The Royal Palace of Milan was the seat of government of the Italian city of Milan for many centuries, a former royal palace with large halls, refined furnishings and sweeping staircase; today has become a significant exhibition venue and cultural center. Originally designed with a structure of two courtyards, the palace was then partially demolished to make room for the Duomo. The building is located to the right of the facade of the cathedral opposite the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The magnificent Hall of Caryatids can be found on the main floor of the building. It fills the site of the old theatre, which burned down in 1776 and is the only room that survived the massive bombings of 1943. Many of the neoclassical interiors of the Palace were lost. Palazzo Reale has ancient origins and its history is entwined with that of this city and of the families who ruled it; a reflection of the several powers that alternated in the city government and which shaped the appearance of the edifice over the centuries, until it became the prestigious location for major art exhibitions in Milan that we know today.