The painting was shown at the 1912 Esposizione Nazionale di Brera and on that occasion was awarded the Gold Medal of the Ministry of Education. The critics immediately recognised that the work presented a poetical and nostalgic image of a world that was disappearing as a result of the social, cultural and urban transformations that radically changed the face of Milan between the 19th and 20th centuries. The artist gives a detailed picture of Vicolo di San Bernardino and the minor episode of the hesitant elderly woman heading towards the second-hand shop with a picture under her arm. Everything contributes here to giving the impression of a snapshot that captures a scene from everyday life in a street that is destined shortly to change beyond recognition. The lonely road with its typical shops is rendered with a use of colour and light similar to a true-to-life photograph. Yet the scene is imbued with a feeling of loneliness and regret for the old town with its characteristic sights and its inhabitants that was being taken over by the modern metropolis. The artist specialised in views if Milan that were often reproduced in different versions and follow the Lombard tradition of the urban view combined with genre painting. Due to his conservatism Ferrari was described as a “traditionalist” by the critics, a label he readily accepted, and which explains why his works were so popular with the public and more conservative critics.