"Duomo" Duomo - Cathedral Tip by TRimer

Duomo - Cathedral, Milan: 195 reviews and 444 photos

by TRimer

At the heart of the city, Milan’s Cathedral is the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, begun in 1386 and added to each century thereafter.

The best time to visit is in bright sunshine, when the windows create a kaleidoscope of colour through the cavernous interior.

St Charles Borromeo, its most important benefactor, lies buried at its heart. A champion of the Counter Reformation, he commissioned the wooden choir, many of the statues and the nivola, the peculiar basket that is used in one of Milan’s stranger ceremonies. Twice a year (May and September), Milan’s most important relic, a nail from the cross of Christ, which has been displayed over the high altar since 1461, is brought down by the bishop who is hoisted up there in the nivola. Visitors should explore the underground octagonal chamber where Borromeo is buried (Lo Scurolo di San Borromeo) and the adjacent Treasury. World War II bombs thankfully just missed the Cathedral’s roof, which nests amid a majestic web of flying buttresses, spires and pinnacles. Above the forest of statues (there are over 3400), the small gilded copper statue of the Virgin, the ‘Madonnina’, erected in 1774, stands over the central lantern, 108.5m (119ft) above the city. Visitors should take the lifts outside the apse to avoid climbing the 158 stairs. On a clear day, the view north extends as far as the Alps.

The Musea del Duomo next door is well worth a visit for L10,000/EUR5.

Address: Piazza del Duomo 18
Directions: Opening hours: Daily 0700-1900.

Admission: Free (Cathedral); L2000/EUR1 (Treasury); L9000/EUR4.50 (terrace by lifts); L6000/EUR3 (terrace by stairs).

Phone: (02) 7202 2656
Website: http://www.duomomilano.it

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Mar 4, 2005
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