Results 11-18of 18 Reviews
Great Falls, Virginia
April 12, 2006
From journal Milan
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
November 8, 2004
Began in 1386, the neo-Gothic finishings were only added to its façade in 1813 under Napoleon. From the 16th century, top architects submitted designs for the façade, but it wasn’t until 1805 to 1813 that the bronze doors and reliefs were finally built. In 2002, the Duomo’s exterior underwent scaffolding for a major cleaning set to last a few years.
The world's largest Gothic cathedral, the second biggest in Italy and the third largest in the world, has more than 3,500 exterior statues. The interior is a thicket of 52 pilasters ringed with statues of saints in niches. The Gothic tracery is actually ingenious trompe l’oeil paintings dating from the 16th century. The dimness helps the illusion.
Battistero Paleocristiano is to the left of the entrance, where excavations uncovered traces of Roman baths from the 1st century, a baptistery from AD 287, and a 4th-century basilica. To the right, you will see stained-glass windows, which create splashes of coloured light in the otherwise gloomy interior. The oldest, on the right aisle, date from 1470; the newest from 1988.
The funerary monument to Gian Giacomo Medici, on the right transept, was created by Leone Leoni from 1560 1563. It is a life-size bronze statue of the man dressed in Roman armour. Just beyond the monument is Marco d’Agrate’s gruesome carving of 1562, which depicts the flaying of Saint Bartholomew with his muscles and veins exposed and his flayed skin thrown over one shoulder.
The ambulatory towards the back is open only to worshippers, but you can see a lovely example of a 14th-century Lombard sacristy door. Stairs nearby lead down into the crypt, where the body of Saint Charles Borromeo rests in a crystal coffin.
The roof is accessible by stairs (or lift) and worth the climb, as it gives you an unfettered panoramic view of the Piazza below. The roof boasts a Gothic crown of spires, gargoyles, statues, and tracery. Perched on top of the Duomo’s central spire, standing 108m above ground, is the gilded copper "Little Madonna." It has been watching over Milan since 1774 and, for centuries, was the highest point until the Pirelli Tower stole that title.
Free to enter between 7am and 7pm daily. Access to roof is daily, 9am to 5:45pm (except February 16 to November 14, when it closes at 4:15pm). The cost is 5€ by lift and 3€ by stairs. You cannot enter the cathedral with bare shoulders or shorts and skirt that are above mid-thigh.
From journal Milanese Musicale
June 21, 2003
Construction of this ancient church began in 1386, but not completed until the 19th century - when Napoleon was crowned king of Italy.
We walked around the entire Duomo to get our bearings . . . more like gazed wide eyed and open jawed and somehow managed to move one foot in front of the other. Totally amazing . . . you have to see it to truelly understand. The statues and the spectacularity of the details is truelly astounding. Everything seems to tell a story even the doors. And the whole time, I felt as if I was lower on the 'ladder' of life than the sinners as the bottom sculptures. The doors were kinda creepy -- like the ones in the film The Haunting.
Being inside was a conflicting experience. On the one hand we were intruding on people's place of prayer, on the other I wanted to see all the items described in the DK guide book. There's supposed to be a nail from Jesus' cross on display, but the limited access made it difficult to see properly. The stained glass windows also seem to give me the 'bottom of the ladder' feeling. There's an ancient bapistry that you can pay to enter. It's where St Ambrose baptised St Augustine in AD387 -- just remember that all info's in Italian.
And then the big moment we paid to walk up to the roof. Considering how hot it was during our stay (+30 degrees Celcius most days), the step climbing could have been avoided by taking the (more expensive) lift. If you're only in Milan for one day, or a few hours . . . you HAVE to get up to the roof of the Duomo. It's mandatory. I went camera trigger happy up there. And that was just taking pics of the actual Duomo's roof, let alone the city view!
Just be careful to avoid the pigeon feeders as you cross the piazza to get to the Duomo -- they tend to put the feed in your hands without your consent and then . . . the pigeons come.
From journal Church hopping in Milan
November 20, 2002
The spacious interior can keep a congregation of 40.000 god-botherers inside on a good praying day. The cathedral is said to house a nail from Christ's cross, which is publicly displayed once a year (2nd sunday of September). Far more accessible is the Christian baptistry (entrance inside the church, €1), which is build around 378 AD and so predates the church itself by a millenium.
A stairway on the north side of Duomo leads up to the rooftops of the magnificent cathedral (entry €3) - an elevator is also avaliable for those weak of heart or foot, for a slightly steeper price (€5). The rooftop terraces provide an unparalleled close look at the architecture of the Duomo - and one of the best panoramas of Milano. The walk up allows you to burn off some of the italian-food-induced calories and get ready for your next large meal with something akin to a clear conscience.
From journal Milano by Rain
November 6, 2001
We took the elevator (open 9:00am - 4:30pm) to the rooftop terraces. Even with the elevator, there are plenty of steep stairwells, odd corners, and narrow passages to traverse in order to reach the top. It's hard to explain, but this building exhudes somewhat of a creepy, yet not unenjoyable midieval feeling.
The view of the city from the rooftop terraces is spectacular to say the least. It is also a good place to get a close up look at some of the statues that top the roughly 3,500 spires. It seems as though every statue is one of a kind, representing either saints, animals, or monsters. The rooftop terraces and the view of the city from them are a must-see in Milan.
Also of note are the Duomo's five huge doors housing bronze reliefs, which were made between 1840 and 1965.
The Piazza del Duomo is a popular spot for locals to enjoy their midday break, and there are typically many street performers in the Piazza as well.
From journal Milan in October
San Francisco, California
April 25, 2001
From journal Milan- A Real Italian Experience
New York, New York
November 2, 2000
From journal Two Days in Milan
by Julie Hood
Galveston, Texas, Texas
July 24, 2000
From journal MEETING MILAN