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Piazza del Duomo, Milan

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The gigantic central square in front of Milan cathedral has always been a reference point for Milan's town planners. It was a meeting point for important roads before and during the Roman period. In the 4th century, it was a religious centre with the construction of the Basilica of Santa Tecla, and the Baptistry of San Giovanni alle Fonti (both demolished in the mid-14th century and their foundations can be seen below the space in front of the cathedral). Since 1386, the cathedral has been the religious and cultural centre of the city. Symmetrical porticoes line the longer sides (with the Arengario pavilions built in 1939 and the Royal Palace on the south side and Galleria on the north side). In the centre stands the equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II by Ercole Rosa (1878) which was covered until a few years ago by flashing advertising signs.