Among one of the most important (and majestic) Gothic buildings in the world, the church, constructed on and off over a period of 450 years (begun 1386) is the symbol of Milan. Built in the shape of a Latin cross, the cathedral is divided by soaring pillars into five naves, the largest of which measures 45 metres in height. It has 135 spires and its inside columns measure 3 and a half metres in diameter. To experience the Duomo at its most majestic you must ascend to the roof (either by elevator or by steps) where you will be surrounded by an outburst of pinnacles, turrets and marble statuary and, naturally, the city’s famed golden “Madonnina”.
Guided tours for small groups help visitors learn about the secrets behind the Duomo’s construction. The tour starts from the back of the choir which leads to the Crypt housing the tomb of San Carlo Borromeo, and then moves on to the Archaeological Area where you’ll find the remains of the Battistero di San Giovanni alle Fonti, dating back to 397 A.D. This is where Sant’ Ambrogio christened St. Augustine. Next is the old Basilica of Santa Tecla (4th century). If you wish to admire the golden statue of the Madonnina close-up, need to ascend to the terraces, where you can wander among statues and spires. Before accessing the Cathedral and its treasures, visit the nearby Museo del Duomo, located inside Palazzo Reale. The museum houses more than 150 masterpieces from the 15th century to the present time, including statues, architectural models, plaster casts, terracottas and paintings.
If you’re on a tight schedule but want to learn more about the secrets of the Duomo, you can take advantage of the new Duomo Milano App for smartphones, featuring images and content in 9 languages including Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese.
Tickets: regular tickets starting from 8 euro. reductions available.
For more insights on the access fares, please check the official website.
Opening Hours: Cathedral, daily 8am-7pm