sights / Religious

Duomo information

Milan , Italy
Piazza del Duomo
Getting there
Metro: Duomo
More information
roof terraces adult/reduced stairs €7/3.50, lift €12/6, Battistero di San Giovanni €6/4
Opening hours
Duomo 7am-6.40pm, roof terraces 9am-6.30pm, Battistero di San Giovanni 10am-6pm Tue-Sun
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A vision in pink Candoglia marble, Milan's extravagant Gothic cathedral aptly reflects the city's creativity and ambition. Commissioned in 1387 and finished nearly 600 years later, it boasts a pearly white facade adorned with 135 spires and 3200 statues, and a vast interior punctuated by the largest stained glass windows in Christendom. Underground, you can see the remains of the saintly Carlo Borromeo in the crypt and explore ancient ruins in the Battistero di San Giovanni. Up top, the spired roof terraces command stunning views.

Begun by Giangaleazzo Visconti, 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.

For a spectacular view, look out through the innumerable marble spires and pinnacles that adorn the rooftop: on a clear day you can see the Alps.