A landmark of luxury in Milan

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Between 1998 and 1999 I spent a year living in the northern Italian city of Milan.   Till today many people ask me “why Milan”? Surely Rome or Florence would have provided a more authentic “cultural” experience.  But within the cosmopolitan metropolis that is the fashion capital of Italy, I fell in love with the city’s historic centre. From the quaint Navigli district, perched on the canals, to the imposing Duomo, the gothic cathedral that rises up from the square that carries the same name, to me, the centre of Milan was somewhere I never tired of visiting day after day.

This unique environment evokes an atmosphere of classic sophistication and elegance that is synonymous with Milan.  And no part of it more so that the Galleria VIttorio Emaniele II.  Dubbed one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, this four-story arcade screams luxury as you step foot through one of its magnificent archways into one of the glass-vaulted arcades.

Due to a lack of government funding the Galleria risked falling into disrepair. That is until Italian fashion heavyweights, Prada and Versace stepped in to fund a cultural restoration of this landmark.  This, coupled with the departure of the McDonald’s franchise in 2012 after the landlord refused to renew its tenancy, is slowly restoring the Galleria back to the hub of luxury that I always felt it was.  Housing designer brands like Prada, Louis Vuitton, Versace and hat designer Borsalino, this corridor between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza la Scala is as beautiful and refined as the merchandise it puts on display.

The year-long restoration is now close to completion. The caked on dirt, dust and soot have almost all been painstakingly removed from the facade and statues that adorn it.  The next part to receive some well deserved TLC is the leaky glass roof.  This project has been earmarked to start in 2016.


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