Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a covered double arcade (two arcades intersecting in an octagon) sited on the northern side of the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, connecting to the Piazza della Scala. Named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of united Italy, it was originally designed in 1861 and built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877.

The street is covered over by an arching glass and steel roof, a popular design for nineteenth-century shopping malls or "arcades" such as the Burlington Arcade, London, which was the prototype for larger glazed shopping arcades, beginning with the Saint-Hubert Gallery in Brussels (opened 1847) and the Passazh in St Petersburg, (opened 1848) and including the Galleria Umberto in Naples (opened 1890).

The central point 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 shopping mall. It has inspired the use of the term galleria for many other shopping arcades and malls. The Galleria connects two of Milan's most famous landmarks: The Duomo and the Teatro Alla Scala.

More than 120 years after its inauguration, the four-story arcade includes elegant shops selling most things from haute couture to books, as well as restaurants, caf├ęs and bars. Directly connected to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is Milan's ultra-luxurious Park Hyatt hotel, offering the city's most luxurious (and most expensive) rooms and facilities.

The front of the arcade was used as part of the location shots in the movie "Kinky Boots". I borrowed the DVD from Portland's Public Library the other day and couldn't help but recall my visits to "Milano" during my years working as a freelance photographer in Europe. There is a park very near the North Train Station which is just down the street from the arcade and Duomo. I happen to wander down to that park one after and honestly I've never seen so many syringes shattered in the grass where the city's junkie had shot-up. It was disguising but it was also a side of the city the average tourist would never see. That same afternoon there was a traveling circus being put-on near the main train station and I was able to get some really nice photos as the circus workmen went about their business. Milan is not the most glamorous city in Italy but it can be interesting. Find out more about Emanuele and the city of Milan at:

Research info gathered at:

Now here's a poem with lots of glass:

A Speaker Assuming Multiple Elations

Next, we try it in Technicolor.

She wears a porch swing. I wear a slamming door. Ears
of corn. Buckets of nails. Held captive for a whole week
in a linen closet. Or maybe the true confession of a stray
bullet in lukewarm water. A longing to harness the same
horse. "This time I want to be the doctor", she insist, as
if the stethoscope could be taken seriously. "I don't care
as long as I get to bugger the vampire in the end", I reply,
making sure the rain coat is the right size. A surgical
procedure as seen on TV. An S&M dungeon without a
sound system. Using my own bullet. Or maybe the fig
leaves are really plastic...

googly-eyed worlds of nearsighted voyeurs...
then wearing nothing but our birthday cards.
Orange juice with the seeds still in it.

A knife spreading cream cheese on rye toast.
Then two weeks later, we receive this urgent
message from a Transylvanian probate lawyer.

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