Your Comprehensive Travel Guide to Milan’s Largest Gothic Cathedral | Duomo Milan
Located at the heart of Milan, Duomo Milan is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world that incorporates Renaissance and Gothic architectural styles. It provides a 360-degree view of the beautiful city, which is admirable and something that you can relish as a tourist. Get an overview and history of the Duomo Cathedral, explore its architecture and a lot more with this quick guide.
What is the Duomo Milan?
Duomo di Milan or the Duomo Milan Cathedral is an iconic symbol that is located in the heart of the city of Milan. Known for being a great example of the northern Gothic style in Italy, its spires and towers truly dominate Piazza del Duomo. The exterior of the Duomo Milan is an upwardly thrusting collection of elongated statues, pinnacles, and flying abutments.
With a capacity to house up to 40,000 people, the Duomo Milan is one of the largest Catholic churches in the world, with a wonderful ancient interior, great ambiance, and unique charm that makes the place worth a visit.Visit the Duomo Milan
- Official Name: Cathedral of Milan
- Address: P.za del Duomo, 20122 Milano MI, Italy
- Date of Opening: 6 January 1965
- Timings: Daily from 9 am to 7 pm
- Architects: Simone da Orsenigo et al.
- Architectural Style: Gothic and Renaissance architecture
- Number of Visitors Per Year: 5 million persons
Where is the Duomo Milan?
Address: P.za del Duomo, 20122 Milano MI, Italy
Duomo Milan is the largest cathedral church in Europe and the third-largest in the world, situated in Milan, Lombardy, Italy. The structure is just a few minutes away by walk from the Royal Palace of Milan.
Duomo Milan Opening Hours
- Duomo Milan Cathedral is open daily from 9 AM to 7 PM. The last admission is at 6:10 PM.
- The rooftop section is open between 9 AM and 7 PM from Monday to Thursday and 9 AM to 8 PM from Friday to Sunday.
- The archaeological area is open from 9 AM to 7 PM, daily.
- The Crypt of Saint Charles is open from Monday to Friday between 11 AM and 5.30 PM, Saturdays between 11 AM and 5 PM, and Sundays between 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM.
- The museum is open from 10 AM to 6 PM, on all days except Wednesdays.
Why You Should Visit the Duomo Milan?
- Check out Duomo di Milano for its infrastructure – the 4000 statues, gargoyles, and figures, with the size of a city block on the interiors, making it the 5th largest Christian church in the world.
- See the most precious thing in the cathedral – The Holy Nail relic, which as per the legend was the same one used during the crucifixion of Christ. The red light bulb illuminates over the altar creating a significant impact.
- On your visit, the roof climb is a must-do to soak in the incredible views of the city and the chance to see the 135 spires rising above the cathedral.
- Witness how the sundial on the floor near the main entrance was once used to regulate clocks in the whole city.
- Admire the gilded statue of Madonnina and the Virgin Mary, situated on top of the highest spire of Milan Cathedral.
Why is the Duomo Milan So Famous?
- Duomo di Milano is an iconic tourist attraction in Italy as it is the 5th largest church in the world that can accommodate upto 40,000 people.
- The Cathedral was designed by legends across 9 generations. Thousands of artists, craftsmen, builders, and 78 architects from across Europe worked on the structure for 500 years!
- It is famous for its contrasting styles, such as Romanticism, Gothic Revival, and Gothic, Flamboyant, which display the work of various art legends from different generations.
- Duomo Milan is famous for its collection of statues and artworks displayed all over the site and the museum.
- Witness the nails from the crucifixion of Christ placed at the altar in a dome.
History of the Duomo Milan in a Nutshell
In 1385, with the aim to replace the existing cathedral on site, a new one was commissioned by Giangaleazzo Visconti. The work had begun in 1386, but soon in 1402 it had all stopped due to a shortage of funds and lack of ideation.
In 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte helped in financing the construction and much more of the cathedral was built including the pinnacles, spires, flying buttresses, and the roof. The flying buttresses are pillars that form an arch with the walls they support often topped with vertical ornamentation.
New stained-glass windows were made between 1829 and 1858 to replace the existing ones. In 1943, the city was bombed, which ended up impacting the church and it had to be repaired. The construction of the church was not completed until 1965 when the construction was finally done and the cathedral was open to the public.
Who Built the Duomo Milan?
The construction of the Duomo Milan Cathedral began in 1386. Its purpose was to modernise the area and celebrate the expansion of the Visconti territory, as the construction had coincided with Gian Galeazzo’s Visconti coming into power.
Many architects across Europe worked on the project as it evolved and it took close to 6 centuries to complete the structure. There were around 78 architects who worked on the Duomo, a few of them namely, Donato Bramante, Pellegrino Tibaldi, Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, Francesco Maria Richini, Cristoforo Solari, Giulio Romano, Bernardo Zenale, Andrea Biffi, and Francesco Croce, to name a few.
Architecture of the Duomo Milan
Duomo Milan, otherwise known as the Milan Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral, the construction of which progressed over many centuries. Its style moved to be more Renaissance between the period of the 14th and 17th centuries, a time when many technological advances took place in Europe.
Duomo Milan was originally going to be built from terracotta brick, but it eventually changed to marble early on during the construction process. The façade of the marble was constructed over a period of years and its style is different from the ground to the top. The lower level follows Renaissance in design while as it goes higher, it follows a Gothic design as this part was built between 1645 and 1812.
The Gothic style is characterized by dramatic ornamentation and height, both of which are evident here. The cathedral contains over 3400 statues and thousands of individual spires. The tallest amongst these is 354 ft. tall and has a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary known as La Madonnina.
Duomo Milan | Highlights
The Door of Cathedral
Amongst the five doors, the central door is the largest and is themed around stories from the life of Mary. Carved in 1906 by Lodovico Pogliaghi, you can spot different aspects - from the Cross, the Crucifixion, the Nativity of Jesus, the Visitation, Christ carrying the Cross and the Flagellation of Christ, Jesus taking his farewell of his Mother, the Annunciation, the Marriage of the Virgin and the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. All of these are portrayed from the left to the right and from top to bottom.
Statue of Saint Bartholomew Flayed Alive
Known for being one of the best artworks in Milan, this is a sight to sore eyes. The statue is famous for the creepy stares that it gives you and its intricate features. The sculpture is a depiction of St. Bartholomew, who is one of the twelve apostles, who was beheaded.
Church of St. Gottardo
Situated close to the Piazza Duomo, this church features a combination of Lombard Gothic, Neoclassical and Baroque styles, with a charming bell tower. The Church of St. Gottardo has popular artworks from Puccio Capanna and Stefano, to name a few.
Otherwise called the ‘Lantern spire’, Madonnina is the centerpiece of Milan. The huge statue is of the Virgin Mary and is composed of gilded copper plates and portrays the city’s heritage and culture.
Duomo Archaeological Complex
The archaeological complex houses numerous antique churches and sites. The popular sites within the Duomo archaeological complex include the Basilica Vetus, the Baptistery of Santo Stefano alle fonti, Basilica di Santa Tecla, an ancient center of the Christian religion, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and more.
Duomo Milan has 5 impressive bronze doors that open the way to the cathedral square. Made between the years 1896 and 1965, each of these doors has many characters carved that depict the stories in the Bible and the history of the place. The central door is the largest amongst the lot and weighs 37 tons. This door depicts the life of the Virgin Mary.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Duomo Milan
A. The Duomo Milan is an iconic symbol of the city and a famous landmark in the world. It is also one of the largest cathedrals in Italy and Europe.
A. The Duomo Cathedral is located in the heart of Milan in Italy.
A. The Duomo Milan is famous for being one of the world’s largest gothic cathedrals.
A. The Duomo Milan is one of the biggest Gothic cathedrals made and is one of the largest churches in the world. You must visit it to witness the fine architecture on the interiors as well as the exteriors and to get an insight into its rich history.
A. Construction of the Duomo Milan started in 1386 by Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo and Lord of Milan Gian Galeazzo Visconti. There were many other architects who helped in building the cathedral like Donato Bramante, Pellegrino Tibaldi, and more.
A. The Duomo Milan opened on 6 January, 1965.
A. Duomo Milan is an impressive church with so much to explore within its interiors. It has five naves, one central and four lateral, 40 pillars, and is crossed by a transept followed by the choir and the apse. It is also famous for housing the 'Holy Nail,' which was allegedly used during the crucifixion of Christ.
A. Weekdays: 7:30 AM, 9 AM, 10:30 AM (Gregorian Chants), 12 PM and 6 PM (with organ); Sundays and Holidays: 7:30 AM, 8:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM and 6 PM (in the Baptistery).
A. Famously known for its Art Nouveau and Catalan Noucentisme architecture, the Sagrada has been constructed for a really long time and is worth visiting to get an insight into its design and history that the place beholds.
A. Duomo Milan is a Catholic church in Italy and is famous for holding the title of being the second-largest cathedral in the world. It is decorated with a great number of beautifully sculpted statues and spires.
A. It is absolutely worth visiting the Duomo Milan as it provides you with a breathtaking view of the incredible city and a close look at the intricacies and the features of the place.