This palace, formerly belonging to the Order of the Humiliati, was purchased by Paolo Bigli, chancellor and ducal ambassador, in 1498. The Bigli family owned it until the death of the last descendant of the dynasty, Vitaliano Bigli, in 1826.
The first restoration of the façade by Pietro Guida Bombarda dates back to 1619. It was then followed by a more significant renovation of the entire building under the supervision of the architect Girolamo Quadrio (approximately 1623 – 1679), who reconstructed the arcade in the courtyard and curated the fresco decorations of the halls of the main floor.
We owe the project of the monumental staircase – two parapeted flights of stairs with balustrades, preceded by a vestibule with four Doric columns and a barrel vault, unfortunately destroyed afterwards – to Luigi Vanvitelli (1707 – 1773), even if the execution was directed by his apprentice Giuseppe Piermarini (1704 – 1808).
The palace became one of the most important centres of 19th-century Milanese high society when it was sold to the Russian Countess Giulia Samoyloff, who was born in Moscow in 1803 and died in Paris in 1875.
As she belonged to the Pahlen aristocratic family and was the niece of the count Skavronski, she was a descendant of Caterina I of Russia, the first wife of Peter the Great. Giulia Samoyloff first came to Milan on January 30th, 1828, at the ball of the Magyar Count Giuseppe Batthiany at his Porta Renza palace.
She became the undisputed protagonist of the Milanese jet-set for the memorable parties she hosted at her palace. In particular, the accounts recount a masked ball that included roughly one thousand persons on May 9th, 1832; the garden itself