Duomo is the Italian word for “cathedral”.
With a floor area of 109,641 square feet, Duomo di Milan is the world’s third largest Christian church and is the oldest of the three.
Located in Piazza del Duomo, Milan, Italy. The cathedral has 3,400 statues, 700 figures, and 135 gargoyles.
Construction of the cathedral began in 1386 under Bishop Antonio da Saluzzo, with support from the archbishop’s cousin Gian Galeazzo Visconti.
However, three main buildings had to be demolished before the actual construction could begin
The chief engineer, Simone da Orsenigo, declared that he would build the cathedral should in Lombard Gothic style.
However, work did not continue uninterrupted on the construction. From 1386 till 1402 a variety of engineers and architects had a part in the design and construction, often in different styles. Work effectively halted in 1402 until almost 1500.
Construction and adornment of the building continued in fits and starts through from the early 1500’s to the early 1800’s.
When Napoleon was crowned King of Italy, there was, at last, an impetus to the building progress. In 1805, Napolean ordered that the façade be finished, and after seven more years, the cathedral, at last, had a complete façade.
Following this, most of the missing spires and arches were completed, statues finished and stained glass windows replaced.
January 1965 saw the inauguration of the last gate of Duomo di Milan. This is the date recorded to represent the end of the construction, meaning that it took a mere 576 years to build the Duomo.
What to do in Duomo di Milan
Duomo di Milan is in the center of the Milan and a must see when for visitors to the wonderful city. Not only is this the largest Cathedral in the Milan, but it’s also one of the most beautiful.
It is wonderful inside and out with its Gothic-style and amazing architectural design.
The Sacred Destinations website contains some interesting information about the cathedral, including a detailed history and list of forthcoming events.The site lists visitor access hours as:
- Cathedral: daily 6:50am-7pm
- Roof: daily 7am-7pm
- Crypt: daily 9am-noon and 2:30-6pm
- Baptistery: Tue-Sun 10am-12 and 3-5pm
- Museo del Duomo: Tue-Sun 9:30am-12:30pm and 3-6pm
Duomo di Milan also specifies an expected dress code, which matched that of the Buddha Tooth Relic and Museum in Singapore.
You should be mindful of your attire when planning a visit, because unlike some other churches and temples that will provide a shawl as a cover-up, Duomo will not offer you one. The security people will simply tell you to go away because your dress is inappropriate.
So before ruining your visit here is a list of styles of dress that won’t be allowed inside the cathedral:
- Off the shoulder outfits
- Backless and Sleeveless dresses
- See-through dresses
- or any clothing that features bare-midriffs
- above the knee dresses and skirts
Make sure you cover your legs, your shoulders, and your cleavage. You can purchase cover-ups at the nearby shops.
When you are inside the cathedral don’t forget to visit the rooftop, it may cost you a couple of Euros to access the rooftop, but it is surely worth it for the experience.
You can take the lift up or the stairs on the south side of the cathedral.
From the terrace, you will see breathtaking views across the City of Milan. You can view the snow-capped peaks of the Alps on clear days.
From the roof, you will be able to see the Madonnina, a golden statue of the Virgin Mary above the cathedral’s highest spire.
If you can’t get inside the church for some reason, the exterior design of the church is marvelous; and there are also great stores, shops and restaurants near the cathedral where you can enjoy delicious foods with pasta and wines.
Getting Your Ticket to the Cathedral
You’re able to avoid the queues at the ticket office of the Duomo, especially around noon time in summer, where lining up can be quite oppressive.