In downtown Milan from Piazza Duomo take Corso Vittorio Emanuele you reach Piazza San Babila, has been long famed as a popular meeting point for the affluent Milanese. Most of the square’s architecture comes from the Fascist 1930s; previously, the square consisted only in a widening in front of the ancient Basilica San Babila and it was connected to Corso Venezia where in the Middle Ages the merchants coming from the ancient Carrobio di Porta Orientale would stop before going into the town. On May 7th 1931 the new plan was approved and the buildings at the corner between Via Bagutta and Corso Venezia were demolished.
The construction work on the west side of the square started in 1935. On the east side of the square nearby the church there were the so called “Case veneziane” (Venetian buildings), one of them in Gothic style and the second in Renassaince style, built in two different styles to underline the bitterness for the failure of the union between Milan and Italy.
They were demolished in 1938. A team of architects and engineers headed by Gio Ponti planned in 1948 the buildings that nowadays include Galleria San Babila and Piazza Umberto Giordano, while between 1954 and 1957 the building thatinclude Galleria Passerella between Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Corso Europa was completed on Luigi Mattioni’s plan. Piazza San Babila still has a politics potential and it is still known as “black trench” of the seventies Milanese neo-Fascism. The journalists of those days coined the derogatory neologism “sanbabilino” to name the Fascists who would hang out in Piazza San Babila. The big fountain in the middle of the square has been donated to the town by Fiera Milano in 1997.