Loggia dei Mercanti

Ancient loggia with 19 bronze plates bearing the names of the fallen for freedom. Symbolic place for Milan’s antifascism.

The Loggia dei Mercanti, right under the medieval Palazzo della Ragione, at the beginning of via Mercanti, can be seen from piazza del Duomo, on the right, with the cathedral behind you. It’s a symbolic place for Milan’s Resistance, with 19 bronze plates hung in 1953 and bearing the names of those who died for the liberation of Milan.

In the days following that 25th April 1945, citizens of Milan placed here the photographs of the fallen with flowers on temporary bases made of wood.

This is were commemorative demonstrations and speeches took place. On 1st June 1952, under the Loggia, a crowd commemorated two jewish women: Giulia Leoni Voghera and her daughter Augusta, brutally murdered in the lager in Bolzano. That same year, on 11th October, they commemorated Sergio Papi, Luigi Fossati and Ugo Cellini, three partisan soldiers who were sentenced as deserters and shot on 19th October 1944 in Münsingen, Germany, at a military training ground.

Those plates are the inevitable consequence of those events, which turned this space into a place of spontaneous Memory for the citizens.

To carry out this project, the Comitato Onoranze Caduti per la Libertà, a committee that gathered the main associations of the Resistance and chaired by the mayor of the Liberation Antonio Greppi, together with the Comune di Milano, appointed Marcella Chiorri Principato secretary of the Committee, with the support of all the associations of fallen soldiers and Nelda Fontana, wife of Mr Ciro Fontana, private secretary of the Mayor. Her duty was the very first attempt to fill a list of all fallen soldiers, a project which presented huge obstacles.

The plates have been inaugurated on the 8th anniversary of the Liberation, the 25th April 1953 at 10am, with a ceremony which saw the participation of representatives from several partisan associations and of the family of the fallen. Ferruccio Parri and Antonio Greppi delivered a speech that day.
Massimo Castoldi