House of Omenons

Via degli Omenoni, 2. (Open Map)


Palazzo degli Omenoni is a building between Piazza Belgioioso and Piazza San Fedele, not far from La Scala. This characteristic house was planned by sculptor Leone Leoni as his city home, and it was built between 1562 and 1566. Its name (omenoni, or "large men") describes the eight large male caryatids created by medallion sculptor Antonio Abondio in sandstone and installed onto the façade.The building once housed collections of antiquities and casts of famous sculptures, as well as Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus (which is now housed at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana).The building’s architecture is a clear reference to Michelangelo’s art, both in the sculptural detailing and in the original concept, mentioned by Vasari.
The building has changed hands often, and in consequence it has undergone frequent modifications.
From 1924 on it became the premises for “Clubino,” a private club.Leone Leoni was sculptor to Charles V and Philip II. He built it as his home towards 1565, when he settled in Milan after an adventurous life, at the service of kings and then as a prisoner rowing on the Pontifical galleys.
It is possible that the giant caryatids on the façade were sculpted by Leone Leoni himself.
The bas-relief at the centre of the upper frieze shows a satyr (embodying envy) in the jaws of two lions, who of course symbolize the artist (Leone means lion).In this building in the 1950s and 1960s, there was a theatre named "Teatro del Convegno," directed by Enzo Ferrieri, where great actors such as Renzo Ricci and Eva Magni performed.