Historical Buildings of Milan

Historical Buildings of Milan

Publish Time:2016-03-07 13:11:25Source:WTCF

【Introduction】:Noble Milanese palazzi with facades of extraordinary beauty, the realms of influential families, can be admired th

Noble Milanese palazzi with facades of extraordinary beauty, the realms of influential families, can be admired throughout the stages of this itinerary which starts off from the extremely central location of Palazzo dei Giureconsulti, in Piazza Mercanti, and then continues to Palazzo Clerici, which boasts a fresco by Tiepolo, and then Palazzo Marino, the Milan municipal hall in Piazza della Scala. The latter is the only building in the city to border on four different streets and to be placed in four different architectural contexts.

Casa Omenoni with its impressive sculptures is close by and, in Piazza Belgioioso, stands the eponymous neoclassical Milanese palazzo.

Palazzo Bagatti Valsecchi in Via Santo Spirito is a fine example of a nineteenth-century palazzo inspired by the stately style of the early Renaissance and is now the premises of the eponymous house-museum. Then follows an overview of architectural styles: the seventeenth-century Palazzo del Senato in Via Senato, the neoclassical Palazzo Serbelloni in Corso Venezia and the first Art Nouveau building in Milan, Palazzo Castiglioni. The itinerary ends in Via Vivaio at the Palazzo Isimbardi, headquarters of the Province of Milan.

1 PALAZZO GIURECONSULTI – Piazza Mercanti, 2

Palazzo Giureconsulti is now the site of the Milan Chamber of Commerce’s public offices, though for several centuries it housed governmental institutions and agencies of the city’s merchant class. The building stands at the center of Piazza Mercanti, the heart and soul of Milanese business activity from the Middle Ages to the industrial era.The area of Piazza dei Mercanti, with several palazzi overlooking it, was the home of most of the city of Milan’s administrative activities. The square’s earliest plan dates from the 13th century, when the Palazzo della Ragione overlooked by Napo Torriani’s tower (the oldest element of Palazzo Giureconsulti) were built.

Reconstruction of Palazzo Giureconsulti was launched in 1560 with the contribution of Pope Pius IV, a native of Milan. The design was by Vincenzo Seregni, and took nearly one hundred years of work to complete. The front of the palace occupies the northern part of the square with its paired-column portico, on top of which the upper storey rests with a row of square windows topped by twin volutes. The rich decorations of the façade took their inspiration from Galeazzo Alessi’s contemporary work on Palazzo Marino’s courtyard, and herald certain aesthetic themes of the baroque style. Among the original decorations, a statue of Philip II, the work of Gian Andrea Biffi, was replaced in the nineteenth century by a statue of Saint Ambrose Blessing, by sculptor Luigi Scorzini.

From 1654, the year of its inauguration, the building served as the seat of the Collegio dei Nobili Dottori, a training centre for the top administrative positions. Following the French Revolution and the Napoleonic reforms, the Collegio was disbanded and the palace became the seat of the courts and judicial offices. In 1809 the Chamber of Commerce bought one of the palace’s halls to establish the Milan Stock Exchange, which expanded in the course of the nineteenth century, annexing more space as needed for its operations.

In around 1870, when Via Mercanti was inaugurated, thus conferring on the area its present-day street plan, the buildings surrounding the palace were demolished, thus isolating it from the rest of the square. After this, the palace façades overlooking Piazza Duomo and Piazza Cordusio were renovated. In 1911, the Chamber of Commerce purchased the entire palace and renovated it over the next years, establishing its headquarters there until 1957, when it moved into Palazzo Turati in Via Meravigli.

Damaged by the 1943 bombings, the building required some work; then, between 1985 and 1991 a major restoration project was undertaken with particular focus on modernizing the interiors, lending the structure its present-day appearance and promoting its purpose as the public face of Milan’s Chamber of Commerce. Inside the building, there are eight conference rooms and various spaces for exhibitions and receptions. The spaces are primarily used by the Chamber of Commerce which also offers them as prestigious locations for events organized by other institutions and businesses.

2. PALAZZO MARINO – Piazza Scala, 2

The construction of Palazzo Marino, commissioned by the Genoese trader Tommaso Marino, started on May 4th 1558. The works were carried out by the architect Galeazzo Alessi together with some of the greatest sculptors of the Fabbrica del Duomo.

A decorative cycle based on the exaltation of the hero and the power of love can be seen in the main courtyard. The first theme is expressed through the labours of Hercules, the second with images from the "Metamorphoses" by Ovid.

Since 1861 Palazzo Marino has been home to the civic administration. The Sala Alessi is the current reception hall where international guests to the city are greeted.

In the Sala dell’Orologio the original ceiling is still present and the old clock that the room is named after is located above the front door.

In the Sala del Consiglio, behind the benches for the Mayor and Chairman of the Board, hangs a painting from the 1500’s by Ambrogio Figino. The work portrays S.Ambrogio on horseback who, miraculously, came to the aid of the Viscontis during the battle of Parabiago. Four large cast bronze chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The twelfth-century municipal coat of arms is flanked by the stylized marble symbols of the six ancient city gates.

In 1947 the Palazzo Marino façade was covered by large billboards to hide the damage caused by the bombardment of 1943.

The walls in the Sala del Consiglio display excerpts from the Book III of "De Legibus" by Cicero, to remind everyone of the duties of those who have the responsibility of public affairs.

3 PALAZZO DEL SENATO – Via Senato, 10

It has had many different uses - from Collegio Elvetico in 1608 to the seat of the Austrian government in 1787 - and the Palazzo del Senato owes its name to the Senate of the Kingdom of Italy which it received during the twenty years of the Napoleonic rule. It owns, among other things, the Sforza ducal archive and acts of domination from the Spanish and Austrian rule and the Risorgimento. It has large courtyards and a modern, functional design.

The Baroque style can be attributed to Fabio Mangone. Work began in 1608 under his direction and continued with Francesco Maria Richini, who designed the facade overlooking Via Senato. The latter has a concave shape to facilitate the passage of the carriages and its windows are decorated with both curved and triangular pediments and a mixtilinear balcony above the door.

The oldest letterbox oldest in Milan can be seen on the front door.

In front of the building is a bronze sculpture by Joan Miró.

4 PALAZZO SERBELLONI- Corso Venezia 16

The magnificent Palazzo Serbelloni, spread over 4,000 square metres, was designed by the Swiss architect Simone Cantoni and completed in 1793; it has witnessed more than two centuries of Italian and international history. Its construction, commissioned by Duke Gabrio Serbelloni and his eldest son Gio Galeazzo, initiated the renewal of the district around the Porta Orientale which, up until that time, had been comprised mainly of orchards, farms and convents.

Amongst other famous names, it hosted Napoleon - who has a room named in his honour - Klemens von Metternich, Napoleon III and Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy.

As the sitting room of the Lombard Enlightement it counted the poet Giuseppe Parini - tutor of the four sons of Duke Gabrio Serbelloni - amongst the literati that frequented it.

The facade is crowned by a majestic portico and, between the columns, a bas-relief of Donato and Francesco Carabelli with scenes celebrating the Lombard League. The main floor is accessed from the lobby by means of by spiral staircase. The halls are all laid out in sequence and the grand foyer overlooks the courtyard which is the largest of all the historic buildings of Milan and is surrounded by a portico.

Cultural, artistic, business and fashion events are organised in the Palazzo’s spaces.

From 1951 to 2010, it was the headquarters of the Circolo della Stampa - Press Club. That place saw the presence of Sofia Loren and Vittorio De Sica on 22 December 1960, during a reception for the presentation of the film 'La Ciociara' (The Woman from Ciociara).

5 PALAZZO CASTIGLIONI – Corso Venezia, 47

In 1900 the engineer Ermenegildo Castiglioni commissioned the architect Giuseppe Sommaruga with the construction of Palazzo Castiglioni. The choice of Corso Venezia, nestled amongst the eighteenth-century and neoclassical palazzi, reflected the bourgeoisie intention to create a break with the past with Art Nouveau - which in Italian is known as Liberty - the artistic movement that influenced the applied arts and architecture.

The palazzo is laid out over three floors with two facades: the main one faces Corso Venezia, the other faces Via Marina. The former plays with the contrasts of smooth plastered surfaces, the roughness of the stone and lively decorations and designs in wrought iron. The second features red bricks, glazed loggias and wrought iron railings.

The "Dragonfly Lamp" by Alessandro Mazzucotelli, located in the atrium, is the most significant of the wrought iron works together with the balustrade of the two-flight staircase. Both of these - along with the Sala dei Pavoni, with its stuccoed ceiling and decorative details that reflect the theme of peacocks - are amongst the few parts that remained intact after the bombings of 1943.

Since the very inauguration of the palazzo the two female statues, created by the sculptor Ernesto Bazzaro, which decorated the entrance caused heated controversy because of their nakedness. Despite representing peace and industry, they became the subject of ridicule forcing the owner to move them to another location.

6 PALAZZO CLERICI – Via Clerici, 5

Palazzo Clerici was constructed in an urban context of small houses. It was bought by the Clerici family in the second half of the seventeenth century.

In the 1700s the Clerici family consolidated its power thanks to the remarkable esteem that the Austrian rule had for the local nobility. In this period, during the transition from Baroque to neoclassical, the building was one of the most luxurious residences in the city.

Between 1773 and 1778, the year in which the court moved to Palazzo Reale, Francesco Clerici rented the palazzo to Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Beatrice d'Este, representatives of the Empress of Vienna in the duchy of Milan.

It has a long plain façade that contrasts with the sumptuous decoration of the interior. The central section of the façade is set back from the street so as to enable easier access for the carriages in the entrance hall from Via Clerici.

The grand staircase is quite unique amongst Milanese buildings, statues of women dressed in the eastern style, in line with sixteenth-century Lombard architectural styles, give anthropomorphic form to architectural elements.

In 1740 Giorgio Antonio Clerici commissioned Giambattista Tiepolo to decorate the ceiling of the main gallery which became the Galleria del Tiepolo. There are three art forms to be admired in this room: the painting on the ceilings, the cabinetry of the wood panelling and the silk art tapestries on the walls.

The fresco by Tiepolo is “La corsa del carro del Sole attraverso il libero cielo abitato dalle deità dell’olimpo e circondato dalle creature terrestri e dagli animali che stanno a simboleggiare i continenti” (The ace of the chariot of the Sun across the sky inhabited by the deities of Olympus and surrounded by land creatures and animals that are symbols of the continents) with figures, characters, myths and allegories.

The boiserie which surrounds the entire room is the most spectacular testimony of the splendour of eighteenth century Lombardy artistic refinement. It depicts scenes of military life that refer to the epic poem of the First Crusade "Jerusalem Delivered" by Torquato Tasso.

The tapestries, which originate from Brussels, recount scenes from the life of Moses and are dated back to around the second half of the 1600’s.

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