Battistero di San Giovanni
Museo del Duomo
Empress Maria Theresia’s favourite architect Giuseppe Piermarini gave this town hall and Visconti palace a neoclassical overhaul in the...
Teatro alla Scala Box Office
With the Duomo as a backdrop, a glass ceiling and a scattering of classic Eames chairs and Bertoia bar stools, the menu at this...
Piazza del Duomo · interesting places nearby
A vision in pink Candoglia marble, Milan's cathedral aptly reflects the city's creativity and ambition. Its pearly white facade, adorned with 135 spires and 3200 statues, rises like the filigree of a fairy tale tiara, wowing the crowds with extravagant detail. The vast interior is no less impressive, with the largest stained glass windows in Christendom, while below is the early Christian baptistry and crypt, where the remains of the saintly Carlo Borromeo are on display in a rock crystal casket.
Begun by Giangaleazzo Visconti in 1387, the cathedral's design was originally considered unfeasible. Canals had to be dug to transport the vast quantities of marble to the centre of the city and new technologies were invented to cater for the never-before-attempted scale. There was also that small matter of style. The Gothic lines went out of fashion and were considered 'too French,' so it took on several looks as the years, then centuries, dragged on. Its slow construction became the byword for an impossible task (fabrica del Dom in the Milanese dialect). Indeed, much of its ornament is 19th-century neo-Gothic, with the final touches only applied in the 1960s. Crowning it all is a gilded copper statue of the Madonnina (Little Madonna), the city's traditional protector.
The most spectacular view is through the innumerable marble spires and pinnacles that adorn the rooftop. On a clear day you can see the Alps.