The Palazzo Reale is an important cultural center, hosting a number of museums and exhibition spaces. For centuries this royal palace was home to the government of Milan. Today the palace stands in the shadow of the Duomo; its architecture is in stark contrast to the towering cathedral. While the Palazzo’s facade is comparatively modest, its elegant interior is fit for a king. Visit the palace to discover the history of Milan, see famous artwork from across Italy or simply admire the lavish interior design.
Start with a visit to the Palace Museum. Here you can learn about the city, the palace and the people who lived there. The museum is divided into four sections, each covering a different period of Milanese history. Learn about the Neoclassical, Napoleonic and Restoration periods in Italian history as you walk through the refurbished rooms of the palace. The final section explores the unification of Italy and is important in understanding the role of Milan in the 21st century.
The structure survived World War II bombing in 1943. Picasso displayed his anti-war painting Guernica here in the 1950s. Now each year over 1,500 masterpieces from world museums are displayed in the 75,000-square-foot (7,000-square-meter) exhibit spaces within the palace. Check the website for current exhibits, ranging from Modigliani to Bob Dylan to Monet.
After you’ve explored the interior, walk through the great courtyards of the palace. Here’ll you’ll have a unique look at the Duomo, a view most city visitors don’t get. Snap a photo of yourself in front of the huge cathedral before moving on to explore the city.
The Palazzo Reale is located on the Piazza del Duomo and is easily reached on foot from many downtown hotels. Catch the train here from further afield and get off at the Duomo metro station. The palace is open daily and an admission fee applies.