The most important collection is that of the paintings, in terms of both number and quality. The Museum owns 1,793 works, and the number continues to grow thanks to constant donations from private individuals.

Few other picture galleries in Italy can pride themselves on such a comprehensive overview of the Venetian and Lombard schools, as well as a select collection of Tuscan Renaissance works.

The Pinacoteca contains masterpieces by artists ranging from Pisanello to Mantegna, to Foppa and Bellini, as well as Raphael, Titian, Lotto, Moroni, Baschenis, Rubens, Tiepolo, Canaletto, Guardi, Hayez and Previati. There is also a particularly significant collection of paintings by the teachers and pupils of the School of the Accademia Carrara, with works by Diotti, Piccio, Coghetti, Trécourt, and Scuri, among others.