Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is much more than a shopping mall. It has been described by a distinguished authority as ‘the ultimate amongst nineteenth-century arcades and a powerful symbol of Italian unification’. It was designed by the Bolognan architect Giuseppe Mengoni who fell to his death from the roof while inspecting decorative work in 1867. The gallery is built to a cruciform plan, with an iron and glass roof, its main axis extending some 195 m from the Piazza del Duomo to the Piazza della Scala. At the octagonal crossing is a dome, 50 m in span, the same as that of St Peter’s, Rome, and 29 m high, that was designed by the French engineer Henri Joret. Mengoni’s design was adopted in 1861 and the gallery opened in 1867, the triumphal arch at the entrance from the Piazza del Duomo being added in 1877. The buildings that line the arcades are four storeys high, and ornamented with frescoes and reliefs depicting science, art, industry and agriculture, with statues of 24 famous Italians. The gallery includes many boutiques selling luxury goods, as well as the Zanichelli and Ricordi bookshops and many cafes.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Piazza del Duomo
20121 Milan