Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan (must see)

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a fashionable five-storey mall covered in curved glass, topped with iron roof and lavishly decorated with patriotic mosaics and statues – legacy of the chaotic era of Italian unification, manifesting the country's newly-acquired self-confidence.

It was built between 1865 and 1877 by architect Giuseppe Mengoni – who is also credited with the monumental design of the entire area between the Milan Cathedral and La Scala – and is named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of unified Italy. Officially inaugurated on September 15, 1867, the Galleria's completion took another ten years of continuous work. Tragically, just a day before it was over, in December 1877, Giuseppe Mengoni died in accident, falling down from the top of the triumphal arch.

Designed in the form of a Latin cross, the gallery comprises two glass-vaulted covered passages, with the longer one being 196 meters and the shorter – 105.5 meters long, crossing in an octagonal central piazza below an impressive 47-meter high, 36-meter wide glass dome. Incorporating iron and arching glass, the Galleria's architectural design proved groundbreaking for the creation of enclosed shopping malls in the 19th century. Moreover, its use of an iron structure inspired the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

An interesting feature of the gallery is the floor adorned with marble mosaics depicting emblems of the main Italian cities. Locals believe that stepping on the bull's image in the middle of the floor with a heel of the right foot and spinning around can bring good luck. Adherence to this tradition has already left a hole there.

Why You Should Visit:
Almost like stepping into the picture of 19th-century Milan with its lights, colors, windows and landscaping that will never fade in your memory.
There are a few restaurants (incidentally not very expensive, considering it's the mall) where you can sit back, eat to your heart's content, and watch the crowds go by.
There's also a very nice Leonardo Museum at the end of the mall, bang opposite the statue of Leonardo da Vinci.

Tip:
Visit the gallery late at night or early in the morning when there aren't that many people in.
Don't forget to find the "bull" on the floor and have fun!

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Milan. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II on Map

Sight Name: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Sight Location: Milan, Italy (See walking tours in Milan)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Milan, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Milan

Create Your Own Walk in Milan

Creating your own self-guided walk in Milan is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Center Museums and Galleries

City Center Museums and Galleries

Milan is not only the business and fashion center of Italy, it also a cultural center. The city of Milan offers numerous cultural activities, as well as countless art galleries and museums that exhibit some of the world's most famous and imposing artworks and artifacts. Most of these cultural centers are located in the very heart of Milan and within a pleasant walk.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Best Shopping Streets and Malls

Best Shopping Streets and Malls

One of the world's four fashion capitals and, as of lately, that of design as well, Milan is renowned internationally as a top shopping destination, where fashion is the second religion. In a rich city such as this, dedicated to art and pleasure, there's no shortage of options for those accustomed to upscale shopping and those in favor of bargains. If you're a fashionista and/or...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Central Milan Souvenir Shopping

Central Milan Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Milan without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of shops selling unique gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Milan, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit. Take this self guided tour to find the right Milanese products to bring home.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Leonardo da Vinci's Masterpieces

Leonardo da Vinci's Masterpieces

Over the nearly 20 years that Leonardo da Vinci spent in Milan, the maestro created a number of masterpieces of art, of which the incomparable Last Supper mural in the convent of Santa Maria della Grazie and the innovative ceiling fresco of the Sala delle Asse at the Castello Sforzesco are just a few. If you wish to explore these and other spectacular pieces of art, architecture and technology...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Historic Center Walking Tour

Historic Center Walking Tour

Contained within the area once delimited by the medieval walls, the historic center of Milan encompasses the city's perhaps most famous landmarks and tourist attractions, such as the Duomo (cathedral), Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle shopping arcade and the Teatro alla Scala opera house, to mention but a few. Compact in size and easily walkable, the Centro Storico is just as full of historic...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

Milan may be a world fashion capital and a European financial capital, but religion, and "the church" in particular, remain a major part of Milanese life. The city boasts a number of world-class religious buildings that include Milan Cathedral, which is the third largest religious structure in Europe, San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, also known as "Sistine Chapel of Milan"...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


16 Best Pastry Shops in Milan Italy

16 Best Pastry Shops in Milan Italy

Are you looking to satisfy your sweet tooth with genuine, locally-made Italian pastries and drink real “espresso”? This guide covers the best pastry shops/cafes in Milan, the capital of fashion and excellent northern Italian food. Places where one can drink coffee or tea and eat some of the...
Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Italian Goods Worth Buying in Milan

Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Italian Goods Worth Buying in Milan

Needless to say much about Milan and the things the city is famous for. From fashion and luxury to football and Berlusconi, the list is long. Still, some of the distinctively Milanese items may pass unnoticed to the eye of a stranger, if not caringly pointed in the right direction by a knowledgeable...
Milan's Best Aperitivo Venues

Milan's Best Aperitivo Venues

Apéritifs usually are alcoholic drinks that are normally served before a meal. But in Milan the Aperitivo can actually become a fun, cheap (but not unchic) dinner with friends or (in a romantic venue) with a date. The all-you-can-eat formula allows you to buy just one drink and serve yourself with...
Milan's Fashion Restaurants & Bars

Milan's Fashion Restaurants & Bars

Milan is a city well known for luxurious fashion and shopping. With this guide your designer experience doesn't have to end at the stores and boutiques. Almost every major Italian fashion house (as well as a few foreign ones) has entered the food, beverage, or hospitality businesses in Milan,...
12 Cafes To Visit in Milan

12 Cafes To Visit in Milan

The industrial capital of Italy and one of the world's fashion and business centers, today's Milan is teeming with chaotic urban rush on a daily basis. Although it can't compete with Rome in terms of history, art and architecture, there are hidden gems in Milan well worth searching...
Sweet Shops of Milan

Sweet Shops of Milan

This guide will undoubtably make your trip to Milan a sweet one. Most locations are in the city centre, whilst others are set in older headquarters, that boast incredible landmarks and hidden beauties. Milan is habitually associated to fashion and business but has some exquisite examples of art...