• LOCATION 5 | The Best of Milan: Explore the City’s Secrets

    Duomo Cathedral

    Stop here in front of the statue.

    The man on the horse looking at the Duomo Cathedral is king Vittorio Emanuele.

    In Italian Duomo means the main church of a city. This is certainly one of the main cathedrals in Europe, and is the 4th largest. Its construction was also one of the slowest to build. Construction started in 1386 but it was finally completed only 6 centuries later, after World War II in 1965!

    The Duomo is completely made of marble, a special kind from Candoglia, coming from the lake Maggiore, north-west of Milan. It is colourful and changes colours due to different lights and weather, making the Duomo almost a living entity! This marble is fragile and gets damaged easily due to rain and pollution, that’s why there's always work going on: cleaning, restoration and replacing of statues.

    It is an endless job since the Duomo has 3500 statues! They are all different and dedicated to religious protagonists as well as animals, monsters and natural elements, you can find everything here! The most important statue of all is the one on the top. Can you see the gold statue on the main spire?
    It’s our “Maddonina”, in Italian little Virgin Mary, symbol of the city and essential protection for everybody: spiritual but also practical since she is holding a spear that works as a lightning rod.

    The Duomo is still used for celebrations, and it's possible to visit inside. But I especially recommend you climb to the rooftop and see the amazing view of the skyline. The Ticket office is on the right side of Duomo, with access to the stairs and elevator behind it.

    Before we move on, take a look also at this amazing square. Piazza Duomo is the main meeting point of the city, dedicated to religion, shopping and culture. Facing the Duomo, the large building to its right is Palazzo Reale, which host important exhibitions and shows and Museo del Duomo, dedicated to the cathedral. The contemporary building in front of it is the Museo del Novecento for contemporary art.

    Feel free to go visit the Duomo. You can close off the tour while you do. When you're ready, come back to this spot and start the tour by choosing Resume.

    Otherwise if you prefer to keep going, let me show you where to go next.

    With your back to the Duomo, you're going to make your way along the wide pedestrianized street on the right, branching off straight ahead, via Mercanti. I'll meet you on that street.

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The Best of Milan: Explore the City’s Secrets