The Vittorio Emanuele Gallery is one of the most iconic landmarks of Milan. On top of the fact it is, indeed, a sight in itself, it also provides an elegant passage solution between two of Milan’s most reputed attractions: Teatro alla Scala and the Milan Cathedral. The gallery bears the name of Italy’s first King, and it is deemed the paradigm of all shopping malls constructed later throughout the continent in the 20th century.
The glass and steel structure was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877 (before the opening of the gallery, in 1878, ironically the architect died falling from a girder of a scaffold meant to help the construction of his own work). The two glass arcades are linked by an octagonal section overtopped by a dome, it too built of glass. While the architecture proper is not as interesting to study as one might think at first, the structure catches the eye nevertheless.
However, the place is intensely visited for so many other reasons. First of all, next to the Golden Quadrilateral, the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery is known for its glamorous fashion boutiques. From Prada to Gucci and Louis Vuitton, just to cite a few examples, you can browse here through Milan’s flagship fashion brands and purchase a stylish acquisition. This is precisely why the locals refer to the gallery as “Il Salotto di Milano” (Milan’s Drawing Room).
But shopping for fashion is not the only opportunity you can take while strolling this glitzy central corridor in Milan. The gallery is home to several of the city most historical cafes, including the prestigious Biffi. You can sit here, sip on a cup of coffee and see the locals and admire their imponderable pace.
The Civic Museum of Archeology of Milan features collections of vestiges of the old Milan, and of the past Roman, Etruscan and Greek civilizations.
The Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore of Milan is located in a piazza bordered, in the opposite site, by a row of columns dating back to the 2nd century.
The Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery was built between 1865 and 1877. It is now home to some of Milan’s historical cafes and renowned fashion boutiques.