Il Duomo (Milan Cathedral)

Cathedral in Milan

Milan Cathedral
Pixabay / eric delgrange

The imposing Cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente, more commonly known as “Il Duomo” to the people of Milan, stands as one of the world’s largest houses of worship, accommodating up to 40,000 individuals. It is an exemplar of Flamboyant Gothic architecture at its zenith. Construction began in the 14th century, but the completion of its façade didn’t occur until the early 1800s during Napoleon’s rule.

The rooftop is adorned with 135 intricately carved stone pinnacles, and the exterior is embellished with 2,245 marble statues. The interior, marked by its dimness and a stark contrast to the brilliant and intricately patterned exterior, leaves a lasting impression with its 52 colossal pillars. The cathedral boasts the world’s largest stained-glass windows in the nave, primarily dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, with the earliest ones located in the south aisle.

Noteworthy features within the cathedral include the seven-branched bronze candelabrum crafted by Nicholas of Verdun around 1200, the 16th-century tomb of Gian Giacomo Medici, and the ornate gold reliquary of San Carlo Borromeo within the octagonal Borromeo Chapel, accessible from the crypt. The choir, situated behind the high altar, showcases intricately carved panels and misericords underneath the seats.

The south sacristy houses a treasury containing gold and silver artefacts spanning from the 4th to the 17th century. A visit to the cathedral’s rooftop provides an awe-inspiring experience, affording panoramic views of the city and, on clear days, extending all the way to the snow-clad Alps. An elevator can transport you to the rooftop, with just the last 73 steps requiring a climb to reach the dome’s platform.

Near the central entrance of the Duomo, you can descend beneath Piazza del Duomo into the foundations of the Basilica di Santa Tecla, which dates from the 4th and 5th centuries, and the 4th-century baptistery, known as the Battistero di San Giovanni alle Fonti. These historical structures were unearthed during the construction of the Milan Metro system.

Purchasing Tickets for Milan Cathedral

There are two basic tickets both of which give you access to the Duomo and the Terraces (roof). The cheaper one is for access by stairs and the more expensive by lift.

 


The Il Duomo (Milan Cathedral) appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Milan!

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Visiting Il Duomo (Milan Cathedral)

Hours:

9am-7pm


Price:

From €16 to €33

Address: Milan Cathedral, Piazza del Duomo, Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy
Duration: 2 hours

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