Milan Duomo: the Guide to Visiting the Cathedral
Milan Duomo is one of the most famous monuments in Italy, a majestic cathedral whose marble spiers offer a unique and unmistakable spectacle. The Duomo, the official name of which is the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Vergine Maria, is the symbol of the Lombard capital and the third largest church in the world.
It stands on the remains of the ancient church of Santa Maria Maggiore: after the collapse of the bell tower in 1386, Archbishop Antonio de 'Saluzzi decided to erect a new cathedral in the religious heart of the city. The construction was later entrusted to Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti, who promoted an ambitious project, namely the construction of a grandiose work with the use of the precious Candoglia marble.
Over the years, the cathedral has been the subject of works intended to embellish the external facade and the works of art contained within it, interventions that have allowed it to last until today, giving unique experiences to its visitors. Walking outside the cathedral you will be greeted by its majesty, inspired by Gothic art and embellished with bas-relief decoration and seventeenth-century reliefs. You can admire the Statues of the Apostles and the Prophets, positioned on the external shelves and the sinuous shapes of the New Law, the statue of Camillo Pacetti that many scholars indicate to have been a source of inspiration for the construction of the Statue of Liberty in New York.
The interior of the church
Entering the main door of Milan cathedral, you will be fascinated by the splendid stained-glass windows, a unique example of the history of Italian glass art, which has been handed down to the present day from the nineteenth century. Among the unmissable architectural elements during a visit to the Milan cathedral is the statue of San Bartolomeo Scorticato, where the saint shows the skin lying on his shoulders as if it were a stole. Entering from the central entrance, you can see a brass line that rises three meters along the wall: it is the sundial made in 1776 to indicate the date of Easter.
Your visit to the Milan Duomo will take you on a journey of curious and panoramic views: from the Rito della Nivola, a seventeenth-century elevator that every year brings the Holy Nail of the crucifixion to the ground suspended on the high altar, up to the statue of St. Napoleon, commissioned by Cardinal Caprara, when the city was under the dominion of Bonaparte.
For those who love breath-taking panoramic views, a visit to the wonderful terraces of the cathedral is a must, to peer into the city from above and take in the sunset surrounded by the shapes of the surrounding spiers. Right in the main spire is the famous Madonnina, a gilded copper statue that has dominated and protected the city since 1774.
Opening hours and tickets information
Milan Duomo is open from Monday to Sunday from 8 to 19, while the terraces are open from 9.00 to 19.00. Tickets to visit the church and the Cathedral Museum, housed in the rooms of the nearby Royal Palace, cost 7 euros. The visit to the terraces costs 10 euros if you go up on foot and 15 euros if you prefer to use the lift.
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