the park adding a small lake and a waterfall.
In the park are also located the Civico Planetario, the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Palazzo Dugnani and monuments celebrating the protagonists of the Italian Risorgimento. Until the end of the Eighties there was also a zoo. Nowadays the unused cages have been turned into a playground for children.