Milan Travel Blog› entry 8 of 20 › view all entries
This exceptionally large and elaborate Gothic cathedral on the main
The street plan of
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.
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
The cathedral is impressively large; it is quite dark and not terribly interesting inside.
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.