The Piccolo Teatro in Milan or Carmagnola Palace

Piccolo Teatro | Milan

The Piccolo Teatro in Milan or Carmagnola Palace

Piccolo Teatro in Milan is Carmagnola Palace. A few months ago I wrote about the first event organized by the Art post Blog: a special day spent with some readers, walking along Milan at the time of Visconti and Sforza.
I had the occasion to see things I had never noticed before.
When I’m in Milan I’m usually in a hurry, but thanks to Laura, who was our tour guide that day, I discovered together with you all the stories this city is still keeping up.

The main character of one of this stories is the ancient Carmagnola Palace, the building that houses the “Piccolo Teatro”.
Here is its story.

sundial | Leonardo da Vinci | carmagnola Palace

Brief story of Carmagnola Palace

It is impossible not to notice Carmagnola Palace when you’re going along via Dante, between the Sforza Castle and Duomo Square, and you’ll soon notice the sign that indicates the “Piccolo Teatro”, sited there from 1947.
The story of this building is old and began in Milan, under the Visconti domination, when was built in order to become one of the most important Visconti’s residence.
In 1415 Filippo Maria Visconti gave the palace to Francesco Bussone, known as Carmagnola, who was one of the best military leaders at that time.
For Carmagnola things took a turn of the worse when he was charged with treason, and his palace was confiscated.

Nevertheless, everyone will always remember his name, thanks to Alessandro Manzoni, who gets the inspiration for his tragedy “The Count of Carmagnola” from Carmagnola’s life.
Carmagnola Palace was inherited by Francesco’s daughters, but in 1494 the ownership of the building passed to Ludovico il Moro, who gave it to his mistress, Cecilia Gallerani.
Cecilia wasn’t an ordinary woman. She was a very influential person at that time, indeed. She was a cultured, beautiful woman and managed to bewitch Ludovico.
She also bore him a son, although she wasn’t able to marry him.
In fact Ludovico got married to Beatrice d’Este: of course it was a marriage of convenience.
Cecilia Gallerani had a good marriage, and Ludovico gave her Carmagnola Palace.
This building became the main meeting point of the world of politics and culture in Milan.
Even Leonardo da Vinci attended this place: he left his sun-dial in the courtyard of the palace and painted a very famous portrait of Cecilia, “The Lady with an Ermine”.

During 1600 the palace turned into the wheat and flour market, while during the 1700 became the location of the Bank of Saint Ambrose, next the civic Archives, then the courthouse and finally the prefecture.
In the 20th century it was the site of the municipal workman’s club of the Fascist Group Black Brigade; while during the Second World War houses the counter-espionage.
In 1947 the building was restored and, owing to Giorgio Strehler, Paolo Grassi and Nina Vinchi it changed into the first Italian repertory theatre, the “ Piccolo Teatro di Milano

Lady with an Ermine | Leonardo da Vinci

Piccolo Teatro
via Rovello 2 – Milano


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