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The World’s Oldest Mall: Gallerio Vittorio Emanuele ii

The World’s Oldest Mall: Gallerio Vittorio Emanuele ii

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The Gallerio Vittorio Emanuele ii, named after the first king of Italy is a beautiful mall located beside the Duomo or Milan Cathedral in Milan. It is the world’s oldest shopping mall and is the dream destination of any self-professed shopaholic. It was designed in 1861 within a four storeyed double arcade. The mall was built by famous architect Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877. Though a 19th century building, the Gallerio maintains its elegance and beauty even today. Though the mall has only expensive shops, elite stores and pricey restaurants you can still go window shopping as the mall is worth visiting! The Vittorio mall has been the shopper’s destination ever since its completion in 1877.

The Gallerio is topped by a glass dome above a mosaic shield. The Galleria paved way to the evolution of the modern glazed and enclosed shopping mall. The two glass vaulted arcades of Galleria is shaped in such a way that it covers the street connecting the Duomo Cathedral to Piazza del Scala. The Milan Cathedral is dominated by the mall’s triumphal arch. During Christmas, the decorated dome dims the beauty of even the Piazzo del Duomo! Many other shopping centres of the 19th century like the Burlington Arcade in London and Saint Hubert Gallery in Brussels were also constructed in a similar fashion. Though the entire mall has a covered ceiling it still gives one the feeling of shopping outdoors. Gallerio is also architecturally very significant as it is one among the surviving constructions of the 19th century elitist designs.

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The construction of this vintage mall is simply grand and is the perfect set-up for taking pictures. The ground floor of the mall has four mosaics portraying the Coat of Arms of the three capitals Italy (Turin, Florence and Rome) and Milan. It’s an ancient myth that if a person stamps on the genitals of the bull depicted on the Turin Coat of Arms and turn around for three times, it will bring him good luck. However the belief has resulted in creating a hole in place of the bulls’ genitals! Vittoria Mall is thus a lively, noisy and colourful shopping mall steaming with life. The building however has only high-end fashion stores, but the incredibly arched, glass ceilings is a must watch and the mall is absolutely worth a stroll. Moreover sitting at one of the outdoor restaurants and watching people over beer is great fun.

Because of the uncountable number of shops in Galleria and its popularity as Milan’s common meeting and dining centre, it is also nicknamed ‘il salotto di Milano’ (The drawing room of Milan). According to a 2013 census, the mall has the most number of luxury retailers selling jewellery, books and paintings as well as posh restaurants, bars and cafes. It has one of the most decorated McDonald’s in the world. The Gallerio is also home to some of the oldest shops and restaurants in Milan. The Biffi Café (the first café in Milan to have electric lighting), the Savini restaurant and Bernasconi, a famous silverware store are few of them. In 2012, by refusing McDonald’s a renewal of its tenant period, Gallerio hit the media as controversial news. Today, in place of the famous café stands the mall’s second Prada store.

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Gallerio has at least fifty high-end boutiques selling the latest Italian fashion.  It is indeed one of the greatest landmarks for shoppers round the globe. The magnificent building is also host to the famous Prada Flag Ship’s store. The shopping arcade takes us to the world of international shopping, housing many of the global elite brands. It’s a fun place to visit and go window shopping. Borsalino, a store in Gallerio provides the best hats you can ever get hold of! So if you are a hat lover, Gallerio is your place! Louis Vuitton, Gucci and several other outlets are found here, although the architecture alone is worth a trip.

Once you reach Milan, there are several buses, metros and trams that provide access to this place. You can stay at Park Hyatt located next to this incredible piece of architecture and still enjoy its majesty day or night. Gallerio is one place where you can find all the big fashion names under a lovely glass roof. Sometimes you can also find street performers here who are fun to listen to and watch. Though very expensive, Gallerio is one place where you can pass a happy 20 minutes by just taking in the atmosphere and the sights. It is a beautiful building that was years ahead of its time when completed. Compared to most American malls, Galleria is an excellent fusion of stone, steel and glass.

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The Gallerio Vittorio Emanuele ii mall is sin doubt the most breathtaking gallery in the entire world with top end stores and eateries. The architecture, painted frescoes and amazing mosaic floors with astonishing designs, drawings and images make the gallery seem all the more unique. In addition to taking credit for being the first mall in the world, Gallerio is also renowned for its majestic elegance. It’s worth a visit if you are in town. Just a peep into the innumerable counters located in the various corners of the mall gives you an unforgettable experience. People tour Milan for three primary reasons: One, its shopping; two, the Duomo and three, Gallerio Vittorio.


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