17 January Jan 2017 1244 one year ago

Another face of Piazza Duomo

The "Carousel" that surrounded the Cathedral

In the decades between the 19th and 20th centuries Piazza Duomo was a true hub of Milan's public transportation system, so much so that 15 of the 18 tram lines terminated in the Cathedral's spacious piazza before following a radial pathway towards the various city gates. This intricate system of tracks began to be referred to as the Carousel, similar as it was to a constantly moving ride, covering the piazza and encircling the Duomo and the statue of Vittorio Emanuele II (inaugurated during the same period).

The first tram to terminate in Piazza Duomo was inaugurated in 1881 and was animal drawn; from that moment on the number of trams increased considerably up until 1926 when the entire system was definitively dismantled.

The decision to uproot the Carousel, in an effort to enhance and protect the Cathedral's piazza, was fully supported by both the press and the city authorities who saw it as an opportunity to restore the piazza to its monumental splendour. The residents of Milan, however, were not as enthusiastic, given that the radical dismantling of this portion of the tram network, without substantial modifications to the rest of it, caused considerable inconvenience to citizens and commuters.

This photograph, preserved in the photo library of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo's Archives, is on display as part of the exhibit "The Duomo Tells Its Story: a century of life around the Duomo”.