Apart from the Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the most famous icon of Milan, and it was the only other attraction I had heard of before I started researching for our trip. When we got there, we were a little disappointed at first because it was very different to what we had expected, but later we liked it well enough.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was built from 1865 to 1867. It connects the Piazza del Duomo with the Piazza della Scala.
From the outside, the Galleria is very impressive, with its grand façade. It looks more like a huge imperial arch or the entrance to a palace than like a shopping mall! Inside, this impression continues: The interior is so luxurious, and there are many details to discover and admire. In the middle of the galleria, there is a large octagon which displays four different mosaics: The emblems of Rome, Florence, Venice and Torino. You might often see tourists stepping onto the bull with one heel and spinning around - a local custom that is now one of the must dos for many tourists. In picture 3, you can see the emblem of Rome.
The glass cupola above the octagon is 47m high, and around it there are mosaics of four continents, Europe, Africa, Asia and America - Australia is left out (see picture 4).
All this is very impressive and elegant for sure, but altogether, the galleria was smaller than we had thought. This means that there are also not as many shops as the travel guides make it sound, but that is just as well because they are all luxurious high fashion shops anyway, and nothing we could or want to effort :-) The galleria is still worth a visit to see its architecture, and because it is a fast and easy way to get from the Duomo area to the Piazza della Scala and surroundings.
You can see more pictures in this travelogue
The cross-shaped Vittorio Emanuele Gallery is another attraction of Milan, known all over the world. It is actually said that is the most famous shopping center.
The gallery was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni and built between 1865 and 1877.
Two huge triumphal archways open in the Dome square on one side and in Piazza della Scala on the other side.
The center of the gallery is dominated by the impressive glass and iron dome and each side hosts book and record shops, coffee shops and restaurants and famous fashion shops.
A speciality of Milan is the 19th century belle époque-style Galeria Vittorio Emanuele being the oldest shopping mall in the world. The four-story arcade houses shops, cafes and luxury boutiques including Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci; the famous but a bit pricey Ristorante Savini is placed on the second floor.
You can find also a McDonalds that seemed a bit out of place here. There is a special atmosphere due to the glass ceiling and the mosaic floor.
The symbols on the mosaic floor represent the capitals of the Kingdom of Italy in various periods: Milan, Turin, Florence and Rome.
A superstition, reported in every guides, says, the emblem of Turin brings good luck by rotating on it. Just look the others and you will see how it should be done, and remember that the rotation has to be clockwise, because otherwise the good luck becomes bad. It is funny and interesting, but I had never seen any local milanesi rotating there. It seems not to be a local, rather a touristic custom!
Above, the mosaics in the semicircular pedentives under the glass dome represent the "four corners of the earth": Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. They were originally frescoes, but were replaced in mosaic. The 24 statues in the Gallery represent Italian personalities, such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Galilei, Volta etc.
This shopping "Mecca" has been imitated, but never duplicated. Grab yourself a strong Italian espresso coffee, enjoy the mosaic floor, the grand glass and iron dome and watch the elegantly dressed Italians pass by.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was constructed between 1865 - 1867 and has got a high arcade with a roof of glass and iron. It has got its name from king Vittorio Emanuele II, who inaugurated the galleria when it was finished.
If you walk through the galleria from Piazza del Duomo you will come to Piazza della Scala. On your way you will pass shops, cafés and restaurants, some of them quite expensive.
In the middle, where the four branches meet, there is a 47 metre high glass dome. By the vault there are mosaics of Europe, America, Asia and Africa. Under the dome, on the floor, you can see the coat-of-arm of some Italian cities and of the Savojens family.
Next to the Duomo is the big Galleria, with shops from the most famous marks and restaurants. The prices are anything else than low here, but it's nice to go inside and just look at the building, which is very impressive!
One time is okey to eat here, at least if you are prepared to live on water and bread the rest of your time in Milan... Otherwise I suggest you go away just a short walk from the Duomo-area and find something cheaper to calm your stomach with...
Inside the Galleria there are all kinds of shops. Prada, music-shops, football-shops and so on forever... But as I wrote above, the prices are as high as the roof in the galleria...
Who knows when and how the tradition started, but planting your heel and twisting with a flourish on the "private parts" of the mosaic picture of this bull in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a tradition for Italians and tourists alike. I first saw this on an episode of "Rick Steves' Travels in Europe." Well, I just couldn't miss doing this when I came to Milan!
Flanking the Piazza dell Duomo is the grand structure known as the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Designed in 1861 and built between 1865 and 1877, this beatiful piece of architecture was the first of its kind to incorporate the elements of iron and glass which form its vaulted ceilings and central dome. Tragically, the architect, Giuseppe Mengoni fell to his death while inspecting the decorative details of the dome just two days before King Vittorio Emanuele led the galleria's opening ceremony.
The grand scale and detail of this beautiful building is impressive! The decorative details inside are equally impressive--look down at the beautiful marble and mosaic floors or up to the stained-glass dome. Here you will also find upscale bistro restaurants and shops such as Prada and Bernasconi. Just outside you will find a sidewalk cafe where you may sample a few Italian dishes and gaze to your heart's content at the beauty which surrounds you.
The shopping gallery of Vittorio Emanuele II is just astonishing, and unlike any arcade I have seen anywhere in the world. Its cavernous interior is akin to the nearby cathedral , and is very much a place to worship at the altar of capitalistic consumerism. Right in the centre, underneath the fabulous glass dome, are some of the greatest names in fashion and good taste, such as Prada, Savini and .... McDonalds? Right next to some of the most exclusive shops and restaurants on the planet, in one of the grandest shopping arcades in the world, is an enormous, and to me wholly inappropriate, McDonalds restaurant. Still, the restaurant is fairly tasteful, and doesn't really detract from the whole glamour and glory of the galleria, but it is an amusing sight.
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is hard to miss. Located on the Piazza del Duomo, the glass roofed gallery was built in 1865 to connect with the Piazza della Scala. It is most certainly a tourist magnet, but mostly it seemed like a convenient pass-through for local residents who seem to walk pass the designer shops without notice. Interestingly, among the high end shops and upscale restaurants you can also find that favorite Italian eatery...McDonalds!
Have a very grand shopping experience at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
It is a covered arcade filled with expensive shops and gorgeous old cafe's. Well worth a wander around.
If you can't afford to buy anything here, at least have a quick coffee standing at one of the bars to experience a little bit of Milan.
Right underneath the glass dome in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is the emblem of Turin, a bull, on the mosaic floor. It is meant to bring you good luck if you spin around on your right heel on the bull's most treasured possession. I kid you not, there was a crowd of people queuing up to crush the testicles of the bull of Turin, in order to bring themselves good luck. I don't know if this is a tradition imported from Turin, or if the Milanese are showing a great disrespect to their neighbours, but it was a fun to watch people grinding their heels on the poor bull's private parts.
The Galleria Vittorio Emmanuale is that gorgeous building we all (who have visited Milan) stumbled upon while visiting Piazza Duomo. After years and years of visiting Milan, I never understood what the building was for. Even my dad, who lived in Milan, didn't know what the building was for. Until my last visit to Milan, January of 2009, the buiding always haunted my mind. But on one cold, damp Milanese winter night I finally found out what the building was for. See, it was late, and the day after Christmas, everything was closed, and my parents and I wanted something to drink. So we went to the place you never go to, the nuclear option, the retauruant in the main square. I always tell everyone who visits Europe never to eat in a restaurant in the main square, but it was late, I was thirsty, and my parents insisted. So we went to restaurant located right in the Galleria. We were seating by a young Serbian girl, who seemed nice and pleasant. We were seated right in the corner of the caffe' and right away we ordered our drinks (one limoncella, two coffees, one whiskey, and one small water) and we also got a very small piece of cake (which was kind of awlful, being that you are in Iatly). After a nice, calm conversation, we were handed the bill, a hand written bill. It said 93 Euros on it! I was baffled! There's NO way, I thought. My mom and dad were furious,and argued with the manager, but that did nothing. We had to pay. I also suddenly knew what the Galleria was, it is a tourist trap. A complete tourist trap. Istead of going there, go to the Brera district, much better food and people, for much less. I mean of course, this story is NOT suprising, but I just want to warn everyone, not to eat in the Galleria. Sure visit, but don't eat in there. Milan is a great city, and the food is great in the right places. So before you visit, research. Milan is a city in which you need to search for its heart and soul. This takes dedication, dedication to find the real thing. It is certainly worth it!
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
The most beautiful shoping complex I have ever been to for sure. Standard boutiques, shops and fast food chains and italian restuarants inside. A couple of shops selling soccer jerseys and other stuff. Some stalls just outside selling "designer bags" (genuinity unknown) and souveniors.
It is located just beside the Doumo.
This Galleria is not to be missed, even if only to visit and view the many fascinating artistic designs and features inside. Certainly if you got the money to splurge, try the many cafes and the shops, they are just gorgeous and come with a hefty price indeed!
Our guide was so proud to show it off to us and we spent quite a while here despite the huge crowds inside!
The street is covered over by an arching glass and cast iron roof, a popular design for nineteenth-century arcades, such as the Burlington Arcade, London, which was the prototype for larger glazed shopping arcades, beginning with the Saint-Hubert Gallery in Brussels (opened 1847) and the Passazh in St Petersburg, (opened 1848) and including the Galleria Umberto in Naples (opened 1890).
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. The use of the iron structure has inspired also the Eiffel Tower, in Paris.
We loved it, but not the prices on the tags of many items! so we just window shopped!I especially love the domed central space and the detailing on the floors! Muy fabuloso!