Known as a venue for major exhibitions in Milan, Palazzo Reale, adjacent to the equally famous Museo del Novecento, is a masterpiece of neoclassical architecture.
As you ascend the magnificent main staircase located in the atrium, it’s easy to imagine sumptuously dressed ladies and knights going about their everyday court life or during their lavish receptions. Its rooms are steeped in its fascinating history as, over the eras, it became a political centre, home to rulers and a cultural focus of the Lombard capital.
Palazzo Reale has played a prestigious administrative role since ancient times, hosting the greatest political figures in history against the backdrop of its magnificent stuccos and tapestries. It was only in the second half of the eighteenth century, under Austrian rule, that the palace was embellished with ornaments to host receptions and enhance the court life of the Signori. With the advent of Austrian domination, the famous Sala delle Cariatidi was created, a sumptuous ballroom that was unfortunately devastated by the bombings of the Second World War.
At the end of the eighteenth century the general modification of the external structure was entrusted to the architect Giuseppe Piermarini, who bequeathed the palazzo with the neoclassical touch still evident in Palazzo Reale today. However, the Palace only became ''Royal'' in 1805, when Milan was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy under Napoleon; it was in that period that the interiors were ornamented by the brilliance of international masters such as Andrea Appiani and Francesco Hayez.
Today Palazzo Reale welcomes annual international exhibitions that attract visitors from all over the globe. It has been owned by the municipality, and accessible to the public, since 1920. Its 7,000m2 of exhibition space house over 1,500 masterpieces from the most famous museums in the world.
Unfortunately however, some famous works that have adorned Palazzo Reale were loaned without ever being returned to their original location. A notable case was the works of Andrea Appiano for the Sala del Trono (Throne Room), now on display at Villa Carlotta on Lake Como.