galleria milano

One of the great fashion cities of the world – the stylish Italy where bella figura is a Milanse peroccupation

Whilst there is no question that the Duomo is a sacred site for many people, and Vittoria Emanuele has an important part in Italian history, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is an important part of Italian cultural heritage and could be described as a sacred site for marketing historians and could be described as a monument to commerce.

The Galleria is strategically located on the Piazza del Duomo adjacent to the magnificent Duomo Milano [Milan Cathedral]. The Galleria has been recently renovated and is the flagship store to many of the world’s finest fashion brands. Within the complex are hotels, restaurants, and cafes.

The choice of location for the Galleria is superb, it is next to the Duomo and the building provides a grand façade for one side of the Piazza del Duomo. When completed in 1877, the Galleria represented a new era in retailing, improvements in customer comfort and an improved shopping experience. The Galleria with the glass roof provided the Milanese with a covered meeting place and a walkway between the Duomo and the nearby La Scala Theatre.

The Galleria comprises two glass vaulted arcades that intersect; the buildings on the intersection are truncated and this forms a large open octagon which is covered in a large steel and glass vaulted dome.

When it first opened the Galleria was a major advancement in the retailer’s ‘quest to best satisfy’ and to have control over the weather. This was part of an evolution which began with The Burlington Arcade in London. The advancements in steel manufacture and fabrication made the Galleria possible. Interestingly,  the Galleria was one of the first buildings in Milan to instal electric lighting. This icon in retailing is one of the world’s oldest shopping centres.

Looking down, the mosaic floor is a work of art, it is tradition to find the mosaic of the bull and to put one’s heal on the bull’s private parts and spin 360o, the ‘ritual of the bull’ is a popular activity, so much so that a small crater has formed from the spinning.
Looking up the buildings and roof exquisite. Many of the people in the Galleria are tourists, and they wear the shoes, clothes and back-packs of tourists the world over, however, tourists are in contrast to the elegant and beautifully presented Milanese on their way to work, or a little shopping, or a meal with a friend or enjoying the Italian past-time of passeggiata.
The shop windows are beautifully presented and walking through the Galleria takes window-shopping to a new level. The signage for each shop is a graceful gold lettering on a black background and this creates a uniformity that is pleasing to the eye. The Milanese, like to meet and enjoy an ‘aperitivo’ or share a meal with friend and this magnificent building has plenty of choice in cafes, restaurants, and hotels – one restaurant is dedicated to Luciano Pavorotti, although he was born in Modena 180 kms away he was a regular performer at the nearby La Scala Theatre.
Just outside one exit of the Galleria is the monument to Leonardo da Vinci – he certainly pulls a crowd. At another exit is the monument to fast food and the golden arches of McDonalds. I recall that McDonalds were once inside the Galleria, however, I was informed that their lease was not renewed and they settled on a new location just outside. Anna and I decided to visit McDonalds, we walked up the stairs to the first floor to look down the arcade, we watched the people in the acrcade go about their business for a few minutes, however, the tables covered in fast-food litter and the noise of young tourists motivated us to find a quieter location to people watch – Nevertheless, Maccas Milano, is a great vantage point and, perhaps, at a less busy time would be less unpleasant.

I can understand if the owners of the Galleria wanted to keep the fast-food brands out of the Galleria; as many of the shops in the Galleria reflect Milan’s heritage as a fashion destination, after all many of the top labels have a store within the centre and often the flagship store of the brand is at the Galleria – after all this is Milano and a need to maintain bella figura.


Task: Consider the management of the Galleria

  1. Do you feel that having the right mix of shops is important to the success of the shopping mall?
  2. Would you consider that people would visit and shop at the Galleria because of the mix of shops?
  3. Do you feel that the management of the Galleria are managing and Aggregate product where aggregate satisfaction is important? [click the image to access the exemplar]
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