Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a covered double arcade formed of two glass-vaulted arcades at right angles intersecting in an octagon; it is prominently sited on the northern side of the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, and connects to the Piazza della Scala. Named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of united Italy, it was originally designed in 1861 and built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877. The street is covered over by an arching glass and cast iron roof, a popular design for nineteenth-century arcades, such as the Burlington Arcade, London, which was the prototype for larger glazed shopping arcades, beginning with the Saint-Hubert Gallery in Brussels (opened 1847) and the Passazh in St Petersburg, (opened 1848) and including the Galleria Umberto in Naples (opened 1890). The central octagonal space is topped with a glass dome. The Milanese Galleria was larger in scale than its predecessors and was an important step in the evolution of the modern glazed and enclosed shopping mall, of which it was the direct progenitor. It has inspired the use of the term galleria for many other shopping arcades and malls. The use of the iron structure has inspired also the Eiffel Tower, in Paris. The Galleria connects two of Milan's most famous landmarks: The Duomo and the Teatro Alla Scala, but the Galleria is a landmark on its own right.

Shops, restaurants and hotels
The Galleria is often nicknamed il salotto di Milano, or Milan's drawing room, due to its numerous shops and importance as a common Milanese meeting and dining place. More than 130 years after its inauguration, the four-story arcade includes elegant shops selling most things from haute couture and jewelry to books and paintings, as well as restaurants, cafés, and bars. Directly connected to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is Milan's ultra-luxurious Town House Galleria hotel, offering the city's most luxurious (and most expensive) rooms and facilities. The Galleria is famous for being home to some of the oldest shops and restaurants in Milan, such as the historic Biffi Caffè, founded in 1867 by Pastry Chef to His Majesty Paolo Biffi and (in 1882) the first Milanese café to install electric lighting, the sophisticated Savini restaurant, the silverware store Bernasconi and the Art Nouveau classic Zucca's Bar. Today, the Galleria is the site for many luxury goods' shops, including Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, as well as fast food outlets such as McDonald's.

The Galleria at night-time during Christmas time. A view of the shops and coffehouses in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II The majestic glass dome A view down the Gallery.

Building Activity

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