Piazza Mercanti and Via Dante

    Piazza Mercanti

    Piazza Mercanti, Milan, is the city’s Medieval heart. Part of our Major City Sights Milan walking tour, it offers a glimpse of what the city was like in the 13th and 14th centuries.

    piazza dei mercanti milano guided tour
    Photo courtesy of dimitrisvetsikas1969/Pixabay

    • Discover Palazzo della Ragione, the ancient seat of government.
    • Try the “Galleria dei sussurri” (whispering gallery), the arcades under which you can hear what people are saying even when they are a distance away.
    • See the aerial passageway that led to one of the city’s prisons and that is Milan’s equivalent of the “Bridge of Sighs” in Venice.
    • Find a mysterious bas-relief that celebrates the legend of how the city of Milan was founded in the 6th century B.C. by a Celtic king.
    • See where notaries and lawyers used to conduct their business, and discover the origin of the word “bankrupt”.

    Palazzo della Ragione is a large brick building, constructed from 1228, which for hundreds of years was the centre of Milan’s government and trade. It played a central role in Milan’s administration until the late 18th century. The palace is decorated with a relief representing Oldrado da Tresseno, Mayor of Milan in the 13th century (photo below).

    Piazza Mercanti palazzo della ragione milan walking tour
    La Loggia degli Osii
    was built as a city home by a noble family. In 1316, Matteo Visconti I, ruler of Milan, assigned the building to judicial functions.
    Piazza Mercanti loggia degli osii milan walking tour

    palazzo dei notai milan walking tour
    Photo by Jakub Hałun – CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org

    Palazzo dei Notai belonged to a family of notaries until 1741. The activities conducted were closely related to the trials held in the adjacent Palazzo della Ragione.
    The boar “half-covered in fur” (scrofa semilanuta) is linked to an ancient legend of the city’s foundation. Your Friend in Milan will show it to you and tell you about the story that begins emblem of the city, dating back at least to the Middle Ages and, according to a local legend, to the very foundation of Milan.

    Scrofa semilanuta Milan Palazzo della Ragione Milan walking tour
    Photo https://commons.wikimedia.org, image by G._Dall’Orto

    Via Dante

    On the Major City Sights Milan walking tour by A Friend in Milan, Via Dante is an attractive way to reach the Castle. It is a short pedestrian street lined with shops and street cafés.
    On a quick detour we can take you to one of Milan’s most famous modern sculptures by Maurizio Cattelan, a giant finger pointing skywards in front of the Milan stock exchange building.

    via dante milan walking tour

    Palazzo Carmagnola, one of the buildings on Via Dante, has a pleasant courtyard in which to enjoy a traditional Italian happy hour aperitif. (photo below)
    via dante milan walking tour palazzo carmagnola
    An interesting location in this area is Starbucks Milan, a fairly new arrival on Piazza Cordusio, with a superb setting in what used to be the Central Post Office. Palazzo Broggi, better known as the Palazzo delle Poste, hosted the headquarters of the Stock Exchange until 1932, when it moved to a new building designed specially for trading, Palazzo Mezzanotte in Piazza Affari. Palazzo Broggi now houses the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. (photo below)
    piazza cordusio via dante milan walking tour starbucks