Palazzo Litta

Cultura - Architettura

Corso Magenta, 24, 20123 Milano


It can be considered as one of the most representative (and well preserved) examples of Lombard Baroque style that spreads in Milan around the second decade of the eighteenth century. Characterized not only for the elegant facade facing Corso Magenta, but also for the sumptuous portal enriched by the imposing telamons, the solemn grand staircase, the decorations of the noble apartment, the system of internal courtyards and the garden that opens into Foro Bonaparte. The seventeenth-century original nucleus is conserved, in addition to the general plan of the noble part of the complex, the vast courtyard, which is an elegant space with architrave with paired Doric columns and cruciform pillars at the corners, which, in its elegant classicism, is one of the most fine examples of the seventeenth-century  courtyard in Milan. Above the simple architrave rise two floors, the first noble with large windows with curved gables and alternating triangles, the second with small square windows.

Litta Palace

Considered one of the most representative examples of Lombard baroque, Palazzo Litta was built between 1642 and 1648 by Francesco Maria Richini for Count Bartolomeo Arese, one of the most influential men in Milan at the time. The great mansion became one of the main landmarks of the city's social and political life and was the scene of unforgettable receptions, but also the privilege of the right of asylum: no one could be arrested inside without the consent of the powerful count. From the mid-eighteenth century, passed as an inheritance to the Litta family, the palace acquired the Baroque guise that still distinguishes it today: the scenographic staircase by Carlo Giuseppe Merlo, partially destroyed during the August 1943 bombing-which spared the rest of the palace-and rebuilt immediately after the war, leads to the piano nobile where the famous Sala degli Specchi (Hall of Mirrors) stands out, one of the most precious and best-preserved examples of eighteenth-century interior architecture in central Milan.  Open to the public on the occasion of the international event of the Salone del Mobile, which attracts thousands of visitors to Milan every year, the palace is in the hands of the Ministry of Culture-Regional Secretariat for Lombardy, which is in charge of protecting and enhancing it.


The palace was home to the celebrated Madonna Litta, a painting long considered the "Leonardo" of the Litta house, now widely attributed to Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, the best of the Milanese pupils of the Da Vinci master. The work was sold in 1865 by Count Antonio Litta Visconti Arese to Tsar Alexander II, who gave it to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, which still displays it among the masterpieces in its collections.



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