Your Comprehensive Travel Guide to Milan’s Largest Gothic Cathedral | Duomo Milan

The Milan Cathedral, commonly known as Duomo di Milano, stands as a magnificent Gothic masterpiece located in the heart of Milan, Italy. Dating back to the 14th century, it is adorned with 135 spires and over 3,400 statues, symbolizing high Gothic...

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Duomo Milan

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Simone da Orsenigo et al

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2 hours








30-60 mins (Peak), 0-30 mins (Off Peak)

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Did you know?

The Protective Madonnina: Perched atop the Duomo since 1774, the Madonnina guards Milan with a hidden weapon—she conceals a lightning rod within her Halberd, protecting herself from the elements.

Centuries in the Making: Construction of the Gothic cathedral began in 1386 and concluded in the 19th century. Adorned with 34,000 statues, 135 spires, and 55 stained glass windows, the Duomo showcases centuries of craftsmanship and artistry.

Archaeological Treasures: Beneath the Duomo lie ancient ruins dating back to Roman times. The archaeological section reveals remnants of two churches and a baptistery, providing glimpses into Milan's rich history.

Duomo Milan Tickets & Tours

Why is the Duomo Milan So Famous?

  • 'Duomo di Milano is the 5th largest church in the world. It 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 4000 statues, gargoyles, and figures.
  • Witness 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.
  • Climb up the terrace and 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.

Who Built the Duomo Milan?

Duomo Milan Architecture

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.

Duomo Milan Highlights

About Duomo Milan

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Duomo Milan

Q. What is 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.

Q. Where is the Duomo Milan?

A. The Duomo Cathedral is located in the heart of Milan in Italy.

Q. What is the Duomo Milan famous for?

A. The Duomo Milan is famous for being one of the world’s largest gothic cathedrals.

Q. Why should I visit the Duomo Milan?

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.

Q. How do I book tickets to visit the Duomo Milan?

A. You can book your Duomo Milan tickets online.

Q. How much is a ticket to visit Duomo Milan?

A. Your Sagrada Familia tickets start from €9.

Q. Who built the Duomo Milan?

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.

Q. When did the Duomo Milan open?

A. The Duomo Milan opened on 6 January, 1965.

Q. What’s inside the Duomo Milan?

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.

Q. What are the Duomo Milan opening hours?

A. The Duomo Milan Cathedral is open daily from 8 AM to 7 PM, the terraces from 9 AM to 7 PM daily, and the archaeological area from 9 AM to 7 PM daily.

Q. What are the mass timings at the Duomo Milan Cathedral?

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).

Q. Why is the Duomo Milan important?

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.

Q. Is it worth visiting the Duomo Milan?

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.