All Palaces in Lombardy

In Italy, a residence of a nobleman, usually larger than a regular house, is called palazzo, a term translated into English as palace. In the past, besides residences, the palazzi also functioned as warehouses and office spaces. Many cities in Italy have a Palazzo Ducale, the seat of the local lord. Probably, the city with the most palaces is Venice, mostly located on the banks of the Grand Canal.

Maybe the most important palaces in Italy are Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Palazzo Reale in Caserta, Doge’s Palace in Venice, Palazzo Reale in Milan, Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome, Palazzo Reale in Naples, Palazzo della Ragione in Padua and Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia. With so many palaces, it is hard to decide which are the most beautiful and worth visiting, and that is why we suggest that you visit them all.

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    Palazzo Ducale

    Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace), also known as the Gonzaga Palace, is a large complex of historical buildings in Mantua, located in the beautiful Piazza Sordello.   SHORT HISTORY Starting with 1308, Palazzo Ducale was the official residence of the lords of Mantua, belonging at first to the Bonacolsi family, until 1328, when it became the residence of the Gonzaga family, who ruled the city until 1707. Distinct buildings were built in different eras, starting with the 13th century, initially by the Bonacolsi family, and subsequently by the Gonzagas. It was Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga who commissioned the architect Giovan Battista Bertani to connect the various buildings into an organic form, to create starting from 1556 a single grandiose monumental and architectural complex, one of the largest in Europe, which stretched between the shore of Lake Inferiore and Piazza Sordello. Bertani died in 1576, and the work was continued by the architect Bernardino Facciotto, who completed the gardens, squares, arcades, galleries, exedras and courtyards, definitively fixing the appearance of the ducal palace. During the Gonzaga domination, the palace gradually expanded, both with the addition of new buildings and by modifying the existing ones. The complex includes Corte Vecchia (Old Court), composed of Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Te

    Palazzo Te is a Renaissance palace located in the suburban area of Mantua. The complex is now the seat of the Civic Museum and since 1990 of the International Center of Art and Culture of Palazzo Te.   SHORT HISTORY When Francesco II Gonzaga died in 1519, his son, Federico II, became Marquis of Mantua, and decided to transform a swampy area south of the city into a place for leisure and festive receptions. The architect Giulio Romano, a pupil of Raphael, was commissioned to design the palace. By alternating the architectural elements with the natural ones that the area offered, sublimely decorating rooms and facades, the architect put all his imagination and skill in the construction of Palazzo Te. The palace was completed in 1534, 10 years after the beginning of the works. In July 1630, during the War of the Mantuan Succession, the palace was sacked over three days by an Imperial army of 36,000 mercenaries. Palazzo Te was looted and remained empty for a long time.   ARCHITECTURE Palazzo Te has a square plan, with a large courtyard in the center, which once hosted a labyrinth. The courtyard has four entrances on all four sides, and the Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Loggia

    Palazzo della Loggia is a beautiful palace built in Renaissance style in Brescia, located in the square of the same name, today the seat of the city’s Municipal Council.   SHORT HISTORY In 1484, the municipal authorities of Brescia decided to build a grandiose palace as an expression of good governance, replacing the original loggia and increasing the monumentality of Piazza della Loggia, which was rising at the time. The first project was presented by Tomaso Formentone, an architect from Vicenza. The project of Formentone involved the construction of a building entirely of wood, an option that was immediately abandoned. The first stone was laid in 1492 and the construction site was directed, between about 1495 and 1510, by Filippo Grassi. The works were interrupted in 1512 by the sack of Brescia, to resume only in 1549. The Loggia was completed in 1574 after numerous interventions by the most famous architects of the time, such as Jacopo Sansovino and Andrea Palladio, as well as Lodovico Beretta from Brescia. The latter was responsible for the large windows on the second floor.   ARCHITECTURE The white Botticino marble facade of the palace is vertically composed of two distinct architectural sections. In the Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Nuovo

    Palazzo Nuovo is a beautiful palace in Bergamo, located in the upper part of the city, Città Alta, on the northern side of the Piazza Vecchia, across the square from the Palazzo della Ragione. The palace currently houses the Angelo Mai Civic Library, one of the most important historic preservation institutions in Italy, with over 677,000 volumes, 2,200 incunabula and 16,800 manuscripts.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Nuovo, as it was called in contrast to the Palazzo Vecchio (Palazzo della Ragione), was built by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi to house the city’s town hall. The construction of the palace began in the early 17th century, and was definitively completed only in 1958 with the placing of six statues, works of the sculptor Tobia Vescovi, on the facade overlooking the Piazza Vecchia. The access loggia, which lightens the facade, was designed by the architect Andrea Ceresola, who was also responsible for the reconstruction of the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa. The white marble facade was built in 1928 by the architect Ernesto Pirovano, who took into account the initial project of Scamozzi. The Angelo Mai Civic Library, which was initially housed in the Palazzo della Ragione, was transferred in 1928 to the Palazzo Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Medolago Albani

    Palazzo Medolago Albani is a beautiful palace located in the ancient part of Bergamo, Città Alta, on Viale delle Mura, near Porta San Giacomo.   SHORT HISTORY The palace, a beautiful example of Neoclassical architecture, was built by the architect Simone Cantoni in 1770. In 1841, the palace was bought by Count Giacomo Medolago Albani, an ancestor of the current owners. Over time, the palace underwent many transformations, becoming one of the most important buildings of the city and home to one of the most notable historical and cultural events of the time. The visits of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria with his wife Elizabeth of Bavaria and the King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II are evidenced by the commemorative stone slabs placed at the entrance to the building.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The palace is an admirable example of an aristocratic building of the late 18th century. The facade, on two floors, with 8 semi-columns, is surmounted by a fake balcony with a decoration in the middle and four statues depicting the Architecture, Sculpture, Painting and Poetry, works of the sculptor Antonio Gelpi. Between the two floors, we can find five medallions of Carrara marble depicting scenes inspired Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Roncalli

    Palazzo Roncalli is a palace in Bergamo, located in Piazza Lorenzo Mascheroni, in the upper part of the city, known as Città Alta.   SHORT HISTORY The Roncalli family settled in Bergamo in the 14th century, in a building near the Church of Sant’Andrea. The palace was built starting with 1520 adjacent to the Visconti walls erected by the Milanese in 1300 to surround the citadel. The project was entrusted to Andrea di Giacomo Ziliolo, while Pietro Isabello and Francesco Cleri took care of the construction. The palace underwent various modifications over time. In the 18th century, it was bought by the Sonzogno family, who modified it on a project by Ferdinando Caccia and Giovanni Francesco Lucchini. In the apartment located on the noble floor of Palazzo Roncalli, during the night of March 13, 1797, was signed the agreement for the withdrawal of Venice from Bergamo. The palace was renovated in the 20th century by Sandro Angelini.   ARCHITECTURE The palace has an irregular polygonal plan, with three floors plus a mezzanine, with a multi-pitched roof, and an internal courtyard. The facade overlooking Via Mascheroni is symmetrical. On the ground floor, there are six openings, two round and four rectangular. Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Libertà

    Palazzo della Libertà is a palace in Bergamo, located in the homonymous square, in the modern part of the city, Città Bassa.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo della Libertà was built between 1937 and 1940 on a project by Alziro Bergonzo, to become the local headquarters of the National Fascist Party. The palace was named Casa Littoria and dedicated to Antonio Locatelli, airplane pilot in the First World War. The palace was inaugurated on October 28, 1939, the anniversary of the March on Rome of 1922, when Benito Mussolini came to power. The basement of Casa Littoria was used as a prison during the Republic of Salò, that existed between September 1943 and May 1945. After April 25, 1945, the palace housed the headquarters of the National Liberation Committee. The property passed to the State, and various public offices were housed there. Today, it houses the Prefecture, the offices of the Court, the State Forestry Corps and various offices of the Municipality.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE Palazzo della Libertà has a parallelepiped shape, entirely covered with Zandobbio marble. The main facade, overlooking the square, consists of an imposing portico of twelve giant pillars, holding an architrave bearing the dedication to Antonio Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Ragione

    Palazzo della Ragione is a medieval palace located in the historical center of Mantua, in Piazza delle Erbe, adjacent to Palazzo del Podesta.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo della Ragione was built around the year 1250 on the ruins of a building located next to Rotonda di San Lorenzo. The palace was later used as the Town Hall and then as a market. During the Gonzaga’s lordship, the palace was joined to Palazzo del Podesta, and used in the 15th century as the Palace of Justice, hence the name of Palazzo della Ragione. The external portico towards Piazza Erbe and the adjacent Clock Tower date from that period. Palazzo della Ragione was renovated during the last years of the 17th century and the first years of the 18th century, based on a project by the architect Doricilio Moscatelli, known as Battaglia. During this period, the facade of the palace was radically transformed, with the removal of the original windows and the opening of new ones. In 1942, on a project by the Mantuan architect Aldo Andreani, the original facade and the interior of the palace were restored. Palazzo della Ragione was damaged by the earthquake of May 29, 2012, but was Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Podesta

    Palazzo del Podesta, also known as Palazzo del Broletto, is a medieval palace located in the historical center of Mantua, between Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza Broletto, adjacent to Palazzo della Ragione.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo del Podesta was commissioned in 1227 by Laudarengo Martinengo from Brescia, appointed podesta of Mantua, and built starting with the same year. In 1241, a fire destroyed the palace, which was then restored, enlarged and equipped with battlements. During the same time, Torre del Broletto was also rebuilt and Palazzo del Podesta became a symbol of the new municipal values. In 1413, the palace was set on fire again. The arsonist was, probably, Gianfrancesco Gonzaga, who, after the rise to power of the Gonzaga family, wanted to eliminate the symbolic building of the previous administration. In the 15th century, after many decades of neglect, Palazzo del Podesta was recovered and, between 1462 and 1464, it was renovated in Renaissance style after a design by Luca Fancelli, commissioned by the Marquis Ludovico II Gonzaga. The works were supervised by the architect Giovanni Antonio D’Arezzo. Many of the changes made by Luca Fancelli in the 15th century were eliminated in 1941, during the restoration campaign carried Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Bianchi

    Palazzo Bianchi, also known as Palazzo Vescovile (Episcopal Palace), is a palace located in Mantua, in Piazza Sordello, in front of the Ducal Palace, between the Cathedral of San Pietro and Ca’ degli Uberti.   SHORT HISTORY A first building on this site belonged to the Agnelli family, who ceded it to Rinaldo Bonacolsi at the beginning of the 14th century. With the sack of Mantua of 1630, which took place during the War of the Mantuan Succession, the building suffered extensive damage, and some parts of it were demolished. When the noble Negri family, which owned the palace since 1582, became extinct, the property was inherited by the Porta family. The current appearance of the palace dates back to the middle of the 18th century, when it was built by Count Guido Porta, replacing two pre-existing buildings. The count sold it in 1756 to the Marquis Giuseppe Bianchi. The construction works ended in 1765, when a spectacular staircase was added. Around the same time, Giuseppe Bazzani frescoed the vaulted ceilings on the first floor. In 1814, an internal courtyard and an attic were added, and the facade of the palace was adorned with a coat of arms and statues Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Bonacolsi

    Palazzo Bonacolsi, also known as Palazzo Castiglioni, is a Gothic palace in Mantua, located in the beautiful Piazza Sordello, opposite the Ducal Palace. Today, a tavern and a guesthouse are set in the palace, Taverna Bonacolsi and, respectively, Palazzo Castiglioni Luxury Suites.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Bonacolsi was built at the end of the 13th century by Pinamonte Bonacolsi on land purchased from Rolandino de Pacis. Pinamonte acquired and incorporated into the palace other nearby buildings, including the Tower of the Cage (Torre della Gabbia), symbol of the power of the Bonacolsi. The Bonacolsi family ruled Mantua from the beginning of the 13th century and until August 16, 1328, when Rinaldo, the last of the Bonacolsi, was overthrown during a revolt supported by Luigi I Gonzaga, who seized the power. Starting with 1328, the palace became the property of the Gonzaga family. First, Luigi I Gonzaga owned the palace, then the building passed to his son, the Marquis Gianfrancesco I Gonzaga, who passed it further to his son, Alessandro Gonzaga. Alessandro died young, and his brother, Ludovico, became the new owner of the palace. Between 1479 and 1487, the palace was the residence of the Countess of Rodigo Antonia del Read more [...]

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    Palazzo D’Arco

    Palazzo D’Arco is a Neoclassical palace in Mantua, located in Piazza Carlo D’Arco. Today, the palace houses the Museum of Palazzo d’Arco, which displays the art collected over time by the D’Arco family.   SHORT HISTORY The D’Arco family settled permanently in Mantua in 1740, and by the marriage of Francesco Alberto d’Arco with one of the Chieppo family’s heirs, they acquired the residence of the latter. In 1784, Count Giovanni Battista Gherardo d’Arco commissioned the architect Antonio Colonna to rebuild the facade of the residence in Neoclassical style. The result was a remarkable example of an aristocratic palace rich in furnishings and paintings, with a library, a naturalistic collection and a beautiful garden enclosed by an exedra. In 1872, Francesco Antonio d’Arco bought from the Dalla Valle family two Renaissance buildings in the immediate vicinity of the palace, and incorporated them into the complex. The stables were built on the left side of the palace, a construction which later was transformed into the Teatrino d’Arco, seat of the Francesco Campogalliani Theater Academy since 1946. The last exponent of the family, who died in 1973, Giovanna dei Conti d’Arco Chieppio Ardizzoni, Marquise Guidi di Bagno, established the Arco Foundation, and Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Maggi-Gambara

    Palazzo Maggi-Gambara is a 16th-century palace in Brescia, located between the Capitolium and the Roman Theater.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built at the end of the 12th century on the ruins of the ancient stalls of the Roman Theater by the Maggi family, a noble family from Brescia. In the 17th century, the property passed to the Gambara family. The new owners renovated the palace, and built a new body frescoed with portraits of ancient Romans and trophies of arms. Around the same time, the internal staircase decorated with frescoes and gold stuccos was also built. Starting with 1935, the palace underwent a series of interventions following the investigations carried out on the archaeological Roman site. The palace became the headquarters of the Carabinieri and traffic police barracks until 1956, when it was definitively closed because it was considered unsafe. In the 20th century, the theater was brought to light by demolishing some structures that surrounded it, but the palace which occupies the western part of the auditorium was left intact, as it contained several frescoes of great historical and artistic value. After the restorations completed in 2014, the palace and the Roman Theater were reopened to the Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Martinengo Palatini

    Palazzo Martinengo Palatini is a beautiful palace in Brescia, located in Piazza del Mercato. Built in the 15th century and completely rebuilt at the beginning of the 18th century, is one of the most elegant Baroque palaces of the city.   SHORT HISTORY In 1457, Giovanni Martinengo bought a piece of land in the area where the ancient medieval walls were located. With other successive purchases, the family became the owner of the entire space between Piazza delle Erbe, now Piazza del Mercato, Corso Palestro and Via Fratelli Porcellaga. In 1479, the sons of Giovanni were appointed palatine counts by the Emperor Maximilian of Austria, which generated the new family branch of the Martinengo Palatini. One of their descendants, Teofilo, decided to demolish the 15th-century palace and to build a new one. Teofilo began the construction, but never see it finished, dying in the early 18th century. The palace was finally completed by his son, Curzio III, in 1710. With the extinction of the family branch in 1874, the building was donated to the Municipality of Brescia, which set up some offices in the palace, as well as the Musical Institute Venturi, which used the main hall as an auditorium Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Ragione

    Palazzo della Ragione is a palace in Bergamo, located in the upper part of the city, Città Alta. The palace stands across the Piazza Vecchia from the Palazzo Nuovo, bordering also the Piazza del Duomo to the north.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built at the end of the 12th century, more precisely between 1183 and 1198, making it the oldest town hall in Italy. The building maintained its role as a political center even after the end of the communal era, when, with the arrival of the Republic of Venice in the first half of the 15th century, it was used as the palace of justice, hence the name della Ragione (of reason). The palace, which was already in a bad shape at the beginning of the 16th century, suffered serious damage in 1513, after a fire. Its reconstruction began in 1538 under the direction of the architect Pietro Isabello, and was completed in 1554. The works on the exterior were started in March 1539, and the Lion of St. Mark was placed on the facade in April of the same year. Subsequently, the southern wall was restored. The rebuilding of the loggia on the ground floor began Read more [...]

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    Casa Manzoni

    Casa Manzoni is a palace located in Via Gerolamo Morone, in Milan, famous for beeing the home of the writer Alessandro Manzoni from 1814 to his death. Alessandro Manzoni was an Italian writer, poet and playwright, who is considered one of the greatest Italian novelists of all time for his famous novel The Betrothed, the cornerstone of the Italian literature.   SHORT HISTORY In 1813, three years after Alessandro Manzoni returned to Milan, together with his wife Enrichetta Blondel and his mother Giulia Beccaria, after a five-year experience in Paris, he bought a new house in Via Morone. Manzoni moved to his new home a few months later, starting a series of modernization works, including the reconstruction of the facade oriented towards Piazza Belgioioso. The current appearance of the facade is owed to the architect Andrea Boni, who, in 1864, at the request of Manzoni, rebuilt the palace in Neo-Renaissance style. The facade, inspired by the Lombard Renaissance architecture, is composed of elaborate terracotta decorations. Above all, the portal and the balcony stand out. Until a few years ago, the Lombard Historical Society and the National Center of Manzoni Studies were housed in the building, on the ground floor. Thanks Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Reale di Milano

    Palazzo Reale di Milano (Royal Palace of Milan), formerly known as Palazzo del Broletto Vecchio, was for many centuries the seat of the government of Milan and a royal residence. In 1919, the palace was acquired by the Italian state, and became a venue for exhibitions and events. Originally designed with a system of two courtyards, later partially demolished to make room for the Duomo, the palace is located in the southern part of Piazza del Duomo, opposite to the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery.   SHORT HISTORY A former palace built on the same area in the late Middle Ages, Broletto Vecchio, also called Brolo di Sant’Ambrogio, was the first documented seat of the Municipality of Milan. The palace, built before the 10th century, ended its function in 1251, when the municipal office was moved to Palazzo della Ragione. Broletto Vecchio was then demolished, and over its remains was built Palazzo Reale, known at first as Palazzo del Broletto Vecchio, recalling the name of the pre-existing building. Palazzo Reale became a political center during the domination of the Torriani, Visconti and Sforza families, receiving later the role of Palazzo Ducale, the seat of the Duchy of Milan. In the first Read more [...]