Palazzo Litta

Corso Magenta, 24. (Open Map)


The building, impressive for its great artistic value, is the expression of a new era for Milan and of the connection between Milanese culture and the French and English Enlightenment. During this historical period Milan was born again thanks to the new Austrian government, characterized by enlightened centralism, under the guide of Maria Theresa and Joseph 1st.
(Go to Milan and the Enlightenment)
The Milanese review “Il Caffè”, founded by Pietro Verri and where Cesare Beccaria wrote, was one of the most important enlightened literary coteries in Europe. It attracted intellectuals and was a gathering point for discussions and for meeting people to debate political and social issues. Giuseppe Parini was one of the most important key characters in the Milanese cultural scene, a man of letters that tied his civil, political and moral concepts to the enlightened ideals.
Flightiness and fantasy unite with elegance in a building, Palazzo litta, where Baroque blends with Rococo. Pompous, yes, but somehow it manages to fit in perfectly with the neighboring streets. The suggestive façade has a impressive visual impact. The column-lined courtyard with its beautiful staircase is scenographic, and the railing around the garden is attributed to Piermarini. Francesco Maria Richino began construction of the building in the mid-17th century for the President of the Senate of Milan at the time, Count Bartolomeo Arese. Later it became the property of the Litta Visconti Arese family, which enlarged it in 1700.
The Red Room, the Hall of Mirrors and the Duchess’s Room, where tapestries, stuccos and original seventeenth-century paintings are still preserved.
Nowadays it houses the Teatro Litta, the most ancient and still open theatre in the city, and, since 2007, the Regional Department of Lombardy Cultural Heritage.