Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Milan, Italy

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is Italy's oldest active shopping mall and a major landmark of Milan. Housed within a four-story double arcade in the center of town, the Galleria is named after Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. It was designed in 1861 and built by architect Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877.

The structure consists of two glass-vaulted arcades intersecting in an octagon covering the street connecting Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Scala. The street is covered by an arching glass and cast iron roof, a popular design for 19th-century arcades.

The central octagonal space is topped with a glass dome. The Milanese Galleria was larger in scale than its predecessors and was an important step in the evolution of the modern glazed and enclosed shopping mall, of which it was the direct progenitor. It has inspired the use of the term galleria for many other shopping arcades and malls.

On the ground of the central octagonal, there are four mosaics portraying the coat of arms of the three capitals of the Kingdom of Italy (Turin, Florence and Rome) plus Milan's. Tradition says that if a person spins around three times with a heel on the testicles of the bull from Turin coat of arms this will bring good luck. This practice causes damage to the mosaic: a hole developed on the place of the bull's genitals.

The arcade principally contains luxury retailers selling haute couture, jewelry, books and paintings, as well as restaurants, cafés, bars, and a hotel, the Town House Galleria. The Galleria is famous for being home to some of the oldest shops and restaurants in Milan, such as Biffi Caffè (founded in 1867 by Paolo Biffi, pastry chef to the monarch), the Savini restaurant and the Art Nouveau classic Camparino.

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Founded: 1865-1877
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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

AC (14 months ago)
Wow feeling as soon you enter this place. Beautiful and full of high end clothing brands under one roof. Marvelous architecture and look of this gallery. Really love the atmosphere of this place. Must visit place even window shopping is a breath taking experience.
Panayiotis Georgiou (15 months ago)
Breath taking !! Amazing architecture. Steeped in history. Beautiful, stunning!!! We went twice just in case we forgot how amazing it was the first time. Lots of lovely shops too. It is amazing that this mall was built such a long time ago and rebuilt after it was bombed in WWII. There are so many great shops and places to eat here. If the weather is not good outside, you could spend an entire day here, nice and warm and dry. This is another must see in Milan.
Chintan Raichura (15 months ago)
Good vibes. Luxurious place. Nothing much. Place outside this galleria is radiant and it gets better with sunset. Good and only place to hangout late night and enjoy some great performances by local artists and showmen.
Mehar Singh (16 months ago)
Beautiful building full of high end shops. Even great experience for window shoppers. Plenty of restaurants nearby. Step outside and you're facing the gigantic cathedral. Lots of movies are made in this area. If you haven't been here, worth visiting. Must try local street food too, especially in side streets.
Martin Tsanev (16 months ago)
It is the most stylish shopping centre I have ever seen! Just an unique atmosphere. The structure is masterpiece indeed. There is an option to go to the roof and see the nice view from there. You can find here all the top famous Italian fashion brands and amazing restaurants. I do recommend you to visit it if you are in Milan even for a day.
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Construction of Assumption Cathedral began in 1699 and lasted almost 12 years. The bell tower was erected in 1710. The exterior of the Cathedral was decorated with molded brick and carved with white stone. Windows and dome heads were framed by columns in the style of Corinthian décor and semicircular arches were filled with paintings with biblical plot. Three of such arches were arranged on each side of the temple.

The cathedral was divided into two floors: the upper church is dedicated to the honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Tall and light temple was intended for ceremonial worships during warm months. The lower church which is dark lightened and surrounded by the gallery columns.