“Every evening I went out, around one in the morning, to take another look at the Milan Duomo. This church, lit by a beautiful moon, offers a vision of ravishing beauty to the world. Never before has architecture awakened such sensations in me”
Stendhal, November 5th 1816
The Duomo, the cathedral heart of the city, is an architectural masterpiece that remains imprinted in the memory of all those who visit Milano. The thousands of intricately-carved spires and statues, like a forest of marble, is an awesome sight for those exiting the Metro or arriving from Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. It is not surprising to learn that its construction, which began in 1386 and lasted almost half a millennium, was commissioned by the Lord of Milano as a symbol of the glory and the grandeur of the city.
Milano’s Duomo is the largest and most elaborate Gothic building in Italy, made of pink-hued white marble from a dedicated quarry. It is 157 metres in length and, on the pinnacle of the main spire - 108.5 metres high - stands the glistening golden statue of the Madonnina, a much-loved symbol by all Milanese and visitors. In fact, there are numerous copies of Milano’s Madonnina around the world, there there’s even one on Everest!
The Duomo is also the largest Gothic building in the world where you can actually walk on the rooftops. So, a visit up to the terraces is highly recommended to admire an unmissable panorama of the city and the mountains. It is one of the 10 places to see Milano from above.
We suggest you walk beneath the ancient vaults to look around, but also upwards, in awe as the Duomo is the only church in the world that has sky-high statues on the pinnacles of the columns. It’s incredible to think that the statues surrounding the altar were already in place before Christopher Columbus discovered America!
Not to mention the fascination of the ancient remains located under the church parvise, which are over a thousand years old and have also witnessed the demise of Sant'Agostino and Sant’Ambrogio.
If you want to find out even more about the history of the Duomo, and admire the intricacies of the statues, don’t miss a chance to visit to the Museo del Duomo, adjacent to the cathedral.
All the info on opening hours, prices, promotions, guided tours ore on the official website.
NOT TO BE MISSED
Click here to find the 10 things not-to-be-missed when visiting the Duomo.
- In an attempt to avoid attracting the attention of the Allied bombers during the Second World War, the Milanese covered the gilded surface of the statue of the Madonnina with rags.
- A typical expression in Lombard dialect, a uf (free, without charge), seems in some way attributable to the Milan Duomo. According to tradition, it referred to "AUF - Ad Usum Fabricae", written on the marble slabs destined for the cathedral which made them exempt from customs duty.
Themed guided tours of the Duomo are organized every day: a great opportunity to get to know more about the secrets, facts and splendour of the cathedral, some tours are also dedicated to children. Find the complete calendar on the official website.
AROUND THE DUOMO
Being at the centre of the city the Duomo is surrounded by many landmarks: the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Museo del Duomo, the major exhibition venue Palazzo Reale, the temple of contemporary art Museo del Novecento, La Rinascente department store for fashion Made in Italy and top foreign brands, plus, the surrounding shopping streets to suit all budgets.
And if you’re feeling in the mood for food ... there are plenty of historical eateries around, whether it’s traditional Milanese or a take-away panzerotto.