July 7, 2018
The centre of Italy’s fashion capital is the so-called Quadrilatero della Moda, replete with elegant showrooms and alluring window displays. Major national and international luxury brands have established their businesses here, including Armani, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Bulgari, Cartier, Valentino and Gianfranco Ferrè.
The district is bordered by four main thoroughfares – Via Monte Napoleone, Via Alessandro Manzoni, Via della Spiga and Corso Venezia, hence the term Quadrilatero. The area is centered on Via Monte Napoleone, counted among the most exclusive streets in the world along with New York’s Fifth Avenue and Paris’s Champs-Elysées. The street’s name dates back to 1804, during the time of Napoleon’s rule.
The area features prestigious palazzi that host important cultural organizations, such as the Bagatti Valsecchi museum, the Palazzo Morando, which hosts the city’s fashion museum, the Grand Hotel, the Church of San Francesco di Paola, the 18th century Palazzo Gallarati Scotti and the Palazzo Borromeo d’Adda.
The Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli is a historic city park located in the Porta Venezia district, north-east of the city center. Established in 1784, it is the oldest city park in Milan. The park includes the Ulrico Hoepli Planetarium, the Natural History Museum, the 17th Century Palazzo Dugnani as well as the Padiglione del Caffé. The park was renamed after the journalist Indro Montanelli who frequented the park regularly and was shot by the terrorist group Brigate Rosse in 1977.
In the second half of the 18th century, the area of the public gardens was owned by the Dugnani family and consisted mostly of cultivated agricultural land as well as two former monasteries, San Dionigi and Carcanine. In 1780, the viceroy of Milan commissioned the renewal of the area and the establishment of a city park, with a design largely influenced by French formal gardens and featuring geometric flower beds and large tree-lined pathways. In middle of the 19th century, the west side of the gardens were enlarged based on the English landscape park model.
Named after the Neoclassic gate dating to the early 19th century, Porta Nuova is now one of the primary high-tech and international business districts of the country, also containing the country’s tallest skyscraper, the Torre Unicredit. Some 4% of institutions and conglomerates found in Italy are based in Porta Nuova, worth some €400 billion in 2017 terms. The futuristic profile of Porta Nuova has been achieved thanks to internationally renowned architectural firms, who have revitalized the area by means of innovative architecture and design and inclusion of pedestrian areas, cycling tracks and green spaces.
Piazza Gae Aulenti lies in the heart of the Porta Nuova district on a large raised square erected next to the Garibaldi railway station, dedicated to architect and designer Gae Aulenti, and crowned by three glass skyscrapers designed by César Pelli, including the Unicredit tower, the tallest building in Italy.
A walkway connects the piazza to the trendy Corso Como, piazza XXV Aprile (home to the Eataly building, a haven of high-quality cuisine) as well as the Garibaldi district, renowned for its nightlife. Towards the north, a pedestrian boulevard and a cycling track connect Piazza Gae Aulenti to the Isola district, a new, up-and-coming cultural hub, dotted with small restaurants and venues. Towards the east lie the brand new Business Centre and the residential towers of the Varesine district.
Milano Centrale is the main railway station of the city of Milan, Italy and the largest train station in Europe by volume. The area of the station is also a hub of the city, and contains increasingly trendy neighborhoods that are home to a large international population.
The first Milano Centrale station opened in 1864 in the area now occupied by the Piazza della Repubblica, in a Parisian architectural style. This station remained in operation until 30 June 1931, when the current station was opened, designed in a eclectic style called “Assyrian-Lombard.”
Continuing with the subject of the history of the city of Milan: by the 11th century, a communal will developed for independence from the governing feudal powers of the time, which degenerated into strife between the city states to curtail their respective powers. The Milanese embarked on war with Lodi, Pavia, Cremona and Como, resulting in the city being attacked and vanquished by the troops of the German emperor Frederick I Barbarossa in the middle of the 12th century.
Milan became a duchy and returned to prosperity. When Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, died in the middle of the 15th century without a male heir, the Ambrosian Republic was established, named after the patron saint of the city. Milan was then conquered in 1450 by Francesco I Sforza, who in turn made Milan one of the leading cities of the Italian Renaissance.
The political ping-pong that affected much of Italy through its history did not end there. The French king claimed the Duchy of Milan for himself in 1500 with the justification that his grandmother was a member of the ruling Visconti family. The duchy of Milan was then promised to the French king François I following his victory over the Swiss at the Battle of Marignan, given that the Swiss were charged with defending Milan. However, when Habsburg Emperor Charles V defeated François I at the Battle of Pavia in 1525, all of northern Italy, including Milan, passed to Habsburg Spain.
(Narrative excerpted from Wikipedia, www.turismo.milano.it, www.italia.it and www.wheremilan.com)