On of the defining traits of Milano is its courtyards. Mostly not open to the public, you can usually catch a glimpse of them through the open doors on the street.
Palazzo Stampa di Soncino, located on via Soncino 2, is a XVI century building on a narrow street in the center of Milano. The palace itself can’t be visited, it hosts apartments and offices, but the doorway is often open and you can easily peek into the main courtyard. It is one of the examples of Milanese buildings that, behind a pretty plain facade, hide interesting gardens and courtyards.
In this case the courtyard cannot be visited, you can peek into it from the entrance, which is usually open during the day, or from above through Google Maps (though the view from above is quite uninteresting). Its main feature is the spacious colonnade (you can see it also here), a space that connects inside and outside with a gradual fade from one to the other: the outside leads into the open air courtyard, that leads to the colonnade through which you can step inside.
The palace itself was originally built by architect Cristoforo Lombardo (also known as “Lombardino”) by Massimiliano Stampa, one of the most relevan citizens of Milan at the time, who also hosted artists and other intellectuals. Later on the palace was expanded and renewed several times.
Visiting palazzo Stampa di Soncino
As I stated before, currently the building can’t be visited. It is privately owned and hosts both apartments and private offices. During the day, the outer doors are open and you can enter the lobby and peek inside the gate. As usual, I invite you to do so keeping in mind that the building is inhabited. You are welcome to walk respectfully to the gate, standing briefly a half meter (one or two feet) off the gate itself. Pressing your face to the gate tryng to see a little more or sticking the cameras inside the gate should be avoided.