World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Gallery in the evening
Location Milan, Italy
Opening date 1867
Owner Comune of Milan
Architect Giuseppe Mengoni
Public transit access Duomo
The building under construction
Bottom view during Christmas 2009
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II from inside the arcade, c. 1880

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world's oldest shopping malls. Housed within a four-story double arcade in central Milan, [1] the Galleria is named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. It was designed in 1861 and built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877.


  • Architecture 1
  • Shops, restaurants and hotels 2
  • Gallery 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


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, such as the Burlington Arcade in London, which was the prototype for larger glazed shopping arcades, beginning with the Saint-Hubert Gallery in Brussels (opened in 1847), the Passazh in St Petersburg (opened in 1848), the Galleria Umberto I in Naples (opened in 1890) and the Budapest Galleria.

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 Galleria connects two of Milan's most famous landmarks: The Duomo and the Teatro Alla Scala, but the Galleria is a landmark in its own right.

Shops, restaurants and hotels

The Galleria is often nicknamed il salotto di Milano (Milan's drawing room), due to its numerous shops and importance as a common Milanese meeting and dining place.[2]

As of 2013, the arcade principally contains luxury retailers selling haute couture, jewelry, books and paintings, as well as restaurants, cafés, and bars. 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),[3][4][5] the Savini restaurant and the Art Nouveau classic Camparino in Galleria.

In 2012, a McDonald's restaurant was prevented from renewing its tenancy, after 20 years of occupancy.[6][7] The restaurant contended that it was the only tenant to be denied the right of first refusal on its new lease,[7] and that the public tender to replace it was "unfair".[6][7] McDonald's sued the landlord—the city of Milan—for 24 million in damages,[6][7] alleging that the loss of the lease will deprive McDonald's of €6 million per year in sales.[6] During its last few hours of operation, the restaurant offered free food and drink to over 5000 customers.[6][7] The McDonald's restaurant was replaced with the gallery's second Prada store.[6][7] McDonald's renounced its suit against the City of Milan after receiving the opportunity to open a new restaurant in a nearby area.



  1. ^ "Milan: overview", Insight Guides website (London, England, U.K.: Apa Publications UK), 2012, archived from the original on October 18, 2012, retrieved October 18, 2012, To the north is the entrance to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Italy’s oldest and most elegant shopping mall. Its four-storey arcade is full of boutiques, bookshops, bars and restaurants. 
  2. ^ Insight Guides (2004) p.220.
  3. ^ ‘Gran Caffè Biffi’, Luigi’s Mailorder.
  4. ^ ‘Il Biffi’, Biffi in Galleria.
  5. ^ ‘I Bar Storici Di Milano’,
  6. ^ a b c d e f Masoni, Danilo (October 16, 2012), Hill, Gary, ed., "McDonald's sues Milan over eviction from Galleria",  
  7. ^ a b c d e f Sylvers, Eric (October 16, 2012), "McDonald’s sues over Milan eviction",  

Further reading

  • Geist, Johann F. (1982), Arcades: The History of a Building Type, MIT Press,  
  • Insight Guides (2004), Northern Italy, APA Publications,  

External links

  • History and Restoration of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Great Buildings Online information

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.