The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele dominates Piazza del Duomo with its weighty bulk and great triumphal archway cut into the long northern arcade.
Built between 1865 and 1877, it was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni who died just before the building was completed.
The cross-shaped structure is surmounted by an extraordinary colored glass and iron dome. The modern technical skill and originality of the Milan Galleria have nothing to fear from a comparison with similar structures put up in London and Paris about the same time.
Today this glassed-in street is a center for both cultural and mundane activities with its book and record shops, cafes and famous restaurants. For those who might be interesting about, "Prada" has opened a new shop in the central position of the Galleria.
Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele is a large "shopping mall" just off Piazza Duomo. It links this Piazza to Piazza della Scala, where you will find the famous opera house. Inside the Galleria there are restaurants, cafes, shops and offices (plus a million people). There is great people watching here, but the shopping and dining is less than stellar. Construction of the Galleria was completed in 1877.
The Galleria d'Academia is just as spectacular as a stroll down the Champs Elyeses in Paris--if not, more so.
There are many ritzy stores and the famous Biffi restaraunt. I don't think the prices at the restarants here are too expensive considering the spectacular surroundings and the chance to see "the beautiful people" walking around in their 500 euro outfits and 100 euro cologne. If you are on a budget don't worry--this place also has a McDonalds.
There is a bear on the mosaic whose genitals tourists often put there foot on and spin around. You can find the bear in front of the Prada store.
This ornate shopping arcade, known locally as il Salotto di Milano (Milan's drawing room), was designed by the architect Giuseppe Mengoni in 1865. The galleria had a tragic start to it's life as Mengoni fell to his death from the scaffolding not long before it's inauguartion in 1877. The galleria's finest feature is the glass roof crowned with a magnificent central dome. The roof was the first structure in Italy to use metal and glass in a structural way. The galleria houses many stylish fashion shops along with cafes and restaurants, which include Il Salotto, said to serve the finest coffee in all Milan.
The Galleria is filled with high-end designer shops (and a McDonalds!). In the centre is a mosaic on the floor of a bull. It's local custom to stomp on the bull's...well, private area...for good luck. In fact, the mosaic gets restored every few years because of the damage.
The Galleria was build beetween 1865 and 1877 by architect Giuseppe Mengoni. The style is Neo-Classical, approaching Baroque. It was inaugurated by the Savoy king, Vittorio Emanuele II, after whom it was named. Unfortunately, it was never completed, because the designer died ten years later, falling from the scaffolding
When in Milan at the Vittorio-Emanuele, do what the tourists do.
On the floor, there is a bull that is made up on tiles. You should stand with you heel on the bull's testicles. While balancing on your heel, you are supposed to spin around. This is supposed to bring you good luck. Don't know how much its true, but it sure is good fun to see everyone - young and old - spinning on the bull's testicles '-)
When you stand in the centre of the building under the glass dome and look up, you will find the beautiful paintings on the ceiling depicting different continents. For example, the one in this picture depicts the African continent. Even the tiles on the floor depict the important cities in 4 different directions.
It might've been an tremendous task in those days to build the 4 storey shopping arcade with a steel and glass canopy. I was told that the architect who designed it fell to his death from the top just 4 days before the King was supposed to arrive to officially inaugurate the building.
To the left of the Duomo stands the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Construction was started in 1864 and took 4 years to complete. You will find here all the expensive cafes and there are plenty of opportunities to blow your money.
You will even find a McDonalds (just like you would find a Starbucks in the famous Yu Yuen garden in Shanghai) - which, in my opinion, spoils the ambience a bit.
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