Casa dei Grifi


Via Valpetrosa, 5, 20123 Milano


The palace was the residence of the Grifi family, also known as Griffi or Grifo. The family, of mercantile origins, had among its members some influential intellectuals from the Sforza court. 
The construction of the palace began at the end of the 15th century and was completed in the next century, in post-Bramantesque style. Among the building's many vicissitudes, in the 19th century it was home to the Albergo Gran Parigi, the terminal of the diligence to Pavia. Nevertheless, it has one of Milan's best-preserved Renaissance-style courtyards.
The rectangular courtyard, which on the upper floors has been transformed with the characteristic Milanese balustrades, still has the Bramante-style portico on the ground floor. The portico, on three sides, consists of round terracotta arches supported by granite columns with composite capitals. The ribbed vaults are covered with a monochrome decoration on a blue background, with scratch grotesques. The emblem of the family with the rampant griffin is repeated on the limestone capitals within horse-head shields. The decoration is completed by stone roundels included between the arches, depicting profiles of emperors and personalities from antiquity, and by the unusual full-round heads inserted in the corners. The decoration is attributed to Benedetto Briosco, as is also the sepulchre of Ambrogio Grifi in San Pietro in Gessate.
The courtyard is now private property and is unfortunately usually closed, but you can peek inside if you are lucky enough to find the door open.