Difference between Galleria and Gallery

Key Difference: A galleria is actually a glass-enclosed promenade, which could house stores, a mall or anything of that sort. A gallery can mean a number of different things, an art gallery or a balcony that looks out over a view.

Galleria and gallery are two words that are quite confusing for many people and rightly so since they are so similar in terms of spelling and pronunciation. Well, don’t fret! This article will reveal the exact difference between the two. The secret is: There is none! That’s right; there is no difference between the two, except for the language. Galleria is an Italian term meaning “gallery.” The term ‘galleria’ and ‘gallery’ can be used in various different contexts. Let’s try and distinguish between the different contexts these words can be used in.

The term ‘galleria’ actually means a glass-enclosed promenade, which could house stores, a mall or anything of that sort. Though originally it did not use to refer to malls, these days the term ‘galleria’ has become synonymous with shopping malls. The term is accepted from the Medieval Latin same word, ‘galeria’ meaning “gallery”. A galleria could also house restaurants, offices, shops and can even refer to an art gallery. However, art galleries may not always have the glass roof; they would still be referred to as galleria. The term galleria became synonymous with shopping mall because of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy that was a shopping mall that is housed in a huge glass structure.

Thefreedictionary.com defines ‘galleria’ as:

  • A roofed passageway or indoor court usually containing a variety of shops or businesses.
  • A central court through several storeys of a shopping centre or department store onto which shops or departments open at each level

 In addition to the definition above, the term ‘gallery’ is commonly used to refer to art galleries. More commonly the term ‘gallery’ refers to a medium enclosed space with appropriate lighting for showcasing artworks. The room should be quite empty with a lot of wall space (the gallery owner could also place false walls for additional wall space) and maybe benches. Art galleries are the place where many new and upcoming art pieces are displayed for people to come and look at it. The people also have the option to meet the artist and purchase the art pieces. Art galleries may or may not offer refreshments. In addition to paintings, the art galleries could exhibit portraits, sculptures and any other art pieces. The term gallery can also refer to a balcony that is attached to an upper floor in a building or a theatre. It defines a small open terrace or a balcony that that is attached to a higher floor for a view of the surroundings. Many old theatres and opera houses have seats that placed on a higher floor that are referred to as the gallery or the balcony seats, which are considerably cheaper than the main floor seats.

Thefreedictionary.com defines ‘gallery’ as:

  • A roofed promenade, especially one extending along the wall of a building and supported by arches or columns on the outer side.
  • A long enclosed passage, such as a hallway or corridor.
  • A narrow balcony, usually having a railing or balustrade, along the outside of a building.
  • An upper section, often with a sloping floor, projecting from the rear or side walls of a theater or an auditorium to provide additional seating.
  • The cheapest seats in a theater, generally those of the uppermost gallery.
  • A building, an institution, or a room for the exhibition of artistic work.
  • An establishment that displays and sells works of art.
  • A photographer's studio.

Image Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org, canadahouse.com

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