Parco Sempione

sights / Parks & gardens

Parco Sempione information

Milan , Italy
Getting there
Metro: Cadorna, Lanza
Opening hours
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Situated behind Castello Sforzesco, Parco Sempione was once the preserve of hunting Sforza dukes. Then Napoleon came to town and set about landscaping. First the French carved out orchards; next they mooted the idea in 1891 for a vast public park. It was a resounding success and even today Milanese of all ages come to enjoy its winding paths and ornamental ponds. Giò Ponti's 1933 steel tower (built for a Triennale exhibition) provides a fantastic 108m-high viewing platform over the park.

Also in the park is the Arena Civica , Napoleon's mini-colosseum, which he opened in typically flamboyant style in 1807. Built by Luigi Canonica, its ingenious engineering allowed it to be flooded with water from nearby canals to stage mock sea battles. Now it hosts football and rugby matches, and large summer concerts.