The Palazzo Litta is located in corso Magenta and it was designed in 1648 by Francesco Maria Richini on Count Bartolomeo Arese’s commission, who was the President of the Senate of Milan. This palace was famous for the big parties held in its halls -some of those were open to the common people- and it later became property of the Dukes Litta Visconti Arese who in 1763 commissioned the refurbishment of the façade to Bartolomeo Bolli.
During the 19th century the building became the seat of a private railway company, while nowadays it houses some offices of the railway system owned by the government, Ferrovie dello Stato. Palazzo Litta is one of the most important Baroque buildings of Milan: the façade is partitioned into two floors and a high central body framed by two gigantic pilaster strips; the windows are decorated with unusual grotesque masks and the portal sustaining the balcony above is flanked by two atlases. The majestic staircase, which was so famous that it was taken as an example for the staircase of the Opéra National de Paris, was designed in 1740 by Carlo Giuseppe Merlo.
The staircase leads to the halls of the palace: Salotto Rosso, Salotto Giallo, Sala degli Specchi and Salotto della Duchessa. There’s a pearl set in a flower pictured in the mosaic on the floor of the Sala Rossa; according to the tradition, the Countess Barbara Litta was so touched when Napoleon came to visit her that she cried and a teardrop fell on this very spot. The original inner courtyard of Palazzo Litta with coupled columns was designed in the 17th century. It leads to the Clock’s Courtyard (Cortile dell’Orologio) which is the seat of many outdoor activities and it leads to the entrance of the theatre that has a large foyer and an elegant café, which has both ancient architectonic elements and modern furniture. The schedule is rich with plays, exhibitions and lectures.