The 17th century palace hosting the museum had been bought at the end of the 18th century by Giuseppe Pezzoli, an ancestor of Gian Giacomo. The architect Simone Cantoni (1736-1818) had rearranged it in a Neo-classical style with an English style inner garden, rich with statues and fountains. Between 1851 and 1853, Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli commissioned the architect Giuseppe Balzaretto (1801-1874) for the refurbishment of his apartment.
The Armoury was created in neo-Gothic style, between 1846 and 1851, by the Scala Theatre set designer Filippo Peroni, with stuccoes by Paolo Gazzoli and stained glass by Pompeo Bertini. The effect was definitely theatrical with standards, arms, armours and trophies crowding the room. The Armoury was destroyed by the 1943 bombings.
The bedroom, today called Murano Glass Room, was designed in neo-Baroque style by Giuseppe Balzaretto and Giuseppe Ripamonti, between 1850 and 1851. The lacunar ceiling, the frescoed frieze by Luigi Scrosati, the fireplace, the wood panelling were destroyed in the 1943 air raids. The wonderful doors luckily survived.
THE DANTE STUDY
This room was Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli’s private study. Designed by Giuseppe Bertini and Luigi Scrosati between 1853 and 1856, it is the only remaining example of the painted decoration of the house. The room is inspired by the Middle Ages and the poet Dante Alighieri, who appears in the frescoes and in the stained-glass windows created by Bertini himself. In this room, Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli used to keep the most precious pieces of his collections of applied art.
THE BLACK ROOM
Designed by Luigi Scrosati and Giuseppe Bertini before 1855, the Black Room was conceived to enhance the Flemish style polyptych. The decorations of the room were inspired by a “North Renaissance Style”. The fresco by Luigi Scrosati and the wall-covering in ebony and ivory were destroyed in 1943. The doors and the elegant furniture (tables and chairs) designed for this room by Bertini and made by Giuseppe Speluzzi, Luigi Barzaghi and Pietro Zaneletti, between 1855 and 1880, survived.
THE YELLOW ROOM
Today called Stucco Room, it was designed in Rococò style to host the porcelain collection. The frescoes by Luigi Scrosati and the stuccowork by Antonio Tantardini, created before 1855, were destroyed in 1943. The shelves, the consoles and the chairs in Rococò style by Giuseppe Speluzzi, dating between 1870 and 1876, survived.
THE ANTIQUE STAIRCASE
This was the scenographic entrance to Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli’s apartment. The eight monumental allegorical statues in the niches are by a 18th century Milanese artist . The elegant neo-Baroque fountain was designed by Giuseppe Bertini. The original stucco decoration and the painted glass ceiling by Giuseppe Bertini were destroyed by 1943 bombings.
THE GOLDEN ROOM
This room, in Renaissance style, was designed to display the best works of the collection. Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli died before it was completed, and Giuseppe Bertini continued the decoration after his death. It is called Golden Room because it had a gilded wood ceiling. The walls were partially frescoed by Giuseppe Bertini and partially covered by damasks, all destroyed in 1943.