Milan is known world wide as the fashion capital of the universe and if you want to have fun people watching some of the best dressed men and women anywhere, then you’ll enjoy a visit to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The Galleria is just steps away from the famous Milan cathedral on the north end of the Piazza del Duomo. It is home to some of the trendiest shops such as Prada and Louis Vuitton, as well as some fine restaurants and quite sadly a McDonalds. The Galleria is basically just 2 streets that cross at a right angle in the middle covered by a roof made of cast iron and glass. The center is shaped like an octagon and covered by a beautiful glass dome. As is the case with many stunning original Italian designed things the Galleria has been the model for similar type malls all over the world. It was designed in 1861 and construction was completed in 1877.
It’s amazing that one small part of the world has been so influential throughout the history of mankind. From the Roman Empire to the Renaissance to modern times, Italy is always on the forefront of culture, art, design, fashion, food, and most anything else that involves some form of passion for celebrating life. Now If I could just afford some of that art, design, and fashion the trip to the galleria would have been even more fun. On one hand I’ve never really understood the allure of luggage that costs more than anything I could put into it, however if someone wanted to give me their old Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Maserati I don’t think I’d say no.
Content with window shopping and people watching during the day I was curious to see what the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was like at night. It was Christmas time and the whole place was decorated with tasteful lights, some of which can be seen just above the windows in the photo. There was a steady stream of shoppers coming and going and the whole place had a happy feeling to it. As I was taking this shot I remember that there were 2 friends who I assume had not seen each other in a while since as they crossed paths they embraced each other warmly and began talking in typical Italian style a mile a minute waving their hands around. Unfortunately for me I do not speak Italian so everything they were so excitedly telling each other sounded like they were singing. Italian is such a musical language and if there is a happier sounding language in the world I’d like to hear it. I always get a smile on my face when I hear people speak in Italian, not because I know what they are saying but because whatever they are saying is said with such passion. For all I know they could be saying that they just bought a bag of potatoes but to me it sounds like a song.