The Gallery that is the Oldest Mall in the WorldThe Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, opened in 1877, is the world's first indoor mall. The residents of Milan, love it very much and affectionately refer to it as the "Milan Lounge" or in Italian "Il Salotto di Milano".
The gallery is named after the first king of Italy, Vittorio Emanuel II. Even if you do not buy here, you should see the unique design of the ancient shopping center, located on the north side of the Duomo Square.
Vittorio Emanuele Secundo Gallery is one of the most impressive sites in the city. Notice its mosaic floor that a lot was put into. Look at the impressive glass ceiling above you. Take a look at the beautiful frescoes and the shop windows of one of the oldest and central fashion centers in Italy and perhaps in Europe as a whole.
At the Vittorio Emanuele Secundo Gallery along with a collection of luxury stores, fashion designer stores and expensive jewelry stores, one can find fine gelato stores, gourmet restaurants, luxury cafes and more.
For a long time, the gallery had been the place where all the Milanese people met. Besides the Milanese, many tourists and shopping enthusiasts flock to the gallery every day, where the flagship stores of big
designers such as Prada, which opened here in 1913 are located, or old restaurants such as the Baffy Cafe established in 1867 and the Savini restaurant, which was established in 1884.
The entrance to the beautiful indoor building from the Duomo Square is through an entrance gate designed as a spectacular triumphal gate, made of marble and granite. From there, the gallery leads up to Piazza della Scala, where the city's famous opera house, the Teatro La Scala, is located. Next to it is Milan's city hall, known as the Palazzo Marino.
What is Here?Gallery Vittorio Emanuele Secundo is a kind of metaphor for the entire city of Milan. In its neoclassical architecture it combines the old and the new and offers in one place the best of fashion, luxury and prestige.
From the world of fashion, such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci to expensive jewelry stores, from Swarovski stones to Bransoni's silverware, this spectacular mall features designer stores and the finest brands. Alongside them are art galleries, along with bookstores, cafes and gourmet restaurants, such as those of the famous Gucci, Zucca and Baffy cafes.
The Sad Story of the Architect of the GalleryOne of the saddest stories in the history of architecture took place here. It is associated with the architect of the elegant and impressive shopping palace – the architect Giuseppe Mengoni. Mengoni won design competitions with his plan of a building that will link Piazza Duomo in Milan to the Piazza della Scala near Milan's Opera House.
Inspired by the historic Passages couverts de Paris and the Burlington Arcade in London, perhaps the prototype of today's indoor shopping centers, Mengoni has proposed in competitions a construction of a commercial avenue with a glass-and-steel ceiling that will connect the squares.
Offered and won. It soon became clear that Mengoni was in love with his project. He designed it for all its details, taking great care in choosing the materials, the overall design, and the meticulous and uncompromising finishing of every detail in the magnificent building that was being built in Milan.
In those days Italy was united and in the light of the turbulent time of those days, Mengoni filled the gallery with patriotic symbols that expressed the unity and the trust he had in the young state. Perhaps it was a mystical feeling that this would be his greatest architectural legacy, but Mengoni gave his life to this project. And not just metaphorically. Because just before the construction was finished, the day before the impressive gate of the magnificent building was inaugurated, something happened. While examining the last touches of the project, Mengoni fell to his death from a scaffold on which he stood, near the arch. So, the architect that was in love with the project did not get to see how his gallery became a great success and how it became, from a project designed to connect two major attractions in the city, to history itself, as the first shopping mall ever.