Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bull -- but no bull -- in Milan...Where?Wednesday

The Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II in Milan is an amazing building. Mix a bit of neo-classicism with a lot of ornamentation and a (for the time) modern steel-and glass roof, and you get this big cross-shaped "mall" in the shopping capital of Italy.

There's a lot of mysticism surrounding this building. The architect and builder, Giuseppe Mangoni, died from an "accidental" fall from the roof just 2 days before the galleria opened. It's said that it was actually suicide, a result of harsh criticism of the building.

And then there's the mosaics in the floor. In the center of the building are four mosaics representing the cities of Milan, Rome, Florence and Turin. The symbol of Turin (Torino), the bull, has a curious cone-shaped indentation where it's -- uh -- "manly bits" should be.

Why, you ask? Legend has it that if you spin on the bull's testicles you will receive good luck.

Evidently this refers back to a bull in the city of Turin/Torino itself. Why, you ask again? Well, this one I'm not so sure of. I found a lot of references, but no real reason why. And there seems to be some confusion over how many times you must spin, what direction you should spin, and on which foot you should spin.

Nonetheless it's fun to watch. Kids love it, tourist go nuts taking pictures, and locals do it quickly and without much fuss.


Lezard said...

RIch, bull testicles are known to be I guess it inspired so.....!

Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

"and locals do it quickly and without much fuss"

Me, superstitious? Nah... :D

Beautiful photos, as always, Rich.

Ineke said...

to make a hole like that you have to wear high heels.
Confirms my suspections of the italian man :)

Neva said...

Who knew such things? This is a far cry from the Detroit Renaissance isn't it? Loved the story!

Patrizia said...

I come from near Milano ... I confirm everything! When I was a university student and happened to pass by the Galleria before an exam, I'd always take a visit to the bull ... never know!