The sprawling expanse of the Piazza del Duomo forms the heart of the city of Milan, both geographically and in terms of its cultural significance. While the site has always been an important reference point for town planners, the origins of this public square can be traced back to the 14th Century. It was Azzone Visconti who demanded the removal of the taverns that surrounded the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Basilica of Santa Tecla, thus creating one of Italy's most iconic squares. Although both churches were eventually demolished to make way for the ambitiously designed Duomo, their foundations are still visible to this day. Today, the vast open space is crowned by the Duomo on one side and the Royal Palace on the other. Alongside them are sweeping arcades designed by Giuseppe Mengoni. A space surrounded by some of Italy's most recognizable structures, the Piazza del Duomo has rightly been termed as the focal point of Milan.