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Palazzo Clerici was constructed in an urban context of small houses. It was bought by the Clerici family in the second half of the seventeenth century.
In the 1700s the Clerici family consolidated its power thanks to the remarkable esteem that the Austrian rule had for the local nobility. In this period, during the transition from Baroque to neoclassical, the building was one of the most luxurious residences in the city.
Between 1773 and 1778, the year in which the court moved to Palazzo Reale, Francesco Clerici rented the palazzo to Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Beatrice d'Este, representatives of the Empress of Vienna in the duchy of Milan.
It has a long plain façade that contrasts with the sumptuous decoration of the interior. The central section of the façade is set back from the street so as to enable easier access for the carriages in the entrance hall from Via Clerici.
The grand staircase is quite unique amongst Milanese buildings, statues of women dressed in the eastern style, in line with sixteenth-century Lombard architectural styles, give anthropomorphic form to architectural elements.
In 1740 Giorgio Antonio Clerici commissioned Giambattista Tiepolo to decorate the ceiling of the main gallery which became the Galleria del Tiepolo. There are three art forms to be admired in this room: the painting on the ceilings, the cabinetry of the wood panelling and the silk art tapestries on the walls.
The fresco by Tiepolo is “La corsa del carro del Sole attraverso il libero cielo abitato dalle deità dell’olimpo e circondato dalle creature terrestri e dagli animali che stanno a simboleggiare i continenti” (The ace of the chariot of the Sun across the sky inhabited by the deities of Olympus and surrounded by land creatures and animals that are symbols of the continents) with figures, characters, myths and allegories.
The boiserie which surrounds the entire room is the most spectacular testimony of the splendour of eighteenth century Lombardy artistic refinement. It depicts scenes of military life that refer to the epic poem of the First Crusade "Jerusalem Delivered" by Torquato Tasso.
The tapestries, which originate from Brussels, recount scenes from the life of Moses and are dated back to around the second half of the 1600’s.
Giorgio Antonio Clerici was Maria Theresa’s ambassador to the Holy See. He is remembered for his lavish procession upon his entrance into Rome that included horses fitted with silver horseshoes.
During the year, guided visits to the “Salone del Tiepolo” are organized which allow the visitor to observe the frescoed ceiling with its “Quadriga del Sole guidata da Mercurio” (“Chariot of the Sun driven by Mercury”).
The institute ISPI periodically organizes guided visits, mostly during the “Notti Bianche” (White Night festivals) and FAI days. For information on events and times see the institute website.
The palazzo can be reached via Metropolitana MM1 (red) from the nearby Cordusio stop, MM3 (yellow) from Duomo and tram 1, 2, 3, 12, 14, 16, 19, 24, 27.