Galleria Vittorio Emanuele was built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877 using 353 tons of iron for the structure and glass. The octagonal gallery is 32m (104ft) high and its main entrance is a massive arch that faces Piazza del Duomo. The gallery has been considered ‘Il Salotto di Milano’ since then and nowadays is one of the sites of luxury shopping along with via Montenapoleone and via della Spiga. Many brand shops, restaurants, famous cafés, bookshops and the Rizzoli megastore frame the promenade that goes from the Duomo to the Theatre alla Scala.
All the shops located in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele have golden signs with black backgrounds and you can still see the typical lighting system of the second half of the 19th century which consists of white spheres on elegant copper frames, once gas-powered. The tradition of Milan imposes to spin around three times with a heel on the testicles of the bull from Turin Coat of Arms which is on the left side of the central octagon for it is said that this will bring good luck.