The building looks like a cathedral, but what lies behind the massive construction is in fact a nineteenth-century temple of consumption. "Among the glassed-in passages of Europe this one is by far the most beautiful and magnificent," claimed Baedeker's travel guide (1870) of the shopping mile in Milan, which had opened in 1867. Giorgio Sommer shows the magnificent structure with its decorated arcades in a single view. He has deliberately chosen a moment without the usual hectic bustle of the department store. Only the silhouettes of two men create a sense of scale and make clear the vastness of the architecture.