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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world's oldest shopping malls and it's known locally as "Milan's drawing room".

TravelCurious Tip

Sip a coffee if you wish, but avoid eating in the Galleria — it is overpriced and not the quality you would expect. Try the outstanding nearby Pizzeria Lievito Madre instead.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, alongside such illustrious company as the Burlington Arcade in London and the Passazh in St Petersburg. Named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy, it was finished in 1877 and has been a hub of Milan ever since.


The Galleria is often referred to as ‘Milan’s drawing room’ due its importance as a meeting and dining place for locals. It is home to some of the most famous restaurants and cafes in Milan, including Biffi Caffè, which was founded in 1867 by Paolo Biffi, the king’s own pastry chef.


Its design consists of two glass-vaulted arcades which intersect in a wide octagon, always full of milling shoppers. Overhead a giant glass dome allows the light to spill in, illuminating four mosaics on the ground, representing the coats of arms of the three capitals of the Kingdom of Italy - Turin, Florence and Rome - alongside that of Milan.


A Peculiar Tradition

Legend has it if a person spins around three times with a heel on the testicles of the bull from the Turin coat of arms, it will bring good luck — they say the same thing about touching the testicles of Wall Street’s Charging Bull as well. Perhaps Milan’s tradition inspired New York’s, or perhaps humans simply have some innate propensity for this sort of thing.


Giving the V to M

McDonald’s had a branch in the Galleria for 20 years — until 2012, when it was prevented from renewing its tenancy. The fast-food giant subsequently tried to sue the landlord - that is, the city of Milan - on the grounds that it was being discriminated against and denied sales. It was replaced by a Prada store — the Galleria’s second.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Milan
La Scala Theatre
La Scala Theatre (Teatro alla Scalla) is an iconic theatre built in 1778 which has consistently held the most famous opera and ballet performances in Milano.
The Milan Cathedral
The spectacular Gothic Milan cathedral took 600 years to build and it's an iconic landmark of the city. Its construction began in 1386 and was completed with all its final details in 1965.
Piazza Mercanti
Piazza Mercanti ("Merchant square") is the former epicentre of the city where swords, hats and suits of armour were once sold in the middle ages.
Quadrilatero d'oro
Quadrilatero d'oro is the local name for the four streets in the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II that contain the world's most famous up-market shopping district.
Museo Poldi Pezzoli
Founded by Gian Poldi Pezzoli this art museum holds a wide variety of Italian and Northern European work.
Museo Bagatti Valsecchi
Originally the Bagatti brother's house, it contains Renaissance furnishings, tapestries and art works.

Related Tours

Full Day Highlights of Milan with Da Vinci’s The Last Supper Private Tour
Explore the fashionable Italian city of Milan with its splendid castles, churches and of course the Duomo, on this full-day private tour. Experience the vibrant atmosphere of the fashion district and enjoy a guided tour of the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, with tickets to see the iconic fresco of The Last Supper by Da Vinci. On your private tour you will:

  • Enjoy the personal attention and expert insights of your private guide. 
  • Explore the many cultural and architectural highlights of Milan, and learn about its long and varied history from a humble village in the 6th century BC to an important Renaissance stronghold, to the modern financial and fashion centre of Italy today. 
  • Admire the Sforzesco Castle, a medieval fortification dating to the early 15th century, and its magnificent park. 
  • Walk around Palazzo Clerici, a lavish 18th-century neo-classical residence and see the famous Teatro all Scala, Milan’s grand opera house dating to 1778.- Walk along with the luxurious Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II with its high-end shops and haute couture houses, like Gucci and Versace. 
  • Admire Milan’s spectacular Duomo, the centrepiece of the city that took over 600 years to build and is the second-largest cathedral in the world. 
  • Wander quaintly cobbled backstreets to discover hidden gems, and see the Royal Palace, the church and columns of St Lawrence, the only surviving ancient Roman ruins in the city
  • Explore the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio: One of the oldest buildings in Milan dated to 379 BC.
  • Finish your tour outside Santa Maria Delle Grazie with tickets to see the iconic painting of "The Last Supper" by Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Please note: our team will be in touch to find out the name of each guest on the tour, as tickets must be in each guest's name.
Experience the vibrant atmosphere, stunning architecture, palaces, museums, mansions, churches, modern shopping galleries, and the beautiful parks at the heart of Milan, Italy’s most fashionable city on this full-day tour of the city highlights. 

Milan began as a humble 6th-century Celtic village and grew into one of Italy’s most prosperous cities. While it is a large city, the highlights are easily navigable on foot, on this full-day walking tour with your private guide. Experience both modern Milan, with its financial district, and fashionable shopping in the dazzling Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - home to the major fashion houses like Gucci and Versace, Armani and Ferragamo, as well as its venerable history, from castles to churches and old market squares. 

Admire medieval fortress castles and visit the historic Piazza Mercanti – the medieval hub of the city where swords and suits of armour could be bought and sold. It is surrounded by several grand old buildings which your guide will introduce you to: Palazzo della Ragione, Palazzo delle Scuole Palatine, Palazzo dei Giureconsulti, Casa dei Panigarola & Loggia degli Osii. 

Stop outside the Duomo for some holiday snaps – the famous centre point of the city with its Gothic style spires, an astonishing cathedral that took over 600 years to complete. Wander through some cobbled back streets and discover some hidden gems, including the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio: One of the oldest buildings in Milan dating back to 379 BC, as well as the amazing Columns of St. Lawrence: one of the few ancient Roman ruins left in the city outside the grand basilica of the same name. 

Finally, head towards Santa Maria Delle Grazie, and hear the amazing stories, theories, and conspiracies that surround Da Vinci’s iconic rendering of the Last Supper. Your guide will give you your tickets for you to enjoy at your own leisure. 
Half Day Highlights Private Tour of Milan with Da Vinci’s The Last Supper
Experience the very best of Milan, on this four-hour private walking tour of the city highlights, including tickets to see the iconic painting of “The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci in Santa Maria Delle Grazie. On your private tour you will: 

  • Enjoy the personal attention and meaningful insights from your private guide.
  • Explore the city highlights and some hidden gems.
  • Learn the history of Milan and the people that created the city – from a humble Celtic settlement two thousand years ago, to a Renaissance powerhouse and today’s thriving financial and fashion centre. 
  • See some of the most iconic buildings, piazzas and monuments in Milan for some fabulous photos, including the Duomo, Castillo Sforzesco – and its magnificent park, the Royal Palace, the Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore and the ancient Columns of St. Lawrence, Piazza Mercanti and Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio. 
  • Stroll along with the exclusive Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, home to Milan’s haute couture and admire La Bella Figura
  • Finish your tour with tickets including seeing Da Vinci's painting of "The Last Supper". Please note: your guide will not join you for this portion of the tour. 
Milan is a vast, modern city, which plays an important role as an Italian economic and industrial hub. However, behind this industrious veneer lies a city steeped in history, culture, and fashion. The majestic churches and cathedrals contain stunning frescos and architecture that cannot be missed, and the world-renowned fashion district is a fascinating place to explore. 

You will see all the major highlights of this prominent Italian city, including Theatre la Scala (external only), an iconic theatre built in 1778 which has consistently held some of the most famous opera and ballet performances. Enjoy a stroll in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world's oldest shopping malls and experience the fashion hub of Italy with its exclusive shops and haute couture. This vast emporium is known locally as "Milan's drawing-room" and is built with an impressive glass-vaulted arcade design.

Visit the fascinating Piazza Mercanti or "Merchants Square" where swords, hats, and suits of armour were once sold. Explore the adjacent Sforza Castle, the former home of the ruling Sforza dynasty for centuries. It now holds some of Milan's most important artistic work. Pop into churches, and admire ancient ruins, before coming to Cenacolo Vinciano the world heritage site, which contains the world-famous mural of Da Vinci's The Last Supper. 

Da Vinci's iconic mural depicts the moment Jesus realises that he will be betrayed by one of his disciples, and of course has been made mega-famous by Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”. 

Please note that the visit to "The Last Supper" lasts 15 minutes due to Covid restrictions at the site.
Introduction to Milan: Private Walking Tour
Experience the vibrant atmosphere, stunning architecture, ancient ruins, modern galleries, beautiful parks and the heart of fashionable Milan, the financial and fashion hub of Italy with an expert private guide. On your private walking tour you will:

  • Enjoy the personal attention of your private guide.
  • Take an orientating city stroll of the highlights of Milan, Italy’s financial and fashion centre. 
  • Hear how locals describe Milan - the experiences that have shaped their worldview, how they feel about fashion, tourism, and the future. 
  • Stop for photos in front of the famous Duomo, Milan’s stunning centrepiece. 
  • Walk along with the iconic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, with its luxury fashion shops.
  • Pick up invaluable recommendations, advice, and tips on finding the best, local food as you explore highlights and off-the-beaten-track side streets.
  • See the famous Teatro Alla Scala, Sforzesco Castle, and the royal palace. 
  • Admire the many fabulous basilicas of Milan including, San Lorenzo Maggiore, and see the ancient columns, Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio and Santa Maria Delle Grazie. 
  • Wander through Piazza Mercanti, Porta Ticinese, and Parco Sempione learning all about modern life in Milan while taking in the atmosphere and the beauty of this vibrant city. 
  • Grab a drink - an espresso and nibbles or a glass of wine- in your local guide’s favourite cafe.

A 6th-century Celtic village that grew into one of Italy’s most prosperous cities, the centre of Milan is easily navigable on foot. Famous historical attractions, like the Duomo Cathedral and La Scala Opera House, are easily reached as is the temple of Italian designer brands, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Milan is famous as the financial and fashionista hub of Italy. Looking good or ‘La Bella figura’ is an art form in the city and people-watching the oh-so-stylish Milanese is a lesson in panache. Milan is also Europe’s wealthiest non-capital city. Its cuisine is Italian of course, but peppered with exotic influences, from border nations and globe-trotting chefs to migrant kitchens. Full of Michelin restaurants, but also out of the way tavernas, local trattorias, and unpretentious cafes down cobbled side streets, Milan has it all. 

Enjoying a private, guided tour with a local guide will help you discover the treasures hidden in plain sight throughout the city. As you snap pictures of the Piazza del Duomo, and tiny squares accessed through pedestrian archways, hear how Milan became one of the most important financial and fashion centres in Europe. Enjoy an immersive walking tour through Milan’s largest park and through its world-renowned shopping streets. 

At the end of your tour, enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine, on us with your guide!
The Best of Milan Live Virtual Tour
Milan, Italy’s Stylish Fashion Capital and industrial hub, is a city with a rich history that was conquered by the Romans in 222BC. On this live virtual tour, you will discover the most important monuments of the city that represent the real heart of Milan with your private tour guide.

Starting at Piazza Scala, the main square that connects the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II with Piazza Duomo, you will hear about the Scala Opera House, the real temple of music which has been hosting the greatest international artists since the 18th century. 

The next stop will be the breathtaking "salotto elegante" of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the oldest shopping mall and one of the most popular landmarks in Milan. It houses luxury brands and high-end boutiques with a very innovative architectural design.

Walking through the Galleria, you will reach the real symbol of the city: the Duomo cathedral. The construction of this church started in 1386 but the gothic design of the church’s façade only began at the end of the sixteenth century, 

Your guide will focus on the history and the most interesting of the Duomo as you explore the mesmerizing architecture made of shining marble and thousands of statues. 

This virtual tour is the perfect opportunity to discover Milan for the first time or to learn more about its culture and life with a lot of fun facts, curiosities and stories.
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