The Arco della Pace in Milan, located near the Sempione Park, is a monument of immense beauty that also hides a definitely funny story.
Do you want to know it?
Well, the first arch was erected on the occasion of the marriage of Eugenio di Beauharnais, viceroy of Italy and Napoleon’s adopted son, and Augusta of Bavaria.
It was located in Corso Venezia, made of wood and designed by the architect Luigi Cagnola. This arch had a great success so it was decided to erect one in a more suitable place, where now the Arch of Peace is.
The construction of the Arco della Pace had many “owners”. Actually it had to celebrate the victory of the battle of Jena against Prussia in 1806 . But Italy then became an Austrian domain and despite the works continued, the dedication of the arch changed.
The arch was inaugurated in 1838 in the presence of Emperor Fernardo I and was dedicated to the peace achieved with the Vienna Congress in 1815.
What’s the funny part of the story?
Well, on the arch there is a chariot of six bronze horses pulling the peace cart. The Habsburgs, to make fun of the French, decided to change the position of the horses in such a way that their back were turned towards France! A very revealing way to express their fervent admiration! For those who were wondering, now you know where France is! 🙂
Finally, the Arco della Pace returned to the hands of Milan. On June 8, 1859, after the victory of Magenta, Napoleon III and Vittorio Emanuele II triumphantly entered through the arch, which became the symbol of Milan’s independence.
It is certainly one of the most interesting neoclassical monuments of Milan. The chariot with six bronze horses is called Sestiga della Pace (by Abbondio Sangiorgio) and the four Vittorie on horseback are by Giovanni Putti. In the upper corners there are the depictions of the four Lombard-Veneto rivers: Po, Ticino, Adige and Tagliamento in the form of statues by Benedetto Cacciatori and Pompeo Marchesi. 🙂
Have you ever been there? If so, tell us about your trip! Leave a comment below! Thank you! 😉