Gallery Vittorio Emanuele II

The Gallery Vittorio Emanuele II is a prestigious commercial gallery, situated in the center of Milan. It is the oldest mall in the world. Its construction consists of two glass arcafes, which intersect in an octagonal and covered the street which connects the square of the cathedral and the square of the opera. The first stone was laid by the first king of united Italy – Vittorio Emanuele II, whose name the gallery bears. The construction continued between 1865 and 1877. The architect of this ambitious project was Guiseppe Mengoni, born in Bologna. He died tragically after falling from the roof of the gallery just a few days before it was officially opened. Despite this, Mengoni had lived long enough to see the success of his creation. The citizens of Milan, who did not liked the gallery at first, because it had been built on the site of an old historic part of the city, soon fell in love with it and the gallery turned into a preferred meeting point.

Description: the Gallery /source: Shutterstock/;

The gallery has the shape of a Latin cross. The longer part is 196 meters long and the shorter is 195.5 meters long. The two pedestrian areas, covered with glass and steel intersect at a octagonal square.  It is located right under the central dome, which is 47 meters high and 36 meters wide.

The gallery is built in turbulent political times for Italy. Its architect wanted to turn it into a symbol of the unity of the nation. That is why it is not surprising that on the octagonal square under the dome there are 4 coats of arms.  Three of them are the coat of arms of the three capitals if the Italian kingdom – Rome, Turin and Florence. He forth is the one of Milan. The wolf represents Rome, the lily – Florence and the hull – Turin. Milan is depicted with a white flag with a red cross. It is believed that if someone steps with his/her heel on the genitals of the bull, depicted on the coat of arm of Turin and spins three times, this would bring him/her luck.  You can hardly miss the spot, because it is already heavily clinched and carved.  

Description: the Gallery /source: Shutterstock/;

On the façade under the glass dome there are statues of the Italians who have contributed in art and science. Four mosaics beneath the dome represent the continents – Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Her you can see one of the few seven-star hotels in the world – Town House Galleria. One night in this hotels costs between 1000 and 3000 euro and you should make a reservations months earlier.

You can see more photos from the gallery below: