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Palazzo Liviano and the Hall of Giants

The Milanese architect Gio Ponti, who had already been working closely with Rector Carlo Anti on the renovation of Palazzo Bo, won the competition in 1934 for the construction of the new headquarters of the Faculty of Letters in Piazza Capitaniato. Thus began, on the spaces of pre-existing buildings, the construction of a palace connected to the Hall of Giants (Sala dei Giganti), for ceremonies and conferences. Giò Ponti designed and built a building that reflected the requests of the competition based not on the imitation of past styles, but with a simple and balanced expression of modern art (…). Be luxurious, but use lines and material of the strictly indispensable decorative elements,”

In addition to taking care of the design of the building, Ponti decided to oversee the design of benches, desks, chairs, and coat hangers, thus imprinting himself across its interiors with the same recognizable and coherent style found in the rectorate of Palazzo Bo, also furnished by Ponti.

Even the large fresco in the atrium of Palazzo Liviano is the result of a competition announced in 1937 resulting in a grandiose commemoration of Titus Livy and the celebration of Roman continuity in modern times. At the suggestion of Gio Ponti, painters Guido Cadorin, Ubaldo Oppi, Mario Sironi and Massimo Campigli took part in the rendering of each fresco between 1939 and 1940. The work represents archaeology as a source of Italian culture, the heritage of scholars and, at the same time, of common people. In a portion of the vast fresco, Campigli portrays Carlo Anti, Gio Ponti, himself and his wife, Giuditta Campigli.

Among the works of art preserved in the palace, it is worth mentioning the statue of Tito Livio by the sculptor Arturo Martini (1942) in the atrium. The Latin historian is portrayed as bent over, thoughtful like “a child who kneels and writes all his life”, according to the artist’s definition.

The Museum of Archaeological Sciences and Art has been located on the third floor of the Palace since 1937. Among the collections, are ancient and Renaissance sculptures and ceramics; Greek, Etruscan and Roman finds; casts of Greek and Roman sculptures.

Connected to Palazzo Liviano, the Hall of the Giants, splendidly frescoed, has always been linked to the life of the university and is today open to the public for special events concerts, and guided tours.

Learn more and visit the Hall of Giants

Learn more about the history of the Hall of Giants, and book your guided tour.

L’affresco di Massimo Campigli nell'atrio del Liviano