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.
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.
Duomo di Milano
The Duomo di Milano or the Milan Cathedral is an emblematic gothic Church that serves as the seat of the Archbishop of Milan.
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.
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.

Related Tours

Explore Milan in a Day: Private Full-Day Tour including Sforzesco Castle
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. 

On your private full-day tour, you will:

  • See the famous Teatro Alla Scala, one of the world's oldest and most famous theatres;
  • Walk along the iconic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, with its luxury fashion shops and the famous quadrilatero della moda;
  • Pick up invaluable recommendations, advice, and tips on finding the best, local food as you explore highlights and off-the-beaten-track side streets;
  • Stop for photos at the famous Duomo, Milan’s stunning centrepiece;
  • Visit the Chiesa San Satiro, known for its false apse, an architectural optical illusion, attributed to Donato Bramante;
  • Wander through Piazza degli Affari and hear about the meaning of Il Dito sculpture;
  • Learn all about modern life in Milan while taking in the atmosphere and the beauty of this vibrant city;
  • Admire the Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore with stunning frescos that often go missed by tourists;
  • Enjoy a Lunch break at one of the best city spots! - Lunch not included
  • Enter the famous Sforzesco Castle, once the residence of Royalty and enjoy a guided tour of the courtyards and the Museum; 
  • See the last incomplete work by Michelangelo, the Pietà, a meditation on death and the salvation of the soul.

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. 

Stop outside the Duomo for some holiday snaps – the famous centre point of the city with its Gothic-style spires, and an astonishing cathedral that took over 600 years to complete. 

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. 

End your tour with a private guided tour of the iconic Sforzesco Castle including the courtyards and the Museum . Admire the last incomplete work by Michelangelo, the  Pietà and other renowned artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci. 

Please note that some rooms at Sforzesco Castle might be closed due to restorations.
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.
Welcome to Milan: Private Half-Day Introductory 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:

  • Embark on an introductory city tour of the highlights of Milan, Italy’s financial hub and fashion centre;
  • Hear how locals describe Milan - the experiences that have shaped their worldview, and how they feel about fashion, tourism, and the future;
  • See the famous Teatro Alla Scala, one of the world's oldest and most famous theaters;
  • Walk along with the iconic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, with its luxury fashion shops and the famous quadrilatero della moda;
  • Pick up invaluable recommendations, advice, and tips on finding the best, local food as you explore highlights and off-the-beaten-track side streets;
  • Stop for photos in front of the famous Duomo, Milan’s stunning centrepiece;
  • Visit the Chiesa San Satiro, known for its false apse, an architectural optical illusion, attributed to Donato Bramante;
  • Wander through Piazza degli Affari and hear about the meaning of Il Dito sculpture;
  • Learn all about modern life in Milan while taking in the atmosphere and the beauty of this vibrant city;
  • Admire the Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore with stunning frescos that often go missed by tourists;
  • See the famous Sforzesco Castle, once the residence of the Royalty.

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 highlights and through its world-renowned shopping streets. 

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