Itinerary: Shopping & Dining in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Every house has a living room that serves as the best space in the house, a place to entertain guests. The majestic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, designed by the illustrious architect Giuseppe Mengoni in the 19th century, serves as Milan’s own large “drawing room.” The Milanese feel strongly about the Galleria, a beautiful covered arcade that connects the Duomo with the Teatro alla Scala, and which serves as a popular gathering place for the city’s residents and visitors alike. Originally envisioned as a simple porticoes walkway, it quickly gained popularity as a venue for showcasing the wares of high-end merchants and as a gathering spot for friends and family to have an aperitif or a quiet meal after a night at the opera. With its mosaics and caryatids decorating the windows and balconies, Italy’s oldest shopping mall, the Galleria, still shines brightly today.
Further, this shopping area is included on the self-guided tour of Milan that can be accessed through Vox City. You can use it as much as you like throughout your stay, and you’ll have access to all of the self-guided features. Additionally, you have the choice of hearing the commentary in a variety of languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Italian.
Things to see
- Stores like Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton can be found in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, among many more.
- It is also home to a wide selection of stylish dining options, including Milan’s Café Biffi (1867) and other long-standing eateries.
- Unexpectedly, the Gallery is also home to a McDonald’s. So, the fast food restaurant is tastefully furnished using black columns with gold décor to go in with the other businesses in the area. You can relax on the terrace with a drink and take in the beauty of the building for a reasonable price.
- If you take a stroll through the galleries, you won’t want to miss the beautiful mosaic depicting the four continents in the central dome.
A mosaic depicting the Savoy coat of arms and different animals that stand for some of Italy’s most prominent cities can be found under the central dome. Visitors and natives alike are rumored to be blessed with good fortune if they place their right foot on the bull and spin around three times while keeping their eyes closed. After midnight on December 31st, if you tread on the bull, you’ll have good fortune for the next 12 months.
It’s impossible not to be in awe of the collections shown in these locations, which tend to resemble museums rather than stores, from the storied Prada boutique to Versace’s newest crown jewel. The Galleria is where you can see the latest in fashion. Alternating with high-end designer boutiques like Prada and Versace are historic workshops like Cadè (shirts and ties since 1926), Piumelli (famous for its handmade gloves), Mejana (purveyors of time-honored fountain pens), and historic bookstores like Bocca (for art lovers) and Libreria (for those who prefer to read) that have been around for decades.
When you mention the word “aperitivo,” the name Camparino in Galleria quickly comes to mind. This is where the crème de la crème of Milan gathers to engage in one of Italy’s oldest social customs. Luini, famous for its original “panzerotti,” is conveniently located close for visitors craving a taste of history.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something fancier, you can dine at Savini, located on the Galleria’s first floor, or at Teatro alla Scala II Foyer, which is right next to the theater and pays tribute to Chef Gaultiero Marchesi with a menu that features some of his most famous dishes.
Around the corner
If you haven’t had your fill of shopping after perusing the Galleria’s many boutiques, we can suggest a few places that are truly one-of-a-kind and are only a short distance away. Rinascente (beneath the arcades) is the perfect one-stop shopping destination, housing an incredible variety of fashionable goods. A little distance away, Rocca 1974’s window displays will entice you with their selections of several of the most coveted jewellery and watch brands in the world—a sumptuous fusion of passion, dedication, know-how, and elegance. Amleto Missaglia, located just adjacent to the Teatro alla Scala, is the place to go if you’re looking for a unique shopping experience and unique presents.
Vox City self-guided tour
From the minute you arrive in Milan, you can start your self-guided audio tour of Vox City, which includes a stop at this stunning shopping center among other locations throughout the city. Take use of their advanced navigation features, which make self-guiding a breeze, and explore the area via one of the many suggested walking routes. As you get closer to Milan’s famous sites like the Duomo, Sforzesco Castle, Santa Maria delle Grazie, and Sempione Park, you’ll feel a strong sense of the city’s rich history and culture. Listen to your guidebook’s audio commentary to learn about must-see attractions, and stop for refreshments whenever it’s convenient for you. To continue your Vox City-style exploration of Milan, plan your next walking route, locate your favorite locations, and identify the greatest photo ops.