A mansion of utter opulence, and host to a swath of world class art shows. Recent big hitters have included a Canova exhibition, a Francis Bacon portrait show and a Vivienne Westwood retrospective.
Built in the 1300s, the Palazzo Reale was ordered by the Visconti family, then updated in the 16th century as part of the series of architectural reforms under the Sforzas. Giuseppe Piermarini, the Teatro alla Scala architect, gave the palazzo its neo-classical look when he was commissioned to design a residence for Archduke Ferdinand of Austria in the 1770s. Only a fraction of his stuccos and frescoes survived Allied bombing, but the Sala delle Cariatidi remains in an interesting state of semi-dereliction. Tours of the latter take place at set times of the day.
The palazzo also contains the Museo del Duomo in a neighbouring building. Due to reopen in mid-2009, it delves into the Cathedral's history.