Piazza Mercanti Milano is a square in Milan created as a center of city life in the Middle Ages. Subsequently transformed into via Mercanti. Piazza Mercanti means, in everyday language, the square circumscribed by the Palazzo della Ragione, the Casa dei Panigarola and the Loggia degli Osii.
Piazza Mercanti Milano – History
From the middle of the 13th century it was created with a rectangular plan, originally wider than the current one. There were six accesses to the same number of urban districts. The adjacent streets took the name of the various activities carried out. Armorari, Spadari, Cappellari, Orefici, Speronari, Fustagnari.
The main buildings of the square are: the Palazzo della Ragione (Broletto Nuovo), the Loggia degli Osii, the Palatine Schools, the Casa dei Panigarola.
The Palazzo della Ragione, also known as Broletto Nuovo, was built at the center, at the behest of the mayor, Oldrado da Tresseno. Completed in 1233 and used for judicial activities. It gave the name of piazza del Broletto to the square itself in the Middle Ages. With this building, consisting of a room superimposed on a loggia, a typology has been inaugurated in various cities in Lombardy. First of all Monza with its Arengario, whose forms refer to the original ones of the Palazzo della Ragione.
The elevation dates back to 1773, when the hall with the municipal loggia was transformed, under Maria Teresa of Austria, into the notarial archive. The work was curated by the architect Francesco Croce (designer of the highest peak of the Duomo). Croce built the current attic floor with circular windows and the portico’s vault. The palace dominates the northern side of the current square.
On the western side is the Palazzo dei Notai or Casa dei Panigarola from the 15th century, in gothic forms. At an angle on the southern side of the square, Palazzo Palatine, a Baroque building built in 1645 by Carlo Buzzi, which was built in place of the pre-existing Scuole del Broletto of the fourteenth century.
On the south side, flanked by the Palatine Schools, is the Loggia degli Osii. Built in 1316 by Scoto from San Gimignano at the behest of Matteo I Visconti. Modified in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and restored in its original form in 1904. It houses statues of the patrons of the city and, in the center of the upper floor, the parlor from which the edicts were proclaimed.
At the center is a well of the XVI century, surmounted by the XVIII century by two columns with trabeation.
Piazza Mercanti Milano – Sculptures
Re-used as a tax in one of the arches of the Broletto, you can see a stone with a Roman relief representing a boar, traditionally interpreted as the representation of the semilanuta sow, the city’s first symbol. Legend has it that Celta Belloveso founded the city of Milan at the very spot where he would find the magical animal, shown to him in a dream by the goddess Belisama. A naive interpretation of the etymology of Medio-lanum would derive this name from the “semilanute” qualification of the animal.
On one of the pillars of the “Broletto Nuovo” there is a high-relief of the thirteenth century depicting the mayor Oldrado da Tresseno, celebrated in an inscription in five Latin verses. The sculpture is stylistically referable to the influence of Benedetto Antelami.
The monument dedicated to the poet Decimo Magno Ausonio, on an arch with broken tympanum of one of the accesses to the square (the passage of the Palatine Schools), and the monument to Saint Augustine, on the facade of the Palatine Schools, are both works by Giovan Pietro Lasagna of the seventeenth century, which fit into the framework of the architecture of the square.
Piazza Mercanti Milano – Address
Piazza dei Mercanti – Milano
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