Duomo di Milano
Milan Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Italy, and the 5th largest in the world. The exterior of this Gothic cathedral has detailed stone work depicting biblical scenes and saints. There are over 3,400 statues, gargoyles, ect, all of them different from the other.
Milan Cathedral is the cathedral church of the city of Milan and the home of Cardinal Angelo Scola, the current archbishop. This lovely and historic church is dedicated to Saint Mary of Nativity.
Milan Cathedral is located on the main square of the city, next to another architectural extravaganza, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Bishop Antonio da Saluzzo commissioned the construction of the cathedral in the year 1385. Construction started in 1386 with the overwhelming support of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the first-ever duke of Milan. Visconti who owned marble quarries gave access to it in order to commence the construction. The building of the cathedral was exempted from tax. The duke also invited notable architects from across Europe to help.
The building of the cathedral did not come fast and easy. Because it is remarkably huge and exceptionally elaborate, it took more than six centuries to complete. The cathedral was finally consecrated in 1418, although final works were continually applied until 1965.
Although undeniably expansive, the inside of the cathedral is quite dark. The interior has five large naves (main body of the church) that are divided by 52 pillars. These pillars represent the number of weeks in one whole year.
Inside the cathedral, you will find impressive marble. In addition, there are many stained glass windows, and murals, that tell many stories. Many beautiful paintings and artwork. Including the Trivulzio Candelabrum and the Altar of the Madonna of the Tree. The Renaissance marble altar, the three magnificent altars designed by Pellegrino Pellegrini and the statue made by Marco d’Agrate, an Italian sculptor, called St. Bartholomew.
Beneath the main altar, take the steps down to see the the actual body of St Charles Borromeo, who was known for his devotion and charity.
The best part is going up to the roof. Which requires paying either for the elevator or for using the stairs. There are about 170 steps. A bit tiring, but not impossible. There is only one elevator, so you can just imagine the long line. You have to pay €7 to climb the steps of the Duomo. It cost €12 to use the elevator. You will be rewarded with a breathtaking view from the top of this magnificent place, it gives a whole new perspective to Milan. It also gets you closer to the statues, so you can really enjoy even the small details. Try to get there for sunset, so you can capture some fantastic pictures.
The entrance to Milan Cathedral is free, but donations are accepted at various places throughout the church.
Be advised that if you would like to take photos while you are inside, you are supposed to buy a wristband to be able to do so.
Guards will turn tourists away for being inappropriately dressed. You can not enter with strapless or sleeveless tops. Ladies, shorts/skirts have to be below the knee.
I strongly suggest you rent the self-guided audio tour. It is very simple to use, and it also includes a map to guide your tour. You can also hire a tour guide to really enjoy this visit. They do a wonderful presentation, it's literally a tour through the history of Milan.