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The construction of Palazzo Marino, commissioned by the Genoese trader Tommaso Marino, started on May 4th 1558. The works were carried out by the architect Galeazzo Alessi together with some of the greatest sculptors of the Fabbrica del Duomo.
A decorative cycle based on the exaltation of the hero and the power of love can be seen in the main courtyard. The first theme is expressed through the labours of Hercules, the second with images from the "Metamorphoses" by Ovid.
Since 1861 Palazzo Marino has been home to the civic administration. The Sala Alessi is the current reception hall where international guests to the city are greeted.
In the Sala dell’Orologio the original ceiling is still present and the old clock that the room is named after is located above the front door.
In the Sala del Consiglio, behind the benches for the Mayor and Chairman of the Board, hangs a painting from the 1500’s by Ambrogio Figino. The work portrays S.Ambrogio on horseback who, miraculously, came to the aid of the Viscontis during the battle of Parabiago. Four large cast bronze chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The twelfth-century municipal coat of arms is flanked by the stylized marble symbols of the six ancient city gates.
The frescoes in the Sala Alessi, the originals of which date back to 1568, represent mythological figures such as the Muses, Bacchus, Apollo and Mercury. Without forgetting the reliefs with the labours of Perseus, Pegasus and Bellerophon. In the tympanum the two major portals host two curved busts of Mars and Minerva and here lies the official banner of the Municipality of Milan, depicting the city's patron saint, S. Ambrogio. At his feet lies the semi-hairy sow and, at his sides, the symbols of the medieval gates of Milan.
In 1873 the citizens paid homage to the mortal remains of Alessandro Manzoni in the Sala Alessi.
In 1947 the Palazzo Marino façade was covered by large billboards to hide the damage caused by the bombardment of 1943.
The Sala Verde (Green Room), which takes its name from the colour of the damask covering the walls, is also known as the Sala Matrimoni (Wedding Room), because on July 4th, 1953 the first civil marriage of Milan was celebrated therein. Since 2004, this hall has been named after Giovanni Marra, President of the City Council of Milan who passed away prematurely.
The walls in the Sala del Consiglio display excerpts from the Book III of "De Legibus" by Cicero, to remind everyone of the duties of those who have the responsibility of public affairs.
The Palazzo can be reached by M1/M3, Duomo stop.
2-hour personalised itineraries can be booked on Mondays and Thursdays, days that are traditionally dedicated to the City Council sessions.
Audio guides are available in 10 languages at the reception point on the ground floor, plus, an app "Palazzo Marino Kids" for smartphones and tablets aimed at younger visitors is available.