Milan’s Royal Palace, known locally as the “Palazzo Reale”, is a must-see when visiting the city. With its majestic facades and ornate halls, the palace offers a journey through the ages, reflecting the various artistic and historical periods through which it has passed.
Our visit to the Royal Palace was a highlight of our visit to Milan, revealing little-known aspects of the city.
History and significance of Milan’s Royal Palace
Milan’s Royal Palace, located in the historic center next to the Duomo, is a building steeped in history. Originally built in the 12th century, it has undergone many transformations over the centuries. The palace served as the official residence of Spanish governors in the 16th century, before becoming the home of the Italian sovereigns of the House of Savoy.
Over the course of its history, the Palais Royal has undergone significant architectural modifications. These changes have given the palace a unique blend of architectural styles, from Baroque to Neoclassical.
The Royal Palace has also played a central role in Milan’s artistic history. Renowned artists such as Leonardo da Vinci have contributed to its decoration and embellishment. Today, the palace is recognized not only as a historic monument, but also as a major cultural center, hosting world-class art exhibitions.
Architecture and Design of Milan’s Royal Palace
Milan’s Royal Palace is a remarkable example of architecture that has evolved over the centuries, integrating various styles and influences. Its current facade, overlooking the Piazza del Duomo, is a harmonious blend of neoclassical and Baroque styles, reflecting the many renovations and restorations it has undergone.
Originally a medieval structure, the palace was transformed to suit the tastes and requirements of its various occupants. In the 16th century, under Spanish rule, the palace was renovated in typical Baroque style. Later, under Austrian rule, the palace was remodeled according to neoclassical principles, as evidenced by its elegant colonnades and sober decorations.
The palace’s interior is equally impressive, with sumptuously decorated rooms, frescoes and works of art adorning the walls and ceilings. Each room offers a different experience, reflecting a specific period in Milan’s artistic history. Among the most remarkable, the Sala delle Cariatidi is a good example: although partially destroyed during the Second World War, it still retains its charm and majesty.
Exhibitions and Art Collections at the Palais Royal
Today, Milan’s Royal Palace is a museum and art gallery, hosting temporary and permanent exhibitions of international renown. We were there during the temporary exhibition of works byEdward Hopper. A magnificent collection that we loved.
The palace’s permanent collections are rich and varied, covering a wide range of artistic periods and styles. They include works of art dating from Antiquity to the present day, offering an exceptional panorama of art history. Among the most notable pieces are works by Italian masters as well as famous international artists(Antoon Van Dyck with his work: “Portrait of the Lady of Venice Digby”, Federica Marangoni sculpture “The Light of the Spirit”, El Greco…).
In addition to its permanent collection, the Palais-Royal is renowned for its temporary exhibitions. They are organized in collaboration with other museums and galleries from all over the world, enabling us to present works rarely seen in Milan.
Every visit to the Palais-Royal is a new adventure in the world of art. Exhibitions are carefully curated to provide an enriching and educational experience.
Visit Milan’s Royal Palace
Visiting Milan’s Palais-Royal is an experience in itself, offering a variety of ways to explore and discover this historic site. Whether you choose a self-guided or guided tour, each option offers a unique perspective on this iconic monument.
Guided tours: For those wishing to deepen their understanding of the Palace and its history, guided tours are available. These tours are often led by expert guides, who share fascinating anecdotes and little-known details about the palace and its collections. This allows us to fully appreciate the historical and cultural importance of the site.
Self-guided tours: Visitors can also opt to explore the palace on their own. This gives you the freedom to move around at your own pace, to linger over your favorite works of art, and to discover rooms and exhibitions according to your own interests.
To make the most of your visit to the Palais-Royal in Milan, here are a few practical tips to keep in mind:
Opening times and ticketing: The Palais Royal is open to the public almost every day of the year, but it’s a good idea to check current opening times and any exceptional closures on the official website before planning your visit. Tickets can be purchased online in advance to avoid long queues, especially at major exhibitions.
Best time to visit: To avoid the crowds, it’s best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Weekdays are generally less crowded than weekends.
Visit duration: Allow at least two hours to explore the Palais Royal, especially if you want to see several exhibitions or take part in a guided tour.
How to get to Milan’s Royal Palace
Milan’s Royal Palace is located right in the center of Milan, right next to the Duomo, making it perfect for visiting both sites at the same time.
- Public transport: Milan has an excellent public transport network. The Palazzo Reale is easily reached by metro, with the Duomo station (lines M1 and M3 ) in the immediate vicinity. Buses and streetcars also serve the area, offering a wide range of transport options.
- By car: For those who prefer to drive, it’s important to note that parking in central Milan is difficult. We recommend using the peripheral parking lots or the underground pay parking lots near the Palais Royal.
Discoveries around Milan’s Royal Palace
After exploring the Royal Palace, there’s plenty to discover in the surrounding area. Milan abounds in cultural treasures and places of interest that are well worth a visit.
Milan Cathedral (Duomo) Located just a stone’s throw from the Palais-Royal, this impressive cathedral is one of Milan’s most emblematic symbols. With its Gothic architecture and countless sculptures, it offers an unforgettable experience.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: This historic shopping mall is just around the corner, famous for its striking architecture and luxury boutiques. It’s the perfect place for an elegant stroll and to enjoy the chic atmosphere of Milan.
Teatro alla Scala For opera and theater lovers, a visit to the famous Teatro alla Scala, just a few minutes’ walk away, is a must. In addition to its performances, the theater houses a fascinating museum dedicated to the history of opera.
The Santa Maria delle Grazie convent: home to a single work of art, but not just any work of art: Leonardo da Vinci‘s“The Last Supper“.
Our visit to Milan’s Royal Palace was an enriching and memorable experience, immersing us in Milan’s history and culture. Whether for art lovers, history buffs or the simply curious, the Palazzo Reale is a must-see when visiting Milan. Leaving its walls steeped in history, you take with you the memory of a Milan that is both ancient and modern, a place where art and history meet to create an unforgettable experience.
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