Milano's Duomo is a never-ending discovery so, obviously, it cannot be left out of this particular itinerary. Among the 3400 statues that decorate both its interior and exterior (the highest number ever for any cathedral) you will see many monstrous figures, mainly functioning as gargoyles or rainwater drains. Spotting these winged monsters, snakes and dragons is a favourite activity for children when visiting the cathedral.
But there is more than just these scary figures: in the right-side transept, near the exit door, stands a statue that can be defined as truly horrorifing: the fascinating statue of the flayed St. Bartholomew.
At first sight it might look as if the saint has a cloak draped over his shoulders but, in fact, that is his own skin. According to tradition, St. Bartholomew, a disciple of Jesus, was flayed alive. The skinned body, therefore, depicts the muscles and blood vessels of his body almost like an anatomical study, with surprising and scary realism.
This striking statue aroused so much interest that it was moved from its original external position to the interior of the Cathedral, in a suitable place where it could be better admired. To this day, it is one of the most popular attractions for both the Milanese and tourists.
Last but not least, majestic Duomo can also lay claim to a phantom, namely Carlina, the unfortunate bride who, when visiting the roof terraces, fled screaming and fell among the spires because she was gripped by the remorse of expecting a child from a man who was not her husband. She was never found again.
Legend has it that even today she appears in the photographs of the spouses taken in Duomo, enveloped in a black dress, which was her wedding dress worn to deceive the feudal lord and prevent him from demanding ius primae noctis, i.e., the right to lie with the new bride on the wedding night. But do not fear her: it is said that her apparition is to wish the happy marriage she herself never had upon the young people in whose photos she appears.