With the Duomo behind you, you can appreciate a quiet spot of the city centre and a pedestrian area: via Mercanti; here is located Palazzo della Ragione, also known as “new Broletto” because it was the second Broletto to be built substituting the old one located in the area where now is located Palazzo Reale. “Broletto” comes from Brolo, a judicial seat during the dark ages; a place where the population would meet with Consuls and Magistrates. From the Loggia degli Osii, edicts, verdicts and general announcements were read to the population; in the middle of the square there was once the stone where the insolvent people would seat and listen to the verdict.
The building was constructed between 1228 and 1233 as the Podestà Aliprando da Brescia’s will. At first only a portico was built and it would be a meeting place, but in 1233 a big hall on the first floor was built as Podestà Oldrado da Tresseno’s will. The equestrian relief on the facade facing Via Mercanti is an evidence of this. The rectangular plan building is just like a two naves covered square; the naves have seven arches along the longer side and two along the shorter side.
The arches lie on stone columns. The building maintained a central role in the administrative and public life of the city. The building was named “delle Ragioni” (reasons) because it was the place where the judges would explain the civil and penal reasons to the population. Comune di Milano has been the owner of Palazzo della Ragione since 1939 and nowadays after restoration works, the building hosts exhibitions, mostly photography exhibitions of worldwide famous artists.