Palazzo Reale is a large building next to the Duomo. It is actually much older than it seems: It was first constructed in the 11th century! Many changes were done in the 13th century and its history was quite varied: After it was used as the local government, it was the residence of the Sforza family, the Dukes of Milan. It then became Milan's first permanent theatre, and in 1737, Mozart gave a concert here (still being a child). Forty years later, the building burnt down and reconstructed soon after in classical style, and many changed were again done under Empress Maria Theresia. In 1920, Vittorio Emanuele III gave it to the city of Milan, today it belongs to the city and there are several museums inside.
We did not visit the interior of the palazzo, but had a good look from the outside. You also have a nice view of it from the roof of the Duomo, as you can see in picture 4. For more information on the museums, please check the link below.
As you can see in picture 4, there was a wedding at the palace when we walked along!
Aside from being an important historical building in its own right, the "Royal Palace" is now one of the largest exhibition spaces in Europe and is always holding shows that are worth checking out.
It always advertises current exhibitions on a banner above the door; alternatively more information can be provided by the Tourist Office next door (see my general tip).
For details in English about the history of the Palazzo Reale, see (www.discountmilano.com/tour/Secoli/PalazzoDucale). For the Italian website (invluding opening hours etc) see link below.
The Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale) is located on the Piazza del Duomo opposite the Il Salotto di Milano (Milan's Drawing Room). The palace hosts two of Milan's best museums: the Contemporary Art Museum (Civico Museo d'Arte Contemporanea) and the Duomo Cathedral Museum. It was the site of the ancient city council and the original building was the residence of Torrigiani, visconti and Sforza Family.
Situado en el lado sur de Piazza Duomo, el Palazzo Reale fue, en 1138, la sede del Viejo Ayuntamiento. El edificio original fue la residencia de las Familias Torrigiani, Visconti y Sforza. Se transformó en 1771-78 gracias a Giuseppe Piermarini y durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial el Palacio fue bombardeado. Han sobrevivido solo las salas más bellas y la Sala delle Cariatidi, que recuerda una tumba. Hoy se usa como museo y centro de exposición.
What we know as Palazzo Reale today is the re-construction in Neo-Classical style led by Giuseppe Piermarini in 1772-78. At that time, Milano was an Austrian city and the palace was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire.
The building was severly damaged by the 1943 bombing and is consistently being restored.
It is actually impossible to visit the palace, because it is permanently destinated to art exhibitions. However, if you visit one or more exhibitions, you can see some rooms, especially the Sala delle Cariatidi ("Caryatids room").
I visited two exhibitions: Canova alla corte degli Zar, showing sculptures from Sankt Peterburg's Hermitage museum (including Canova's masterpiece The three Graces), and L'arte delle donne, featuring paintings by artist women from the Renaissance to the 20th century. Although the former let me admire some beautiful rooms of the palace, I enjoyed the latter much more.
Whenever you go to Palazzo Reale, more than one exhibition will be ongoing (when I went, there were two more exhibitions), so you will hardly find an excuse not to visit it.
The building of the Royal Palace is located in square on the southern side of the Dome.
The building of today, in neo-classical style with two side wings, is the result of the radical modifications made by the architect Giuseppe Piermarini in 1771-1778, when Milan was under Austrian domination.
Inside the Royal Palace is richly decorated with statues, frescoes and plasterworks and is housing today the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The palace was completely devastated in 1943 and since then important reconstruction works have been carried out.
Even today the facade of the Palace was completely covered and only its left wing that is housing the Cathedral Museum can be admired.