This is an excerpt from the book “Milan” by Enrico Massetti.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the first buildings in Europe in glass and iron. King Vittorio Emanuele II himself inaugurated it in 1867.
People in Milan call it il salotto di Milano because it is the traditional meeting place of the Milanese; indeed it offers a wide range of cafès, restaurants such as the traditional restaurant Savini as well as fashion boutiques and the most essential bookshops in the city.
It’s plan is a Latin cross with an octagonal center. It’s the famous Ottagono, every single Milanese regards it as the heart of the city. A central dome expanding into four branches one of which overlooking Piazza Duomo dominates it. The main branch connects Piazza Duomo with Piazza Scala and is the preferred promenade for La Scala amateurs who love strolling around with their fashionable evening dresses before enjoying a performance at La Scala Theatre.
A sizeable Neoclassical building, it’s a result of the original re-elaboration by architect Piermarini between 1772 and 1778 of a pre-existing palace that was the seat of Spanish governors in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The original construction had a court facing the palace. Piermarini replaced It afterward by a large area by . He wanted it to become a vast square.
The square as we can admire it today has preserved the features according to Piermarini’s design.
The bombs of 1943 severely damaged most of the palace, including the splendid Hall of the Caryatids.
Nevertheless, it is the most important exhibiting space in the city hosting internationally renowned exhibitions of works by outstanding artists such as Monet, Kandinsky, Picasso and presentations on artistic movements that have marked the history of art.
The city carried out over the most recent years reconstruction works to reclaim vast and prestigious areas to host more permanent and temporary exhibitions.
end of the excerpt, you can buy the full content of the book “Milan”