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The Duomo

Milan Travel Blog

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A great shot at night

This exceptionally large and elaborate Gothic cathedral on the main square of Milan, the Duomo di Milano is one of the most famous buildings in Europe. It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world. I loved my visit here and took all day to explore this symbol of Northern Italy. I realized that I only seemed to take photos of this icon. Oh well. It was great.

 

The street plan of Milan, with streets either radiating from the Duomo or circling it, indicates that the Duomo occupied the most important site in the ancient Roman city of Mediolanum.

Looking up
Saint Ambrose built a new basilica on this site at the beginning of the 5th century, with an adjoining basilica added in 836. When fire damaged both buildings in 1075, they were rebuilt as the Duomo. In 1386 the archbishop, Antonio da Saluzzo, began the new project in a rayonnant Late Gothic style that is more characteristic of France than Italy.  The work took generations to complete. The main spire was topped in 1762 with a statue of the Madonna, to whom the Duomo and its predecessor have always been dedicated. Even today, some un-carved blocks are still there and can be sculpted into what I am sure would be beautiful works of art. Gothic construction on the rest of the Duomo was largely complete in the 1880s. The Duomo is still going through some major renovations and cleaning as evident b y the scaffolding on the west side.

 

Milan's Duomo is the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world: only Seville Cathedral is larger (and St.

Those great doors
Peter's Basilica doesn't count because it's not a cathedral). The litature states that about 4,000 people could fit in it at one time.

The Duomo seems to be between Gothic and neo-Gothic, for the Gothic west front was begun in 1616 and completed 200 years later. Only in its details does it reveal its Baroque and Neo-Classical date. From 1900 some of the less Gothic details of the facade were replaced in a true Gothic style, to designs of Giuseppe Brentano.

The roofline has spires and is topped with statues that overlook the city. The main spire is really high. You can see all of these up close by taking a walk along the roof, for a price.

The huge building is made of brick faced with marble.

 

The cathedral's five wide naves are reflected in the hierarchic openings of the facade.

Up close to those carvings in the doors
Even the transepts have aisles. They said that the great windows of the choir are the largest in the world. Mark Twain, a great fan of the Duomo said this in his writings:

What a wonder it is! So grand, so solemn, so vast! And yet so delicate, so airy, so graceful! A very world of solid weight, and yet it seems ...a delusion of frostwork that might vanish with a breath!...

The central one of its five great doors is bordered with birds and fruits and beasts and insects, which have been carved out of the marble that they seem like living creatures-- and the figures are so numerous and the design so complex, that you can just stand there for weeks, but the people behind you who also want a photo wouldn’t be too happy.

They say that the Cathedral of Milan is second only to St. Peter's at Rome. I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands.

The cathedral is impressively large; it is quite dark and not terribly interesting inside.

Inside the cathedral

However, all the extras of the Duomo are very interesting: the roof climb; the treasury; and the excavations of the Early Christian baptistery.

 

The roof climb provides a unique and memorable opportunity to walk high on the roof of this huge Gothic cathedral. The views are super and the opportunity to see the pinnacles and sculptures close up along the way is worth the climb alone.

To go upon the roof, you have to walk outside the building, on the left looking at the building. You can walk up the stairs - which are solid, square, and roomier than many cathedral stairways - or take an elevator for a higher price.

 

You can also go through the crypts and that’s pretty interesting. On a Saturday in September, the nail from Christ’s cross is brought out of its home in the crucifix on a ceiling vault behind the altar.

williamsworld says:
It was a very interesting and beautiful place
Posted on: May 31, 2010
nik2blessed says:
get it...you did well
Posted on: May 28, 2010
williamsworld says:
Thanks guys
Posted on: Jan 26, 2010
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A great shot at night
A great shot at night
Looking up
Looking up
Those great doors
Those great doors
Up close to those carvings in the …
Up close to those carvings in the…
Inside the cathedral
Inside the cathedral
A bit dark on this shot
A bit dark on this shot
A wonderful nativity scene
A wonderful nativity scene
Lighting of candles
Lighting of candles
Looking out
Looking out
Milan
photo by: williamsworld