Resti del Palazzo Imperiale di Massimiano


Via Brisa, 20123 Milano



Beginning in the late second century and throughout the third century CE, increasing pressures on the borders of the Roman Empire led the emperor to move further and further away from Rome. Such military-political exigencies lead to the dissociation between capital and imperial seat. The decentralization of power, implemented by Diocletian's reforms, turned many peripheral cities into houses of the court of the Augusti and Caesars: in Milan, therefore, Maximian ruled the territories of Italy, Africa, and Spain.

As the capital, the city assumed the role of administrative, military and judicial center; the circle of walls was, therefore, enlarged, new buildings were constructed and, in general, the entire city was restructured. In particular, one of the areas affected by Maximian's interventions is the western one, where the circus is erected. Immediately to the east of the circus and in close relation to it is developed the area of the imperial palace, which is configured as a multifunctional complex, autonomous with respect to the city, equipped with all the services necessary for the imperial court, such as baths, places of worship, residential, administrative and military facilities. One can speak, therefore, of a true imperial quarter, in which the building on Brisa Street constitutes one of many sectors.

The small number of monumental remains in the archaeological area of Via Brisa is due in part to the cellars of the buildings destroyed by bombing and in part to the first hasty excavation work carried out with heavy machinery. The discovery of individual rooms took place in several stages, while the arrangement of the archaeological area, with reinforced concrete substructures, dates back to 1982.