Little Italy in Moscow

Moscow is a fantastic blend of history, nations, languages and cultures. And Italy definitely made its contribution. Starting from architects that flooded the Russian capital centuries ago, Moscow’s love affair with Italy is stronger than you can imagine, from pizzerias to Italian wine shops, from cathedrals to shopping centers. We will take you around the city revealing the best Italian spots.

Italian places in Moscow

Our guests in front of Bolshoi Theatre

Triumphal Arch

Since the date of its construction in 1814 so-called has been rebuilt and transferred from place to place several times. Today it can be found in Victory Square welcoming cars that enter the capital. Although the principal architect of this object Joseph Bové was born in St. Petersburg, basic skills he picked up from his father – Neapolitan artist Vincenzo Bova. Therefore you may see that the Triumphal arch is rich in the Italian motifs.

Menshikov Tower (the Church of Archangel Gabriel)

The church of Archangel Gabriel appeared in Moscow at the beginning of the 18th century. A whole group of Italian masters led by Domenico Trezzini, the founder of the European school in the Russian architecture, worked under this object.

The only thing that survived after the fire in 1723 was the icon of the Archangel Gabriel, but it disappeared without a trace after a few years. The tower was restored only by the end of the 18th century.

Sklifosovsky Research Institute (Sheremetev Hospital)

The final work of Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi in Moscow decorates the capital since 1803. The idea of the hospital came up to Earl Sheremetev after the death of his wife. Construction was so extensive that Sheremetev did not reach the day of its conclusion.

Nowadays in this building is located the Sklifosovsky Research Institute.

Bolshoi Theatre

One of the greatest and most significant in the world. Throughout its existence since 1776, the Bolshoi Theatre has endured three fires and one bombing. Thus after the fire in 1805 the project of restoration was directed by Karl Rossi, the famous Russian architect with Italian roots.

In 1816, Moscow authorities announced a competition for construction of a new building while preserving the historic walls. As a result, the project was entrusted to Joseph Bové. He kept the base composition, but reduced the height of the building and made significant changes in redecoration.

Lefortovo Palace

In Petrine Russia it was a common thing to give generous gifts. The proof of that – Lefortovo Palace, which Peter I gave to his associate Franz Lefort. The construction of the palace was led by Russian architect Dmitry Aksamitov who created the most beautiful residence in Moscow, relying on the traditions of Italian architecture. However Lefort did not enjoy much life in this mansion: in just a few years he died of alcoholism, and Peter I has regifted the palace to Alexander Menshikov.

The Princely House of Gagarin

The building was initially considered to be authored by Joseph Bové, and only in 1975 it was found out that the real architect of the main Gagarin house was Italian Domenico Gilardi. Prince Gagarin himself purchased ownership and started construction here at the beginning of the 19th century. The palace turned out to be surprisingly large. The Institute of World Literature has been located here since 1937. 

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary

Noticeable part of Italy can be found on Malaya Gruzinskaya street. In the end of the 19th century Catholic churches of Moscow couldn’t accommodate all the city’s Catholics, hence this stunning cathedral was built in 12 years and until now remains the largest in Russia. Its architect Tomasz Bohdanowicz-Dworzecki was inspired by Milan Cathedral and St. Peter’s Church in Westminster.

Moscow University on Mokhovaya str.

The historic site of Moscow University is perfectly visible from Manezhnaya Square. The building designed by Matvei Kazakov was constructed in the end of the 18th century and rebuilt by Domenico Giliardi after the fire in 1812. He managed to maintain the old structure of the building yet made some small changes.

Widows’ House

This bright yellow building used to be Apraksin’s summer residence. In 1811 it was planned to be given to widows of the soldiers killed on the battlefield. But with the begin of Patriotic War a hospital was arranged there, and later it was burned almost to ashes by French soldiers. Its restoration in 1813 was headed by Ivan Gilardi and his son Domenico in 1818. Today it’s the building of Moscow Medical University.

Manor Usachev-Naydenov

Usachyov-Naydyonov’ estate is considered to be the latest work of Domenico Gilardi in Moscow. At the moment a scientific practical center of sports medicine is situated here, although in the first half of the 19th century this place wasn’t associated with anything, except tea. The estate was built by two tea dealers – Usachyov brothers. What does it have to do with Naydyonov? That’s very simple, it is a surname of the last owners of the complex.

Gostiny Dvor

One of the first shopping centers in Moscow dates back six centuries of its history. 760 merchants were accommodated in Gostiny dvor at the same time in the 15th century: they bought a necessary piece of land and built a store with their own hands. Soon that unwatched construction led to the risk of destruction of the building. It was restored by Giacomo Quarenghi at the end of the 18th century and nowadays Gostiny dvor is ranked among the greatest projects of the Italian architect.

Eliseevsky store

One of the best-known grocery stores of Moscow is located at Tverskaya Street,14. Designed by Matvei Kazakov, the building has embodied all the perfection and harmony of the Italian classicism. Eliseev purchased the mansion in 1898. Here he arranged three trading floors and his own production. Lots of people were attracted by exotic food, drinks and rare royal interiors. The mansion belonged to Eliseev till 1917.


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