MIBAC - Direzione Regionale per i beni culturali e paesaggistici Lombardia

Palazzo Litta (english)

The original core of Palazzo Litta was built between 1642 and 1648 by Francesco Maria Richini on behalf of earl Bartolomeo Arese and became one of the main hallmarks in the city’s social and political life. Of the seventeenth-century palace there still remain the noble floor and the court of honour, characterized by the wide arcade.

The upper wall is framed by two tiers of windows. Richini is also ascribed a noble oratory, transformed in the second half of the eighteenth-century into a theatre house still running today. By the first half of the eighteenth-century the palace was taken over by the Litta family. Ever since the complex took on the late Baroque look that still characterises it today. Amongst the achievements the magnificent staircase by Carlo Giuseppe Merlo (1740) and the paintings trusted to Giovanni Antonio Cucchi who painted the large scene depicting the Apotheosis of a Litta member on the vault of the Sala degli Specchi.

Between 1752 and 1761, Bartolomeo Bolli designed the new façade of the palace formed by two horizontal blocks and a higher overhanging one in the centre. Large pilaster strips decorate the front and sustain the cornice topped by a pediment with two all-round statues sustaining the Litta coat of arms. The portal, characterised by two atlantes sustaining the mixtilinear balcony, towers over the whole structure. Auctioned in 1873, the palace was taken over by the Società Ferroviaria Alta Italia and eventually taken over by Ferrovie Italiane in 1905. Since 1996 the palace has been declared National Heritage of the State. In February 2007 the wider, more precious portion of Palazzo Litta has been trusted with the Ministry of Cultural Assets and Activities and, on its behalf, with the Regional Management for Cultural and Landscape Assets ofLombardy.

The outstanding artistic, architectural and historical quality of Palazzo Litta has the complex stand out as an outright Citadel of Culture, a culture-appointed reality, meant as “museum of itself”, through the opening of the noble apartments to the public, and as site fostering the spread of knowledge.