The Beauty of Piazza del Duomo
As an unwritten rule, every tourist who comes to Milan inevitably visits the impressive Duomo di Milano. However, the square where this cathedral is located features other popular tourist attractions as well. While at Piazza del Duomo, be sure to visit the Novecento art museum, or literally translated, Museum of twentieth century, where numerous pieces of art from this period are exhibited. Or, if you are not a fan of contemporary art, you can always go shopping in the best fashion stores at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
via flickr by Bert Kaufmann licensed CC BY-SA 2.0
The Arengario Palace, in which the Novecento museum is housed, used to be the seat of the fascists during WWII. As a museum, it opened four years ago, in 2010 and it houses a large collection of Italian art by many artists, some of which are Amedeo Modigliani and Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, whose well-known The Fourth Estate is displayed on the ground floor where access if free for everyone. Other prominent artists include Piero Manzoni, Umberto Boccioni and Carlo Carrà.
Apart from Italian paintings, the museum features international works of art from various periods. Some of Pablo Picasso’s and Henri Matisse’s paintings can be seen here as well. This place is perfect for art lovers, even though the collection of works is not as extensive as that in the Brera art gallery. Inside the building there is a bookshop as well as a bar on the top floor, with a view of the entire square.
Luxury Fashion Brands
However, the shopaholics can enjoy at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s oldest shopping mall located on Piazza del Duomo. This beautiful construction was built in the second half of the 19th century in a double arcade, with a glass dome roof, while the floor is decorated with mosaics representing the three Capitals in the Kingdom of Italy.
A number of luxury fashion brands such as Prada, Versace, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, and Valentino can be found here, as well as some classic restaurants and cafes like the Savini Restaurant and the Biffi Caffe that has existed since1867, making it almost as old as the mall itself. There are a few exclusive jewelry stores as well. Just beware, the food in these elegant restaurants and bars is quite pricey, just like everything else here.
Still, the galleria is one of the most impressive sites in Milan and apart from being exceptionally beautiful, this 19th century building connects Piazza del Duomo with that of La Scala and because of its architecture, luxury shops and restaurants is visited by thousands on a daily basis.
Monument of King Vittorio Emanuele II – Piazza del Duomo
Just outside this shopping mall is the monument of King Vittorio Emanuele II, and facing the galleria is the Royal Palace of Milan (Palazzo Reale), a venue where numerous exhibitions are organized in cooperation with galleries from all around the world. It works until late in the evening, so you’ll have enough time to squeeze it in your schedule.