Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Milano: Golden Arches

Galeria%20Vittorio%20Emmanuel.JPG Mickey%20D.JPG

MILAN, Italy--The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, an elegant covered shopping mall with two intersecting, vaulted arcades, was built in the 19th century as a showcase of glass and wrought iron architecture. You enter from the Piazza del Duomo through a triumphal arch dedicated to the first king of the newly united Italy. (Tragically, the architect fell to his death while inspecting the stained glass dome two days before the king himself arrived to dedicate the complex.) Today its fancy jewelers and designers include Prada; its caf├ęs include Biffi and McDonald's.

Yes, and a very tasteful Mickey D it is, too, where visitors and locals alike line up for their Big Mac value meal: only 6.90 euros, about $11. Even more surprising: in a country that has never recognized its upstart imitator of its coffee culture (that would be Starbucks, folks), there's also a big line at the McCafe inside.

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