Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Ii
Mengoni | 1865-77 | Visitor Information
The Galleria, a place of transit for busy managers or a stop for enchanted and curious tourists, expresses the various faces of the city through its many facets. As soon as it was finished, the Galleria became immediately famous for its large size, extraordinary for the time and sign of a new era. The 20th century is synonymous with modernity and progress. It’s an intricate and complex historical period that saw technical accelerations, engineering-industrial products, and, in general, the rise of the work of the human genius.
The great spaces of the Galleria foresaw a reality that has its distinguishing mark in the sense of movement. We can’t forget here, in the artistic field, a masterpiece such as “Riot in the Gallery” (Rissa in Galleria) by Boccioni, that represents reality in an innovative way, projected into a dynamic future. Cars, trams, work in factories: everything was changing the rhythm of the city and the people’s idea on everyday life.
Considered one of the sites of Milanese luxury shopping, along with Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga, it hosts many prestigious labels and brand shops, famous cafés and restaurants, as well as Feltrinelli Records, one of the largest megastores in Italy.
Taking that classic wander through the Galleria, the very heart of the city, as visitors have done for many years, still creates that wonderful sensation. Entering the Galleria, the corridor between Duomo and La Scala Theatre, its magnificent arch welcomes you and hints at the Milanese spectacle that lies within. The original idea of the designers was to create a porticoed street that would function as a showcase and offer somewhere to take a pleasant stroll, enjoy an aperitif or have dinner after the opera.
Today it can still be considered the “parlour” of the city, a place where you relax and enjoy a coffee at the bar Camparino, let yourself be enchanted by the cute hats of Borsalino and the collections of Prada and Louis Vuitton, or stop for an aperitif at Savini.
If you wish to return to Milan, the tradition suggests that you have a spin with your heel on the mosaic bulls “attributes” that make up the pavement of the Galleria’s splendid central octagon. Once a gesture to ward off evil, it has become part of the Milanese tradition and has such a following that a deep hole has formed in the pavement.
You will surely enjoy visiting the Galleria, it will also feel like turning the clock back in time: for the construction, which started in 1865 (by Giuseppe Mengoni) were used mainly iron and glass as for the Parisian train stations, a well-advanced technique in those days.
On occasion, the Galleria also offers shelter to its guests from sudden rain or from the hot sun, welcoming them in its extraordinary and elegant atmosphere.
Information provided in part by: http://www.turismo.milano.it