Taking a spin on the bull is a tradition in Milan. In the center of the city, just a few yards from the massive Duomo, stands the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Europe's first indoor shopping mall, built in the late 19th century, the Galleria is shaped like a giant '+' sign. Near the intersection of the four arms are tile mosaics representing Italy's most prominent cities: Rome (she-wolf), Florence (lily), Turin (bull), and, of course, Milan (cross on a shield).
Over time a story has developed that it's good luck to step with your heel on the bull's, ummm...delicate region...and spin around. Nobody seems quite sure of the origin of the story, but everybody does it. Lots and lots of tourists, but even locals striding through the Galleria will step on the bull and give a little grind as they pass by. So many people do this on a daily basis that they have worn a hole straight through the tile and into the cement underneath. The hole is frequently repaired, and the tiles replaced, but I have seen it get down to more than two or three inches deep.
Above, one of my small group tours gives it a go in about 2005.
Archaeologists working on digs related to a 'Milan Archaeology' route envisioned for the Milan Expo 2015 have unearthed parts of Mediolanum, the city that served as the capital of the Roman Empire from 292 AD until early in the 5th century. The forum of the city was located under the basement level of what is now the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana and the Biblioteca Ambrosiana.
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