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Palazzo Beltrami (formerly the headquarters of Banca Commerciale Italiana)

Having chosen a strategically important area of the city dominated by the town hall of Palazzo Marino and Piermarini’s famous Teatro alla Scala, Banca Commerciale Italiana commissioned Luca Beltrami the project of the building; then at the height of his fame, the Milanese architect had already designed the facade of 16th-century Palazzo Marino in 1886. Built between 1906 and 1911 in the neoclassical style, its architecture echoes that of the pre-existing buildings, evoking the triple section of the facade of Palazzo Marino, and, in its high ashlar pedestal in polished granite, the sequence of arches of Teatro alla Scala. Comparisons with La Scala can also be seen in the central part of the facade, where the rhythm of the gigantic semi-columns is overshadowed by the central section consisting of four ionic columns dominated by the pediment.

In 2011 the historic site of Banca Commerciale Italiana became a hub of art and culture open to the city and the rest of the world.


The collection

Begin your discovery of the collections of Gallerie d’Italia in Milan in stunning piazza della Scala: three historic buildings and exceptional pieces of architecture that house three exhibitions: the Nineteenth Century, which also includes the collections of Fondazione Cariplo, the Cantiere del '900 exhibition dedicated to 20th century art, and The Caveau, once a closed, inaccessible area, now a storage space open to all.

Detail of the interiors of Palazzo Beltrami, clock
Detail of the interiors of Palazzo Beltrami, windows


The Caveau

Like any respectable bank, the former Banca Commerciale Italiana also had its own vault for storing highly valuable items and materials.

Designed by Luca Beltrami in the early 1900s, the large area is dominated by a unique, symmetrical compositional design: the space is supported by two majestic Doric columns, each featuring a frieze with triglyphs. The cast-iron detailing, staircase and walkway balustrade reflect the style and plant motif of the grand staircase railings on the upper floor, showcasing the architectural design’s outstanding coherence.

Though the vault no longer contains safety deposit boxes, it houses items that are just as valuable: around 500 paintings belonging to the Intesa Sanpaolo collection. The works of art are hung on sliding mesh panels, with an excellent system for storage and conservation installed, designed to keep the works displayed to visitors, almost as if to form unexpected exhibition pathways.
The caveau can be visited by reservation only as part of guided tours.

The vault of the former Banca Commerciale Italiana. Designed by Luca Beltrami (1906), interior design by Michele De Lucchi (2011).

Gallerie d’Italia - Milano, interview with the Deputy Director Giovanni Morale


Other places in Piazza Scala

Palazzo Brentani

Built by 1720 at the request of Giuseppe Brentani, the building was probably inhabited by the family until the early Nineteenth Century, when another Giuseppe – grandson of the original owner – resided there...

Palazzo Brentani Greppi