Glass dome of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, Italy
Glass dome of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, Italy

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

The Galleria Vittoria Emanuele, named after the first king of Italy, was designed in 1861 by Giuseppe Mengoni and officially opened in 1867 – making it one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. It’s often nicknamed 'il salotto di Milano' (Milan’s drawing room) after the building soon became the favoured meeting place in Milan. This elegant four-storey arcade connects Piazza del Duomo with Piazza della Scala, and has become a tourist attraction in its own right. 

The galleria is what people imagine when daydreaming about shopping in Milan, with endless designer stores like Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Versace (to name a few) attracting the city’s elite. If your budget won’t stretch to haute couture you’ll still have a pleasant afternoon window shopping, people watching and admiring the beautiful frescoes. The ceiling vaults are decorated with mosaics representing Asia, Africa, Europe and America. While underneath the central glass dome, four mosaics portray the coat of arms of Milan, Rome, Florence and Turin – the latter bearing a bull where tradition states those who spin on their heel three times on the bull’s testicles will have good luck. It’s a long-standing, although slightly strange, tradition that has unfortunately resulted in a hole appearing in the mosaic.

Recommended on these multi centres

8 day suggested trip

Lake Como and Milan

From £1469 per person
ATOL Protected
  • Cross over into Switzerland and take the Bernina Express
  • Explore Lake Como's picturesque towns by ferry
  • Visit opulent lakefront villas and gardens
  • Window shop and sightsee in Milan

9 day suggested trip

Venice, Verona and Lake Garda

From £1699 per person
ATOL Protected
  • Enjoy live classical music whilst sipping on a coffee in St. Mark’s Square
  • Dine on traditional Italian cuisine against a breathtaking backdrop
  • Visit Scaligeri Castle, one of four castles built by the Lords of Verona
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