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The seat of government in the city was originally the Royal Palace of Milan, where the municipal institutions were located. It became a noble residence during the rule of the Torriane and Visconti families, who gave it its shape that can in part still be seen, based on a system of two courtyards. Partially demolished to make way for the Cathedral nave, the building was refurbished after 1452 by Francesco Sforza. Used as the seat of power by the Spanish rulers, it underwent substantial modifications until the late 18th Century, in particular, the extensive work by Giuseppe Piermarini. Alongside the volumes of the Palazzo there is the Arengario, seat of the Palazzo del Turismo, with its two pavilions designed in 1939 (and completed in 1956) by the architects Enrico Agostino Griffini, Pier Giulio Magistretti, Giovanni Muzio and Piero Portaluppi. A feature of interest - on the first floor of the Palazzo, there is the famous 'Sala delle Cariatidi', in the location of the ancient theater destroyed by fire in 1776. This hall is now undergoing restoration.
Construction of the "Galleria", a typically 19th-century public building that is now one of the oldest shopping malls in the city, began in 1865 following a series of competitions for the design won by Giuseppe Mengoni. Large plaster eagles support its dome, 47-meter high and made of iron and glass. Note the designs on the interiors and the Neo-Renaissance-style stucco work and graffiti. The floor of the building was completely restored in 1966 in a rare mosaic showing the emblems of Italian cities.
Situated over Milan Cathedral, Madonnina is a statue of Mother Mary. This statue is believed to be the highest point of Milan, as in no other man-made structure measured above this statue. This statue dates back to 18th Century when it was first erected and measures 356 feet (108.5 meters). This statue has been a subject to the popular folk song of Milan and is a famous tourist attraction.
Watched over by the Madonnina, the cathedral's high marble spires represent the city's most famous artistic and religious monument. The dimensions of Christendom's third-biggest church are still awe-inspiring, spanning 108 meters (354.3 feet) high and 158 meters (518.3 feet) long. A range of architectural styles feature the doorways of the 17th Century, the central balcony from the late 18th Century and the three main upper windows which are early 19th Century pieces by Carlo Amati. The Gothic cathedral's vast interior is grand with its impressive pillars, vaults, streamlined arches and wonderful statuary surrounding the nave. Light filters in through a crevice in the wall, positioning itself on the sundial that frames its main entrance. Gleaming statues carved out of Condoglian marble are perched atop its spires. Whether one is seeking religious fulfillment or is simply sightseeing, the Duomo leaves one spellbound.