Porta Sempione

Milan, Italy

Porta Sempione is a city gate of Milan. The gate is marked by a landmark triumphal arch called Arco della Pace ('Arch of Peace'), dating back to the 19th century, although its origins can be traced back to a gate of the Roman walls of Milan.

A gate that roughly corresponds to modern Porta Sempione was already part of Roman walls of Milan. At the time, the gate was meant to control an important road leading to what is now Castelseprio. Very little remains of the original Roman structure; some Roman tombstones that used to be placed by the outer side of the walls have been employed in the construction of later buildings such as the Basilica of Saint Simplician.

In the Middle Ages, part of the Roman walls in the Porta Sempione area were adapted as part of the new walls. The gate itself was moved north, in a place that is now occupied by the Sforza Castle. The Castle itself was completed in the 15th Century, under Duke Filippo Maria Visconti, and the gate itself became part of the Castle.

In 1807, under the Napoleonic rule, the Arch of Peace was built by architect Luigi Cagnola. This new gate marked the place where the new Strada del Sempione entered Milan. This road, which is still in use today, connects Milan to Paris through the Simplon Pass crossing the Alps. At the time, the gate was still called 'Porta Giovia'. When the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy fell and Milan was conquered by the Austrian Empire, the gate was not yet completed, and the construction was abandoned for a while.

The construction of the Arch was resumed, again by Cagnola, in 1826, for Emperor Francis II, who dedicated the monument to the 1815 Congress of Vienna. When Cagnola died in 1833, his project was taken over by Francesco Londonio and Francesco Peverelli, who brought it to completion in 1838.

The gate was the scene of several prominent events in the Milanese history of the 19th century. On 22 March 1848, the Austrian army led by marshal Josef Radetzky escaped from Milan through Porta Giovia after being defeated in the Five Days of Milan rebellion. On 8 June 1859, four days after the Battle of Magenta, Napoleon III and Victor Emmanuel II of Italy triumphally entered Milan through the gate.

Architecture

Porta Sempione is neoclassical triumphal arch, 25 m high and 24 m wide, decorated with a number of bas-reliefs, statues, and corinthian columns. Many of such decorations, especially bas-reliefs, are dedicated to major events in the history of Italy and Europe, such as the Battle of Leipzig, the foundation of the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, the Congress of Vienna. Other decorations have classical mythology subjects such as Mars, Ceres, Minerva, Apollo, and Victoria-Nike. There are also a group of statues that are allegories of major rivers in North Italy such as the Po, the Adigeand the Ticino. At the sides of the Arch of Peace there are two minor rectangular buildings that used to be the customs office.

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Address

Piazza Sempione 31, Milan, Italy
See all sites in Milan

Details

Founded: 1807-1838
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Italy

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Nir Joe (2 years ago)
Most definitely worth to have a coffee here. Close to all the main and shopping places, spots worth seeing and exploring. Highly recommended!
Elahe Almasi Nafouti (2 years ago)
One of the most beautiful monument of Milan. Please visit it by Tram1. The old and lovely tram that passes from the most important historical places of the city. I visited Arco della Paco at night and passed by tram in day light. It is really nice. It was quiet at night and I really enjoyed of the beauty of it.
Senna Sp (2 years ago)
Good place to take pictures. Try to capture a picture with the arch and the old tram (line 1) in one shot. It's a bit far from historic Milano. Go there by tram and walk through the park back to Castle Sforza back to centre.
Christopher Smith (3 years ago)
Whenever in Milano this is a must see. The attention to detail on the outside as well as the inside is done in true Italian amazement. You have to see in person to truly appreciate.
ESHWAR ARKUTRAM BALAJI GUPTA (3 years ago)
Wonderful place to sit, chill or even workout. Lots of places to have a quick snack. Wonderful place to pass a weekend well
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