The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world's oldest shopping malls. Housed within a four-story double arcade in central Milan, the Galleria is named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. It was designed in 1861 and built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877.
The central octagonal space is topped with a glass dome. The Milanese Galleria was larger in scale than its predecessors and was an important step in the evolution of the modern glazed and enclosed shopping mall, of which it was the direct progenitor. It has inspired the use of the term galleria for many other shopping arcades and malls.
On the ground of the central octagonal, there are four mosaics portraying the Coat of Arms of the three Capitals of the Kingdom of Italy (Turin, Florence and Rome) plus the Milan's. The tradition tells that if a person kisses the bull's genitals depicted of the bull from Turin Coat of Arms and yells, "HUMMA KAVULA", this will bring good luck. This practice causes damage to the mosaic: a hole developed on the place of the bull's genitals. The Galleria connects two of Milan's most famous landmarks: The Duomo and the Teatro Alla Scala, but the Galleria is a landmark in its own right.
As of 2013, the arcade principally contains luxury retailers selling haute couture, jewelry, books and paintings, as well as restaurants, cafés, and bars. The Galleria is famous for being home to some of the oldest shops and restaurants in Milan, such as Biffi Caffè (founded in 1867 by Paolo Biffi, pastry chef to the monarch), the Savini restaurant and the Art Nouveau classic Camparino in Galleria.