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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan - Centre

The ultimate upmarket shopping arcade

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan - Centre

 Reputedly the oldest shopping arcade in the world, this 19th-century glamorous, 4-storey, arcaded shopping gallery features a rich mosaic floor and a spectacular iron and glass roof complete with cupola that connects Piazza del Duomo with Piazza della Scala.

Built between 1865 and 1877 according to a design by Giuseppe Mengoni, it consists of two glass-vaulted arcades intersecting in an octagon topped with a glass dome. The floor mosaics depict the coat of arms of the capitals of the kingdom of Italy: Turin, Florence, Rome and, of course, Milan.

One of Milan's most recognisable landmarks, it houses upmarket boutiques, the likes of Louis Vuitton and Gucci, as well as the Prada flagship store. There's also an exclusive silverware store called Bernasconi, and institutions such as Biffi Cafe, founded in 1867 by Paolo Biffi, pastry chef to the monarch - though you should expect to pay 10€ for a cappuccino on the terrace!

Worth knowing

Tradition says that if a person spins around three times with a heel on the testicles of the bull from Turin's coat of arms this will bring good luck. However, this practice has caused damage to the mosaic and a hole developed on the place of the bull's genitals, so we recommend you do not try it.

Reviews

Visitor comments

  • "Probably one of the most beautiful places in Milan after the Duomo. Go there! It's just unbelievable!" - Trip Advisor
  • "This is an amazing piece of architecture that houses some of the greatest fashionistas! Built at the end of the 1800s its worth a visit. Its sits on the edge of the Piazza del Duomo ("Cathedral Square"). There are lots of affordable cafes for espresso or gelato ;-)" - Trip Advisor
  • "The architecture is stunning! The shops are mainly high-end boutiques and there are some nice cafes. We love to walk through this on the way back from the Duomo. It is picturesque and great for resting after a long walk." - Trip Advisor