Merchants Square

Piazza Mercanti (Milan)

Merchants square is a square in Milan created as the Centre of city life in the middle ages, later transformed into via merchants. For Merchants square means in everyday language, the square circumscribed by the palazzo della Ragione, the home of Panigarola and Loggia degli Osii.


It was to create from the mid 13th century with a rectangular, larger than the present one. There were six reported access to as many districts citizens. Adjacent streets took the name of different activities: Armorari, Saliba, Camacho, Goldsmiths, Speronari, Fustagnari.
The main buildings of the square are:
the palazzo della Ragione (Broletto Nuovo)
the Loggia degli Osii
the Palatine Schools
the House of Panigarola

The Center was built at the behest of Mayor Aaron from the Tresseno "palazzo della Ragione", also known as the Broletto Nuovo, finished in 1233 and used as judicial activities, which he named piazza del Broletto to the same square in medieval times. With this building, consisting of superimposed to a room, opens a lodge type shot in various cities of Lombardy Monza, first of all with its Arengario, whose forms refer to those originating in the palazzo della Ragione, at least in its previous form in the 18th century, during which underwent a remarkable transformation with the Cant. Raising dates back to 1773, when the municipal loggia lounge was transformed, under Maria Theresa of Austria, in the notarial archive. The opera was the senior architect Francis Cross (designer, among other things, in Milan, of the highest spire of the Cathedral). Cross made the existing Attic floor with circular Windows and voltatura of the portico, which was covered by a framework of beams and planks. The Palace dominates the northern side of the square today; originally, however, was at the center of a porticoed rectangular shaped square, isolated from other buildings.
On the Western side lies the "palazzo dei Notai" or "Panigarola House" (from the 15th century, in Gothic forms) and, at an angle on the southern side of the square, the "palatine" school building, building (1645 Baroque by Carlo Buzzi), which was built in place of the pre-existing schools Broletto "14th century".
On the South side, joined Palatine schools, is located the "Loggia degli Osii", built in 1316 by Scoto da San Gimignano by Matteo I Visconti, modified in the 17th and 18th centuries and restored in original forms in 1904. It houses the statues of the patron saints of the city and, at the center of the upper floor, the parlèra from which proclaimed themselves the edicts.
A well in the middle of the 16th century, surmounted by the 18th century by two columns with entablature.
It should be mentioned that between 1944 and 1951 the square was home to the headquarters of the provisional Rinascente, following the destruction in bombardments of piazza Duomo.


Re-used as set by one of the arches of the Broletto, you can see a stone with a relief of a representative Roman boar, traditionally interpreted as depictions of sow semilanuta, the first symbol of the city. Legend has it that the celta Bellovesus founded the city of Milan in the same spot where he found the magical animal, he had been shown in a dream by goddess Belisama. A naïve interpretation of medium-etymology would derive the name lanum qualification "semilanuta" of the animal.
On one of the pillars of the "Broletto" there is a 13TH century relief depicting the podestà by Aaron celebrated Tresseno in an inscription in five verses. The sculpture is stylistically datable to the influence of Benedetto Antelami.
The monument dedicated to the poet Decimus Magnus Ausonius, on an arc with eardrum broken by one of the entrances to the square (the passage of Palatine Schools), and the monument to St. Augustine, on the façade of the Palatine Schools, are both works of Giovan Pietro Lasagna in the 17th century, that fit within the framework of the architecture of the square.


Since 2002, the square is the meeting place and the Milan Critical Mass, weekly event.

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