The centre and symbol of Milan's capital city, a masterpiece of art and architecture like no other, the Duomo di Milano is a compulsory stop for millions of visitors every year, as well as the heart and soul of the city for its people, who have all experienced significant moments in their lives in the square and inside the cathedral itself.  

With its spires, both majestic and delicate as filigree jewellery, it is the first thing you see when you step out of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele or come up the steps of the metro station. The interior of the Duomo is equally spectacular, and its beauty is accompanied by a wealth of anecdotes and curiosities, making it well-deserving of a closer look beyond the façade. And then of course there is the famous Madonnina, who dominates the city from high above, drawing the enraptured gaze of all those around. 


The Duomo of Milan: a story that dates back almost 600 years 

Work began on the construction of the Duomo of Milan in 1386, on the site once occupied by the previously destroyed basilicas of Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Tecla, initially commissioned by the Lord of Milan Gian Galeazzo Visconti. His grandiose project, considered by many to be completely unfeasible, resulted in the “Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo. 


The Gothic-style cathedral was built in pinkish white marble from the Candoglia quarries, an ambitious choice that required the construction of special canals to transport the material to the city centre and involved the finest craftsmen. 

The Duomo of Milan was, in fact, built thanks to the skill and know-how of the workforce who came not only from all over Lombardy, but from the entire continent: sculptors and stonemasons, chisellers, bricklayers, carpenters and other craftsmen, together with engineers and architects, made the “Construction Site” and the city a bustling melting pot of different professions and cultures. 1487 witnessed the participation of the great Leonardo da Vinci, who designed the lantern tower. 


The slow construction of the Duomo, marked by centuries of work and characterised by the alternation of different designers, resulted in the overlapping of elements borrowed from different historical periods, which makes the exploration of the cathedral really very exciting. 


The Fabbrica del Duomo became synonymous with a never-ending project, so much so that it spawned the Milanese saying “Lungh 'me la fabrica del domm”, which means “as long as the construction of the Duomo”. Contrary to popular belief, the work was finally completed in 1965. 

The timeless charm of a record-breaking monument

Like the Teatro alla Scala or Via Montenapoleonein the heart of the city, the Duomo of Milan enchants with its sophistication and with the excellence that distinguishes the capital of the Lombardy region.  


It is the world's biggest Gothic-style church: spanning a length of 157 metres, it can accommodate up to 40,000 people. It is also the religious building with the largest number of statues, 3,400, plus 135 gargoyles. 


Piazza Duomo in Milan, the nerve centre of the city, is the ideal place to be captivated by the majesty of the monument: looking up, you can admire the beauty of its 145 spires and the collection of statues of all kinds, not only religious. 


The sculptural decoration displays the overlapping of different periods in history, with some apparently curious choices that bear witness to socio-political aspects of the times. These include the boxer Primo Carnera, Napoleon, the New Law (identical to the Statue of Liberty), Dante, the dragon Tarantasio, Arturo Toscanini and King Vittorio Emanuele, as well as bizarre subjects such as a Roman helmet, boxing gloves, a pigeon and a tennis racquet. 


The most striking among the statues, however, is the famous gilded copper Madonnina del Duomo, which dominates the city from 108.5 metres above the ground, marking the highest point of the Duomo. 


The inside of the Duomo of Milan is no less impressive: upon crossing the threshold, an evocative light welcomes visitors, leaving them breathless, thanks to the immense and multicoloured monumental stained glass windows that decorate the floor with colour as the light floods in. The extraordinary decorations, the statues that also embellish the capitals of the imposing columns, and several very special features, such as the sundial dating from 1768, the sack of the Last Judgement, and the archaeological treasure hidden under the parvis, are worth a visit to this remarkable monument which sums up centuries of history in a unique style that combines international Gothic and Lombard architectural influences. 



Visiting the Duomo of Milan, a unique experience  

The Duomo of Milan charges an admission fee to visit the Museum and its splendid terraces. Climbing to the top of the Duomo of Milan is a must not only to admire the statues up close but also to enjoy the unique view of the city from Piazza Duomo which, on a clear day, stretches as far as the mountains. 

The roof of the Duomo is unique in that it can be walked upon, with walkways that can be reached on foot or using the lift and which lead to the terraces. Walking through the “stone forest” between the Gothic spires is a stunningly evocative experience. 

Visiting the Duomo of Milan means exploring the history of a legendary feat, the crowning of the dream of the Milanese people who have always supported the project of this architectural marvel in various forms.

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