Have you seen a shopping mall as stunning as the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan? Because I certainly have not.
One of the world’s oldest shopping malls, it is named after the first king of the Kingdom of Italy and was designed and built by Giuseppe Mengoni, who unfortunately died by falling off a scaffold the evening before the Galeria’s inauguration. Talk about bad luck!
Construction of the Galleria was initially protested by locals who thought it would ruin the city. However, the magnificence of the arcade prevailed and soon enough it became the ultimate hang out spot – which is why they call it il saloto di Milano (aka the living room of Milan).
The concept behind the Galleria was to promote Italian unity and patriotism during a turbulent time for the country. So you can find patriotic emblems, coat of arms, mosaics, as well as statues of prominent Italian artists and scientists all throughout.
The Galleria houses mostly luxury brands (Milano’s own Prada has two mega shops, but of course!) as well as some of the city’s oldest restaurants such as Biffi and Savini.
This has to be my favourite view of the Galleria, not because it showcases Prada and Louis Vuitton, but because you can see the grandiose of the arcade. Also, the paintings on the two lunettes under the dome depict my two favourite continets.
Asia by Bartolomeo Giuliano
Europa by Angelo Pietrasanta
It’s a rather dreamy view, non?
Of course, when in the Galleria, you just gotta find Turin’s bull and do the touristy thing: step on its balls on your right heel (I’ve clearly missed the mark here), turn three times with your eyes closed and pray to all the Italian saints that the best of your luck would come around.
You can’t miss the Galleria as it’s smack right in the middle of the Duomo and the Scala. It’s a definite must in Milan, but mind the touters who would shove some roses/trinkets/souvenirs up your face. Do visit – it’s the world’s most gorgeous shopping arcade!
Piazza del Duomo