Piazza del Duomo ("Cathedral Square") is the main square of Milan, dominated for the presence of Milan Cathedral (the Duomo). The piazza marks the center of the city, both in a geographic sense and because of its importance from an artistic, cultural, and social point of view. The piazza, originally created in the 14th century, includes some of the most important buildings of the city such as the Royal Palace, the Arengario and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II arcade.
Parco Sempione is a large city park in Milan, Italy. Established in 1888, it is located in the historic centre of the city. It owes its name to Corso Sempione, a major Milan avenue, dating back to the Napoleonic Empire. The park is adjacent to the gardens of the Sforza Castle and to the Arch of Peace, two of the prominent landmarks of Milan. The design of the park was conceived with the intent of creating panoramic views encompassing both monuments. A third prominent monument of Parco Sempione is the Palazzo dell'Arte ("Palace of Art") which currently houses the Triennale di Milano art expo.
The Galleria is the corridor between Piazza Duomo and La Scala Theatre, a place of transit for busy managers or a stop for enchanted tourists. As soon as it was finished, the Galleria became immediately famous for its large size, extraordinary for the time and sign of a new era. Entering the Galleria its magnificent arch welcomes you and hints at the Milanese spectacle that lies within. The original idea of the designers was to create a porticoed street that would function as a showcase and offer somewhere to take a pleasant stroll, enjoy an aperitif or have dinner after the opera. Nowadays is considered one of the sites of Milanese luxury shopping.
Over the centuries, the castle has been a defence fortress, a residence, military barracks and the site of museums and cultural institutions; the transformations of one of the most representative and popular monuments of Milan have been various and complex. The events of the castle unfold in the city's wide window of history, beginning with the original nucleus of the castle, named Porta Giovia, that dated back to 1358-1368 in the times of Galeazzo II Visconti. Filippo Maria Visconti made it his fixed residence, continuing with the consolidation and construction of a real fortalice. It was Francesco Sforza who, after becoming ruler of Milan in 1450, gave particular impetus to the reconstruction of the building that was gravely damaged between 1447 and 1450. Today the castle is home to the Civic Museums and since 1896 it has hosted one of the vastest artistic collections in the city.
Arco della Pace provides the backdrop for life in the surrounding district. The monument is one of the most interesting episodes of Neoclassical architecture in the city. Its construction began in 1807 when the city was under Napoleonic rule. It is located at the centre of the large square, Piazza Sempione. Building went on after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, and it was completed by Francis I of Austria who dedicated it to Peace.
The impressive Triennale was founded in the early 1930's, inheriting the ambitious character of the Great Exhibition and, in over seventy years, has become a prominent location for contemporary design and culture. A well-constructed and multiform space dedicated to art and research together with artisan skills and industrial production; a venue where exhibitions, conventions, debates and architectural design, figurative art, communication and fashion events take place all year round. The Triennale di Milano is a dynamic creative space in continuous transformation; a permanent channel of communication and dialogue for the development of both planned and creative thought.
The Teatro alla Scala was built as a replacement of the old Teatro Ducale in 1776 by order of the empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and was inaugurated in 1778 with Antonio Salieri's "Europa Riconosciuta". It owes its name to the place where it was built, by the neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini: the site of the church of Santa Maria alla Scala. With this musical offering, thanks to the rebuilding and modernization of the scenic machinery undertaken between 2001 and 2004, La Scala is on a level with the greatest theatres of Europe and the world, carrying out the idea of a quality theatre that aims at a synthesis between the theatre of "seasons" and that of "repertory.
The Loggia dei Mercanti is the portico beneath the Palazzo della Ragione: it has seven bays on the main sides and two bays on the lesser sides, all opened with round or acute (on the far sides) arches. The vaults date back to 1771-1773, years during which the wooden ceiling was replaced. A decorative ornament on the façade facing Piazza dei Mercanti is an arch-shaped niche containing the high-relief of Oldrado da Tresseno on horseback by the sculptor Benedetto Antelami: the epigraph invites us to pay homage to the merits of the mayor of Milan "who built the palazzo and burned the Cathars as was his duty".
Leonardo's Last Supper (L'Ultima Cena), famous all over the world, is inside the Refectory at the Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in Milan. It was commissioned from the artist by Ludovico Sforza, also known as "il Moro". The sensitivity that can be seen in the painting is remarkable. The artist used the technique generally employed for paintings on wooden panels, instead of using the fresco technique. This caused the painting to deteriorate rapidly and prematurely. Over the centuries, there have been many attempts to restore the Last Supper. The most recent operation went on for 22 years (1978 to 1999). It succeeded in revealing the original colours and many details that had previously been obscured.