Known as a venue for major exhibitions in Milan, Palazzo Reale, right by the side of the equally famous Museo del Novecento, is a masterpiece of neoclassical architecture.
As you ascend the magnificent main staircase located in the atrium, it will be easy to imagine sumptuously dressed ladies and dignitaries going about their everyday court life or their lavish receptions. The Palazzo’s rooms are steeped in its fascinating history as, over the centuries, it became home to the city’s rulers and a cultural and political centre of Lombardy.
Palazzo Reale has played a prestigious administrative role since ancient times, hosting the greatest political figures in Milano’s history against the backdrop of its magnificent stuccos and tapestries. It was especially in the second half of the eighteenth century, under Austrian rule, that the palace was embellished with ornaments to host receptions and enhance Court life. 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 general modification of the external structure was entrusted to 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 decorated by brilliant international masters such as Andrea Appiani and Francesco Hayez.
Today Palazzo Reale welcomes annual international exhibitions that attract visitors from all over the world. It has been owned by the Municipality, and accessible to the public, since 1920. It traditionally hosts the city’s most relevant temporary art exhibitions.
Unfortunately, some famous works that have graced Palazzo Reale were loaned without ever returning to their original location. A notable case were the works of Andrea Appiani for the Sala del Trono (Throne Hall), now on display at Villa Carlotta on Lake Como.