The Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) is one of the symbols of Milan and one of the most important neoclassical monuments in the city.
Located in the district with the same name, the Arch is surrounded by elegant palaces and by Parco Sempione, the “green lung” of Milan, a place that we recommend to include in an ideal daily itinerary.
Built in 1807 by the architect Luigi Cagnola to celebrate the Napoleonic victories, the Arch is situated in the center of Piazza Sempione.
The construction was interrupted after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and completed by Francis I of Austria who dedicated this monument to peace. The Arco della Pace was built using the Baveno granite and Creola d’Ossola marble and is a landmark of Porta Sempione, one of the five oldest city gates.
Once arrived at the monument is interesting to discover its symbolic meaning.
On the top of the Arch stands a statuary group in bronze depicting the “Chariot of Peace” flanked by the four “Victorias on Horseback”, while the facade shows the embodiments of the rivers Po, Ticino, Adda and Tagliamento.
Above the Arch are inscribed the names of the fallen of World War II, at the sides of the Arch, above the columns, there are two plates with the names of the fallen of the Great War and at the center there is a large slab dedicated to Victor Emanuel II and is flanked by two bas-reliefs depicting two soldiers.
The Arco della Pace is a monument totally accessible to the public; you can admire it in all its majesty.
The first oddity concerns the horses that draw the Chariot of Peace located above the arch, their position, in fact, has been modified by the Hapsburgs.
To mock the French after the fall of Napoleon, the horses have been turned 180 degrees in order that the lower back was oriented towards France.
The second anecdote is about a famous novel by Ernest Hemingway, “A Moveable Feast”, that reports in which the belief that the Arch of Peace is aligned with the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile in Paris, but the conviction seems wrong and in fact there is no real alignment of the three monuments.
You can reach the Arch of Peace by metro line green (Line 2) or red (Line 1), get off at the Cadorna metro station, and then go for a walk through Parco Sempione. The sunny days are perfect for this brief route that matches the beauty of nature with the elegance of the architecture.
The square is wide and safe even for the children that here are free to run or move by bike or kick scooter. If you want to relax reading a book, you can sit on the steps around the square.
It’s nice to spend an evening in this area if you like going to restaurants and pubs. Especially in the spring and summer is always a trendy choice to have a drink or dine in the picturesque setting of the Arco della Pace: there are many places where to get an aperitif, a dinner or after-dinner.
Visit this district at different times of the day is a must, you will enjoy the uniqueness of this city.