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The Duomo Milan Museum - 600 Years of History!

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Duomo Milan Museum | A Living History of the Duomo

The Duomo Milan Museum sits near the cathedral inside the cathedral and is a must-visit place to complete your Duomo Milan experience. The museum was inaugurated in 1953 and holds important artifacts that were at some point a part of, or displayed inside the Duomo Cathedral. Here you will find a range of statues, terracotta casts, stained-glass windows, tapestries, and much more created by various artists and craftsmen that span the six-hundred-year history of the Duomo's construction. The Museo del Duomo in other words tells a living history of the grand cathedral and the work of the Veneranda Fabbrica, one of collective effort and devotion. 

Why Visit Duomo Milan Museum?

Duomo Milan Museum

Plan Your Visit to the Duomo Milan Museum

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What to See Inside the Duomo Milan Museum?

The Museum is divided into 14 thematic areas across 26 rooms on the ground floor of the opulent Palazzo Reale. The exhibitions are arranged in chronological order. This ensures that visitors begin their journey exploring artworks, sculptures, and artifacts from 1386 onwards as move along the historical timeline of the Duomo's construction up to the 20th century.

Treasury of Museum

The Treasury of Museum

The first two rooms of the museum house the Treasury of Milan Duomo which contain artifacts that were originally stored in the sacristies of the Duomo Milan Cathedral. There are liturgical objects including vestments and manuscripts that were used in the period between the 5th and 17th centuries. A prominent artifact here is the Diptych of the Five Parts which is two intricately carved tablets of ivory that were meant to be a gospel book cover.  

Processional Crosses

Processional Crosses

Among other processional crosses, you will find the Chiaravalle Cross, a large gold cross possessing Romanesque qualities that were used in processions. It is ornate with golden embellishments on the sides, while the inner frame is comprised of an amber red. This cross also has historical significance, once carried by Archbishop Ottone Visconti during the battle of Desio in 1277 which established the sovereignty of the Visconti family in Milan.

Artifacts and Artworks

Artifacts and Artworks

In a long display cabinet, you will find several chalices and patens that were used during the liturgical services at different points in the history of the church. You will also find beautifully designed monstrances with transparent containers that were used to keep the blessed host after the celebration of the Eucharist. Enthroned Madonna with Child and the Presentation of the Child in the Temple are elaborate altarpieces that are worth viewing. Other noteworthy paintings include The Hummingbird Mitre and the Madonna dell'Idea. 

The Gonzaga Tapestries

The Gonzaga Tapestries

A series of precious tapestries were donated to the Veneranda Fabbrica in 1569 by Saint Charles Borromeo (an important patron in the construction of the church). There are elaborate depictions featured in the tapestries with stunning details and the use of color that are interwoven with wool, silk, silver, and even gold. The Stories of Moses series is the most renowned collection that captures various scenes from the biblical story of Moses. Other noted works include the Cherub's Games. 

The Wooden Model

The Wooden Model

Known as the Modellone, this wooden model is the oldest and largest architectural scale model of the Duomo Milan Cathedral. Crafted by Bernardino Zenale in 1519, it is produced at a scale of 1:22 and has been worked on for over three centuries, acting as a draft design of the cathedral. Made from lime wood, walnut, and pine, the structure is intricately carved and embodies many aspects of the outer cathedral including its fine pinnacles, spires, flying buttresses, and embellishments.

Madonnina

The History of the Duomo Milan Museum In a Nutshell

Duomo Milan Museum

In the second last decade of the 19th century, discussions on having a dedicated museum to preserve the rich history of the Duomo Milan and centuries of arduous work took place. Nine rooms of the oldest wing of the Palazzo Reale on the ground floor were secured by the Veneranda Fabbrica from the State Property Office to house the cathedral's valued artifacts and exhibit them. The museum of inaugurated in 1953, with an installation by Ugo Nebbia. The collection of the Museum had grown following the increase of damaged artifacts during the bombings of World War 2 and from the transference of artworks from the storage of the Veneranda Fabbrica and the sacristies of the Cathedral. In the 1960s, ten more rooms were allocated by the Municipality of Milan for use by the Museum. After extensive renovations and expansion under architect Guido Canali, it was reopened to the public on November 4, 2013.

Insider Tips

  • The entrance to the Museo del Duomo is situated on the left side of the Palazzo Reale's courtyard
  • The entrance to the museum is wheelchair accessible with a small inclined ramp.  
  • A.M.E.I. Association of Italian Ecclesiastical Museums, FAI – The National Trust for Italy and I.C.O.M. International Council of Museums cardholders may enter the Museum for free. 
  • Gian Galeazzo Hall, on the mezzanine floor of Palazzo Reale, is open for dedicated events which can be accessed through the lift. 
  • To enjoy the museum better, you may go on a guided tour or opt for an audio guide to take you through all the important parts of the museum. 

All Your Questions About Duomo Milan Museum Answered

Are Duomo Milan Museum tickets available online?

Yes, tickets for the Duomo Milan Museum can be purchased online separately.

What are the timings of the Duomo Milan Museum?

The Museum is open to the public every day, except Wednesday from 10 AM to 7 PM.

What is the Duomo Milan Museum?

Duomo Milan Museum is a museum inside the Milan Cathedral complex that houses historic artifacts and artworks related to the Duomo Milan Cathedral.

Where is Duomo Milan Museum located?

The museum is located on the ground floor of the Palazzo Reale of Milan in Piazza del Duomo, Milan, Italy.

Why was the Duomo Milan Museum built?

The museum was built to preserve and showcase the history and art associated with Duomo Milan Cathedral which took centuries to build.

Do I have to follow a dress code to enter Duomo Milan Museum?

There is no specific dress code, but visitors are expected to dress modestly and appropriately.

How can I get to Duomo Milan Museum?

The museum is located in the city center at the Piazza del Duomo and can be reached by public transport, car, or by walking.

What can I see inside the Duomo Milan Museum?

The museum houses numerous artworks, statues, liturgical objects, tapestries, and historic artifacts associated with the Duomo Milan.

Can you just walk into the Duomo Milan Museum?

Yes, visitors can enter the Duomo Milan Museum, but they need to purchase a ticket beforehand.