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Casa degli Omenoni, Milan

(4.7/5 based on 80+ reviews on the web)
Casa degli Omenoni is a historic palace of Milan, northern Italy, located in the eponymous street of Via degli Omenoni (number 3). It was designed by sculptor Leone Leoni for himself; he both lived and worked there. It owes its name to the eight atlantes decorating its facade, termed "omenoni" ("big men" in Milanese), which were sculpted by Antonio Abondio, most probably on a design by Leoni. Lions (a reference to the "Leoni" family) are a recurring theme of its decorations; in particular, a large relief placed under the cornice depicts two lions tearing a satyr into pieces. The overall style of the palace and the decorations have been noted to include several references to the art of Michelangelo. The internal courtyard, modified in 1929 by Piero Portaluppi, has a colonnade with metopes and triglyphs.Artist and historian Giorgio Vasari expressed his admiration for the palace, stating that it was pieno di capricciose invenzioni ("full of capricious inventions"). At the time, the palace also housed a notable collection of art works and antiquities, which has been dispersed over time. According to an inventory dating back to 1615, it had paintings by Titian, Parmigianino, and Michelangelo; the inventory also mentions a book of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, which scholars identify with the Codex Atlanticus now preserved in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana.
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Reviews
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  • Tight little tourist street, in an area I frequent from time to work, the façade of this Palace has the incredible, thanks to 8 giant statues of barbarian prisoners.
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  • The omenoni are, in Milan, the great men, or telamons decorating the façade; represent eight defeated barbarians, whose names are now only vaguely readable: Svevo, Quad, Adiabene, childbirth, Sarmatian and Emily (two more needed!). These statues were probably drawn (with an eye to Michelangelo) by Leo Leone (sculptor, engraver at the service of the Kings of Spain, art collector), who built this House in 1565 to live there with his son Pompeo; were mapped onto log stone by Antonio Abbondio said the Ascona, the Lombard sculptor then quite well known. The façade is the only visible thing, but also the only part of the building which has preserved almost intact its original shape. Overall sober and rigorous, consists of two orders and a penthouse, of a later period, and is divided vertically into seven compartments which, on the ground floor, are broken down by telamons (a bit beat up) with alternating between Windows and niches. On the main floor there are recessed columns alternating with niches and Windows: in the nineteenth century were added the wrought iron balconies. Under the fascia runs a frieze; central compartment, the relief with calumny torn by Lions: depicts a satyr who-in a desperate attempt to escape the attack of two lions-backs up to lean off the ledge (a warning to visitors, with reference not only to the name of the owner but also to her restless and aggressive character?) Pompey's son's death, the Palace and the rich collection of works of art (including the Atlantic Codex by Leonardo) that contained it passed to the Casts (the family of the husband of Victoria, daughter of Pompeo Leoni); then to Belgioioso, wells, and finally to Bailey who joined Palace in piazza Belgioioso 1 and commissioned the renovations, in 1929, the architect Piero Portaluppi: nothing remains, then, of the original interior arrangement. Today the building is home to an exclusive club for gentlemen, the ' Clubino ', which counts among its members belonging to noble families and the bourgeoisie milanese (and beyond). PS. Another curiosity is the fact that, above the door, there is still the number attributed to the Hapsburg Palace in accordance with rule: 1722 (not the construction date!!).
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  • The gray color accentuates the impression of severity of the statues, all does not charm. See if you walk in the neighborhood, but don't deserve a big detour.
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