Paris has the Arc de Triomphe, New York has the Washington Square Arch and Milan has the Arco della Pace, or Arch of Peace. I run past this beautiful triumphal arch near Parco Sempione practically everyday when I run and it’s funny. Every time I’m with someone who doesn’t know Milan (running or not), I always get asked about the Arco della Pace. So, I thought I’d share.
Arco della Pace stands in Piazza Sempione where a former Roman gate, Porta Sempione once stood, and is flanked on each side by former toll booths. Corso Sempione was once the route that connected Milan to Paris, and still does so today! (It’s just much easier to reach by train.) The arch was commissioned in 1807 by Napoleon to celebrate his victories in Italy, however it wasn’t complete until 1838 (Austrian rule). Architect Luigi Cagnola started the project and saw most of it through until his death in 1826; architects Francesco Londonio and Francesco Peverelli, finished the job.
Corso Sempione, just near the arch, is lined with overpriced cafes and restauranst that are more about quantity over quality Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve met an occasional friend here for a drink or coffee out of convenience, but it’s more about the scene than stellar comestibles here. I’m not gonna lie. I have harshly judged many a gentleman caller who has suggested an aperitivo in this area in an effort to woo me.