This magnificent square is said to be the minor of Milan and the Milanese. In fact its citizens pour in and out of it at every hour of the day; whether it is ablaze with sun-light or full of snow, they pass in a hurry and seem almost unaware of its beauty, its gleaming space, its imposing, white cathedral.
This is not true however, since the speed at which a Milanese thinks is the same as his rhythm of work and when he passes by he only needs a glance at it to be comforted and excited, and have his heart fill with pride before disappearing into the darkness of the subway or being swallowed up in the traffic. The vast rectangular plaza as it appears today, was designed in 1865 by the architect Giuseppe Mengoni.
In the center stands the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II which is by Ercole Rosa (1896). This equestrian statue in bronze represents the King at the battle of San Martino, while the base shows the Entry of the Piedmontese and French troops into Milan after the Battle of Magenta (1859). The immense bulk of the cathedral forms a background to the square and is flanked on the left, by the Palazzo Settentrionale (the Northern Palace) with porticos which open into the Victor Emmanuel Arcade (Galleria Vit-torio Emanuele) and to the right, by the Palazzo Meridionale (the Southern Palace) also with porticos, after which there are two buildings with loggias; at the other end, the square is completed by the Palazzo del-l’Orologio (the Palace of the Clock). The two main subway lines, called the red and the yellow line, intersect at the station beneath this square.