Shopping & Dining in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
After observing an old Milanese tradition known as the ritual of the bull (grind your heel three times on a specific spot of the mosaic of the Bull positioned on the floor of the Galleria) you can indulge in some retail therapy by visiting the numerous (and, often, jaw-dropping) high-end boutiques that have taken up residence here (some years ago and some more recently). From the iconic Prada store to Versace’s latest gem, it’s impossible not to remain awestruck by the collections showcased in these spaces that tend to resemble museums rather than shops!
In the Galleria, haute couture takes centre stage. In addition to the aforementioned Prada and Versace, other standouts include Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani, Borsalino, Luisa Spagnoli, Bric’s, Tod’s, Swarovski, Stefanel and Massimo Dutti alternated with historic workshops (whose signs serve as an indication of their storied past), including Cadè (shirts and ties since 1926), Viganò Alta Moda (items for high fashion embroidery), Piumelli, renowned for its handmade gloves, Mejana, purveyors of time-honoured fountain pens and historic bookstores: Bocca, for art lovers, Libreria Poligrafico (Italian State Mint and Printing Institute) for coin collectors and the recently revamped Libreria Rizzoli Galleria: three floors all dedicated to the printed word!
You say ‘aperitivo’ and you immediately think of Camparino in Galleria, a landmark location and a reference point where Milan’s elite meet to partake in one of Italy’s oldest social traditions! For those in search of a taste of tradition, located just nearby is Luini (renowned for its one-of-a-kind “panzerotti”).
Conversely, those favouring a more sought-after gourmet experience can either opt to eat at the historical Ristorante Galleria, a reference point in the city since 1968, where you enjoy a taste of Milanese food and hospitality, at Savini (see the main photo), located at the first floor of the Galleria or Il Marchesino lying adjacent to Teatro alla Scala featuring a menu paying tribute to chef Gaultiero Marchesi, who inspired the name of the restaurant.
For the more ‘fashion oriented,’ a top-notch address is Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala located just moments away. And then again, if your idea of bliss is an unrivalled view over piazza Duomo a sure-fire choice is Giacomo Arengario, the restaurant of the Museo del ‘900.
Moreover, if restaurants by Michelin Starred chefs are what you’re looking, the Galleria boasts some cult destinations. On the 5th floor of the TownHouse Duomo Hotel, discerning diners can find Felix Lo Basso, featuring a panoramic terrace and a menu based on Mediterranean cuisine infused with passion and creativity, under the direction of Michelin awarded chef Felice Lo Basso. Or even the world of Michelin starred chef Carlo Cracco, whose restaurant – Cracco - cum bistro and cafe takes residence in front of the Prada boutique. Here sought-after creations ranging from pastry, salads up to traditional Milanese and Italian delicacies enhanced with a twist of creativity.
Around the corner
If after visiting all the boutiques in the Galleria, you still haven’t had your fill of shopping, we recommend several truly unique addresses located just a stone’s throw away. For the ultimate one-stop shopping experience look no further than la Rinascente (under the arcades): an amazing array of fashion items under just one roof! Just a little further one, the window displays of Rocca 1974 will seduce you with their collections of several of the world’s most desirable jewellery and watch brands, a perfect blend of passion, dedication, know-how and luxury.
If you’re in search of a special destination for exclusive gifts, head to Amleto Missaglia next to Teatro alla Scala. A reference point in Milan for the best Made in Italy cuts is Valli Tessuti Alta Moda, with the perfect fabrics to make elegant outfits. And don’t miss Stefano Ricci‘s Italian luxury boutique for men in search of a total look exuding elegance. Outliving (in via Agnello) offers a storefront packed with items for outdoor living, leisure time, holidays, travel and the home… and, if after all of this you realize that you might have gone over the top with your purchases and thus need an extra suitcase, Rimowa (in piazza San Fedele) offers some of the best travel luxury in the industry!