The Piazza dei Mercanti is tucked away in front of the Duomo (to the north-west) and, I suspect, could be very easily overlooked. It is bounded on all four sides by buildings and its entrances are narrow. They are narrow because this is a remnant of Medieval Milan, and it is well worth a look for just that reason.
In Medieval times this was the commercial centre of Milan. Along its sides stand 'palaces', home to the various guilds (of craftsmen) in those times. Until the early 20th century the Borsa (Stock Exchange) was still housed in the 16th century Palazzo dei Giureconsulti on Via Mercanti.
The most eye-catching building stands alongside Via Mercanti: the Palazzo della Ragione. Its first-floor (the Broletto) functioned as the Medieval Town Hall and the open, arched area underneath was used for markets. The worn stone carving above the arches shows Oldrado di Tressano, the Milanese Mayor who organised the building of the palazzo in 1228.
The black-and-white-striped Loggia degli Orsi opposite dates from 1316, and you can still see the coats of arms of the various Milanese districts on its facade.
The other sides of the square hold buildings dating from the 1500s and 1600s, and in the centre is a well (also from the 1600s, but its stone features added in the 1800s).
Really quite an atmospheric spot, despite the noisy group of schoolboys messing around when I visited! A tiny taste of Medieval Milan...
This came as a total surprise for me during my visit to Milan. Although very close to Piazza del Duomo, I had no idea that this so-called "corner of old Milan" exists and is still preserved intact here.
It had six gates, one for each of the neighborhoods of the 13th century city, and in the centre stood the Palazzo della Ragione, or New Town Hall (Broletto Nuovo), commissioned by Oldrado da Tresseno, the first mayor of Milan.
Palazzo della Ragione or New Town Hall (Broletto Nuovo) is located on the south side of medieval Piazza Mercanti and is an austere building with has three rows of arcades supported by square pillars.
Piazza Mercanti is a pretty little piazza close to the Duomo area. You can reach it through several archways from Via dei Mercanti. Via dei Mercanti is an impressive street with many grand buildings, but it is also quite commercial because there are many touristic restaurants. Once you walk through the archways, things become a lot quieter and it is a very different place. I liked this piazza very much.
The piazza is surrounded by several interesting buildings, such as the Palazzo dell Scuole Palatine from the 17th century, and the Palazzo dei Panigarola from the 15th century. The fountain is from the 16th century. This is certainly one of the most interesting places in this part of Milan.
One of the main squares in Milan, Piazza Cordusio is located at half way from the Duomo to Castello Sforzesco, in an active business area.
Once the center of Milan's financial life (the Milan Stock Exchange was located here before being moved to Piazza degli Affari) Piazza Cordusio is still playing an important role: here is the beautiful Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali, but also the headquarters of Unicredito Italiano, one of the most important Italian banks (and between others, the reason of my visit to Milan).
The name of the square derivates from Curia Ducis (meaning Corte del Duca or Palazzo del Duca), the place where the Milanese Dukes established their court.
Another two remarkable buildings in the square are the Baroque Palatine School (Palazzo delle Scuole Palatine) and the Gothic House of Panigarola Family (Casa dei Panigarola).
These two buildings are one next to the each other in a corner of the square, as an extraordinary contrast of styles.
Built of black and white marble, the beautfiul Loggia degli Osii was commisioned by Matteo Visconti da Scoto of San Gimignano in 1316.
Although the building it was damaged during the years, the extensive restoration works carried out in 1904 tried to bring back its original form.
The building is housing today a branch of an Italian Bank.
Medival square: it was the administrative and commercial center in Milan at the time.
On the southern side of Piazza dei Mercanti, there is the 'Loggia degli Osii', where, from the balcony or 'parlera', the edicts and sentences issued by the municipal government were read. Dating to the early 14th century, commissioned by Matteo Visconti, it underwent refurbishing operations in the early 20th century.
Piazza Mercanti is a small square just west of Piazza Del Duomo. I had read about this place and wanted to visit while I was in Milan. During the first day I had lunch at McDonald’s and I realised, while I was eating, that the square I was looking out on through the window was Piazza Mercanti. At that moment a school class was there with their teacher, but as I came out it was almost empty. Piazza Mercanti was the centre of official activities during the medieval era and there are some beautiful buildings around the square. In the middle of the square there is a well from the 16th century. Among the buildings to notice are Palazzo della Ragione (New Town Hall) from 1233, Loggia degli Osii - a building from 1316 with statues and coat-of-arms, Palazzo delle Scuole Platine from 1645 - with statues of Sant Augustinus and the poet Ausonius, and Palazzo dei Panigarola.
Palazzo dei Giureconsulti was commissioned by Angelo Maria Medici, the future Pope Pio IV, and was built between 1560 and 1564.
The College of Giureconsulti was the school where the highest men in the Milanese state were educated.
The statue of Philip II, which was supposed to remember to everyone the long domination of Spain, was replaced by a statue of Bruto, symbol of liberty.
This statue was destroyed by the Austrians in 1799 and today on that place is a statue of Sant'Ambrogio.
Piazza Mercanti is undoubtelly the most beautiful square in the city. The old Milan is still preserved intact here, although it is just a step away of traffic and ugly skyscrapers.
Originally square shaped, it had six gates, one for each of the neighborhoods of the 13th century city.
Do not miss to observe the magnificient buildings which stood around the square, such as Palazzo della Ragione, Loggia degli Osii, the Baroque Palatine School and the Gothic House of the Panigarola Family. Right in the middle of the square there is the 16th century well.
In the center of Piazza Mercanti stood the Palazzo della Ragione, or New Town Hall, commissioned from 1228 to 1233 by Oldrado di Tresseno, the first Milanese mayor, portrayed on hohseback in a high relief above the palace's fourth pillar. Stylistically this work from 1233 bears the influence of the famous 12th century sculptor from Modena, Antelami.
Below is a five verse latin inscription exalting the mayor's major merits, i.e. one, commissioning this palace and two, burning heretics at the stake.
The extremely plain building has three rows of arcades supported by square pillars and a brickwork upper floor eth triple windows.
Right in front of the Palazzo stands a charming 16th century well with columns and trabeation added in the 18th century.
Next to the Palazzo della Ragione stood the charming Loggia degli Osii commissioned by Matteo Visconti da Scoto of San Gimignano in 1316, sharply contrasts with the starknes of the palace.
Although it was unfortunately disfigured in the 17th and 18th centuries, you can still get an idea of what it must have been like by the 1904 restoration which attempted to bring it back to its original form.
Built of black and white marble, it is composed of two superimposed loggias with divided windows along the top floor. Upon the upper loggia are coat of arms of the various districts and of the Visconti family and in the middle is the balcony from which edicts were read to the public.
Piazza Mercanti is completed by the Baroque Palatine School Building and the Gothic House of the Panigarola Family, next to each other in a fine contrast of styles.
The square is absolutely a must see when in Milano, it is the ancient and, as far as I am concerned, undoubtely he most beautiful square in whole the city of Milano.
Piazza Mercanti or Merchants’ Square is a little piece of central part of medieval Milan survived till nowadays. He you can feel the real spirit of Medieval Milan and times of Visconties and Sforzas. You can see there the Palazzo della Ragione (Palace of Reason) built between 1228-1233 out of the traditional red brick with its famous statue of a horseman. It stands in the Northern side of the square.
There is Gothic Casa Panigarola at the Western end of the square. The baroque Palazzo delle Scuole Palatine built in XVII century is in the South West corner of the square.
And at last my favorite building in this square the Loggia degli Osii is in the Southern side of the Square.
That square is the real architectural monument and worth to visit and spend there at least twenty minutes time.
Piazza Mercanti or Merchants’ Square is a little piece of central part of medieval Milan survived till nowadays. He you can feel the real spirit of Medieval Milan and times of Visconties and Sforzas.
There is Loggia degli Osii is in the Southern side of the Piazza Mercanti. This is my favorite building in this square. That building was built in 1321 under the order of Mateo Visconti. The name of the building derives from the Osii family held the parcel before the construction. Building was designed by Scoto da San Gimignano. Ugo da Campione and his son Giovanni made arched niches with Virgin, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Peter and other saints. Ducal edicts and court sentences were usually read from the balcony of Loggia degli Osii also known as the parlera. Balcony decorated with an eagle holding its prey the symbol of justice. We can also see the vipers swallowing human creature the coat of arms of Visconti family.