Battistero di San Giovanni
Il Grande Museo del Duomo
Stepping through Guido Canali’s glowing spaces in the Duomo’s new museum is like coming upon the sets for an episode of Game of Thrones...
Empress Maria Theresa’s favourite architect Giuseppe Piermarini gave this town hall and Visconti palace a neoclassical overhaul in the...
Tucked beneath the arches of Palazzo Reale, this period cafe with a secluded upstairs reading gallery is a good place to grab a coffee...
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 extravagant Gothic cathedral, 600 years in the making, aptly reflects the city's creativity and ambition. Its pearly white facade, adorned with 135 spires and 3400 statues rises like the filigree of a fairy-tale tiara, wowing the crowds with its extravagant detail. The interior is no less impressive, punctuated by the largest stained-glass windows in Christendom, while in the crypt saintly Carlo Borromeo is interred in a rock-crystal casket.
Begun by Giangaleazzo Visconti in 1386, 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.