Galleria, the “salon” of the Milanese

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - an emblem of Milanese identity and located in the heart of Milan - links Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Scala.

Thanks to its 150 years of elegance and history, it can be considered the oldest shopping centre in the world.


To celebrate the Unification of Italy, between 1865 and 1867, based on a project by architect Giuseppe Mengoni, the city of Milan built the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, named after the first king of Italy. This stunning arcade is a masterpiece of marble, stuccoes and mosaics, dominated by an amazing iron and glass dome standing fifty metres high. Ever since it was built, it became a city favourite for evening strolls, shows and served as meeting point for Milanese bourgeois, artists, academics and musicians, including Giuseppe Verdi and the Futurists.


Following its opening, dozens of elegant shops opened under its vaults. The Gallery still exudes an air of luxury and is lined with boutiques (Louis Vuitton, Prada, Armani, Versace, Gucci, Borsalino and many more), landmark restaurants and cafés, including Savini, Cracco and Camparino.


For the more superstitious there’s a ritual you don’t want to miss. On the floor of one of the Galleria’s side wings, there’s a bull mosaic. According to tradition, in order to avoid bad luck, tourists and Milanese alike spin thrice with their heels on the balls of the dancing bull.
And for those who want a taste of tradition, just a few steps from the Gallery you can find Luini (its famous panzerotti are inimitable), while those who want to try an authentic espresso or an alternative coffee-based solution can’t miss out on the Lavazza flagship store.


Amidst art and food, the Galleria is a must!