Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Milano is a shopping mall in Milan which, in the form of a covered pedestrian street, connects Piazza Duomo to Piazza della Scala. Due to the presence of elegant shops and clubs, since its inauguration it was the meeting place of the Milanese bourgeoisie, so much so that it was nicknamed the living room of Milan. Built in neo-Renaissance style, it is one of the most famous examples of European iron architecture and represents the archetype of the nineteenth-century shopping arcade. Simply called the Galleria by the Milanese, it is often considered as one of the first examples of a shopping center in the world.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Milano – History
The presence of covered passages of Milan intended as arcades dates back to the medieval city. In the thirteenth century, Bonvesin de la Riva noted in his Wonder of Milan the presence of about sixty porticos in the city. With the advent of the Sforza the arcades were gradually demolished. Milan was the first city in Italy, with the De Cristoforis gallery, to adopt a passage. The De Cristoforis gallery was an isolated case and for thirty years it was the only gallery in Milan.
The idea of a street that connected Piazza Duomo and Piazza della Scala was promoted in 1839 by Carlo Cattaneo. The viability of the area was tortuous and intricate. Based on narrow streets of medieval origin. It became less and less manageable with the growth of city traffic. The idea of dedicating this new route to King Vittorio Emanuele II came on the one hand as a result of the enthusiasm for an independence found by Austria. On the other hand, the municipal council hoped to obtain more easily the permits for the expropriation of the building blocks necessary for the work.
On 3 April 1860 the Municipality of Milan announced the construction competition for the new route. Construction contract awarded to the English company City of Milan Improvements Company Limited. The ceremony for the laying of the first stone by King Vittorio Emanuele II took place on 7 March 1865. The actual conclusion of the work dates back to 1876 when the entrance arch and the northern porticoes of Piazza Duomo were completed.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Milano – XXth Century
From March 2014 to April 2015 the Gallery has been subjected to the most profound restoration since the Second World War, in view of the Expo 2015. The restoration allowed to bring the plasterwork of the Gallery back to its original colors. Further cleaning of stone and decorative cement surfaces was followed. The restoration has involved personnel for a total of 35,000 working hours on 14,000 square meters of surfaces involved. To protect commercial activities and for limited time requirements, restorations were carried out without the use of fixed scaffolding, but with a self-propelled portal inspired by the scaffolding used by Brunelleschi in the construction of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Milano – Address
Piazza del Duomo – Milano
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