Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Milan: A Glimpse into the City of Extravagance

Tiếng Việt

If I can only use one word to describe Milan, “extravagance” is the most appropriate word. From the exquisite Duomo to the opulent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, extravagance shapes life in this Italy’s metropolis.


Flanked by the Alps and the Po Valley, Milan was founded by Celtic tribes in the 7th century BC. Since then, the area has been continuously inhabited thanks to its flat terrain and close proximity to the lakes. Until the 16th century, Milan was governed by Italian dynasties, including the Torrianis, Visconti, and finally, the Sforzas. After that, the city fell under Spanish rule in 1525 and Austrian rule in 1713. Today, Milan is Italy’s second-largest city and the economic backbone of the country as it houses various industries and the nation’s stock exchange. It is also a global capital of fashion and design alongside Paris, London, and New York.

Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

There is hardly anything in Milan that is more extravagant than Duomo di Milano. Like a diamond tiara, the Gothic cathedral with all its spires and 3400 statues is the focal point of attraction. Though having a white appearance, the marvellous structure at the heart of Milan is actually made of pink marble from Candoglia and it took nearly 600 years to complete.

In the beginning, the project was considered unfeasible because there was no way to transport vast quantities of marble to the city centre. Canals had to be dug and new technologies were invented to perform a never-before-attempted task. Therefore, Milan Duomo presents not only the extravagance but also reflects the creativity and ambition of this city.

Milan Cathedral – a marble masterpiece
Advertisements

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

For any shopaholic, Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II might be equal to St.Peter’s Dome in Rome. Together with the Duomo, it is the city’s icon and an essential part of any trip to Milan. Built in the early 19th century, the Galleria is one of the oldest shopping arcades in the world (beginning with the Saint-Hubert Gallery in Brussels, the Passazh in Saint Petersburg, and the Galleria Umberto I in Naples). However, it has surpassed its predecessors in terms of scale and opulence.

Walking into the Galleria is stepping into the world of high-fashion. From Milan’s iconic brand Prada to Versace’s latest gem, you will undoubtedly be struck by their extravagant boutiques. The Galleria is also home to several historic stores, cáfe, and restaurants, such as the bookstore Bocca, the Biffi Càffee, and the Savini restaurants.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II at night
Advertisements

Sforzesco Castle

Though not as extravagant as the aforementioned attractions, the Sforzesco Castle is still a sight to behold. Originally built as a fortification in the 14th century, the castle features massive gates, high walls, and three impressive watchtowers. The main gate leads to an expansive courtyard which is embraced by beautiful loggias.

Throughout its history, the castle underwent several renovations. The first one dates back to the 15th century when the Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza, transformed it into a magnificent residence. Hence, the name Sforzesco. Years later, under the domination of the Spanish, the castle switched back to its former role as a fortress. The Spanish even enlarged it, turning the structure into one of Europe’s largest citadels at the time. These days, the castle becomes an art museum and a landmark of Milan.

Sforzesco Castle – One of Europe’s largest citadels in the 16th and 17th century
Flowers in the Sforzesco Castle

Practical Information about Milan

  • Both Duomo and Galleria are located exactly in the city centre. Easily accessible by Metro 1 and 3 – Station: Duomo.
  • A visit to the Duomo costs only 2€ (including the admission to the Crypt) but it might take some time as the queue is long. However, the line moves relatively fast.
  • Lift to the cathedral’s terrace costs 13€. The ticket office is on the right of the Duomo’s main entrance. You can also reach the terrace on foot. Admission price: 9€.
Advertisements

33 thoughts on “Milan: A Glimpse into the City of Extravagance”

  1. Bama – Jakarta, Indonesia – Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.
    Bama says:

    Impressive photos! Actually this is the first time I saw the exterior of Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II, as the previous images I saw were always taken from inside the gallery. For a second I thought it was a Transformer inside the Duomo, until I noticed the man on top of it. I guess he was cleaning the sculptures?

  2. Extravagant is definitely the right word. Did you go onto the roof of the Duomo? It’s so intricate and detailed, and presumably back in the day, not that many people would be going up there! Now of course they have concerts and stuff up there, which I wish I could’ve seen the last time I was in Milan!

    1. Unfortunately not 🙁 It was raining during my visit. The sun only came out at the last minute so I could not make it. I have to redo it! 🙂

      1. Definitely next time!

    2. fkasara – I'm Sara, a Northern Italian with experience in Italy's travel industry and hospitality sector. Other than the classic travel tips, in my blog I mainly share cultural and lifestyle aspects of the Belpaese, that often elude tourists, yet make our country unique. Be inspired, avoid cliches and let Italy spice up your life!
      fkasara says:

      I agree that visiting the roof of the Duomo is one of the best things to do in Milan <3

  3. Thanks for this very nice post! It makes me want to go there. Great photos as usual as well 🙂

  4. fkasara – I'm Sara, a Northern Italian with experience in Italy's travel industry and hospitality sector. Other than the classic travel tips, in my blog I mainly share cultural and lifestyle aspects of the Belpaese, that often elude tourists, yet make our country unique. Be inspired, avoid cliches and let Italy spice up your life!
    fkasara says:

    Lovely photos, as usual 😉 I hope that you don’t mind if I make you notice this: it’s Vittorio Emanuele (only one L), that was the name of the king 🙂

  5. Jolene – Sydney, Australia – Jolene is a banker by trade, a writer at heart, and is a contributor to Thought Catalog. You are welcome to peek into her adventures and reflections on films and life at "SoMuchToTellYou", her ultimate love affair with words.
    Jolene says:

    I wanted to do exactly this when I go… hmm I have been googling Milan and it seems like that’s what everyone does (everyone who only has a limited time to spend there). I love the photos by night…

    1. Thank you, Jolene 🙂 If you have a few more hours to spend, you can check out the opera (just walk through the Galleria and you will find it at the exist) or the Last Supper in a nearby church (forgot the name of it 🙂 )

      1. Jolene – Sydney, Australia – Jolene is a banker by trade, a writer at heart, and is a contributor to Thought Catalog. You are welcome to peek into her adventures and reflections on films and life at "SoMuchToTellYou", her ultimate love affair with words.
        Jolene says:

        Um… that’s exactly what I would have done if I had more time. It seems like Milan is pretty predictable

  6. Besides Duomo and the Galleria, are there anything else to see in Milan?

    1. Well, there are Leonardo’s Last Supper in the Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Sforza castle, the Opera house and the vibrant Navigly area

  7. beautwonder – An engineer, A white-collar employee, a Wanderlust, have dab hand in the kitchen, a DIY lover, a photoholic, a nature lover, a natural remedy virtuoso, last but not least LUXURY lover. Now want to be crackerjack in ----- (disclose soon) :)
    beautwonder says:

    Really extravagance, great work

  8. Megha's World – I’m a mother of a smart and energetic seven-year-old. I started expressing myself creatively since the last two years. Since then I have been continuously inspired by events in my life and around me which has helped me in penning my thoughts. I’m an avid reader, loves to sing, an ardent lover of poetry and sometimes can scribble few lines too. Loves to dance in the rain, have an undying love for nature, can watch the beautiful sunset for hours. Love to kiss and hug my loved ones. I have worked in the IT field for almost a decade as a manager, worked crazy hours and traveled around the world. In that busy schedule, I never got the time to creatively express my thoughts. Now every time I finish a poem, free verse anything it fills me with so much happiness and excitement and a feeling to have created something of my own. I’m planning to post at least one creation of mine weekly. Lastly, a million thanks to all who visit, like or follow my tiny bits of creation. Every time you do that, I get to know one more beautiful person in my life and get the chance to see their creation too.
    Megha's World says:

    Beautiful and really impressive photos. Europe is filled with beautiful and grand architecture. I have seen few countries in Europe it gets beautiful with every visit.

  9. Nano @ Travels With Nano – Tokyo, Japan – Hi, I'm Nano! Welcome to my site! Travels With Nano is filled with everything I am passionate about: uncovering the world one sight, bite and cultural experience at a time. I'm here to share savvy travel tips and inspire (not influence!) your future travel adventures. Needless to say, I am thrilled to have you here reading!
    Nano @ Travels With Nano says:

    I have never heard of the Sforzesco Castle before. So fascinating and impressive!

Leave a Reply