The Milan Cathedral, also known as the Duomo di Milano, is undeniably the most remarkable building in Milan. Located in Piazza del Duomo, this enormous cathedral is a witness to 600 years of history and counting.
Although it cannot surpass the size of other historical cathedrals, such as Brazil’s Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida and Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica, the Duomo of Milan is still a large church. In fact, it covers a whole city block, amounting to a total of 109,641 square feet. As a result, the world considers it one of the biggest Christian churches.
If you plan to visit Milan Cathedral soon, check out some of the amazing information you need to learn about it.
What to Expect
The Milan Cathedral has six various areas that are not really connected to one another but are found on the same site. They are the following:
1. The Rooftops of the Cathedral
2. Inside the Cathedral
3. The archaeological area
4. Crypt of Saint Charles
5. Duomo Museum
6. San Gottardo Church
Aside from the Crypt of St. Charles and the archaeological area, every area has its entrance. If you want to visit the archaeological area, you have to enter the church first. Its entrance is located next to the cathedral’s entrance/exit.
It was in 1386 when Bishop Antonio da Saluzzo began the construction of the Milan Cathedral. This was supported by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Milan ruler’s at that time. In fact, he had magnificent visions of the Duomo. The cathedral is built with pink-shaded white marble. Nevertheless, the building was started in terracotta stone, but Lake Maggiore’s Candoglian marble was soon chosen.
How were the marbles transported from the Candoglia quarries? Canals leading to the building’s site were created. In fact, the popular navigli are the remains of the canal network dug in southern Milan to accomplish this.
Do you know that it took thousands of skilled workers, sculptors, and artists to construct the Milan Cathedral? In addition, around 78 various architects coming from different parts of Europe were invited to participate in this grandeur project.
In 1418, the Duomo was consecrated, but it was not yet finished. Only the nave was completed at that time. For the next 200 years, the heavy construction kept going. It was because of lack of budget, politics, and other reasons that this cathedral could not be finished for centuries.
Thanks to Napoleon Bonaparte, the façade of the Duomo was finished in the first part of the 19th century. This was also when the final phase of the construction was begun. The construction was completed in 1965. Overall, it took 579 years to finish this historic cathedral. However, with repairs needed to preserve this majestic Duomo, the work on this building continues up to this day.
How to Visit
There are different ways to reach the Milan Cathedral. If you are looking for public transport options, the easiest would be taking the metro once you step out of the central station.
The Duomo metro station has two services—the 1 and 3 metro lines. Rest assured that there are regular schedules for train arrival and departure. Aside from these, there are other tram lines that can drop you off at nearby stops, like Dogana (Duomo), which is serviced by line 24, and Torino (Duomo), which can be reached by trams 2,3, and 14.
Another option is taking a taxi to the cathedral. Just a head’s up, though, this can be a bit expensive since Milan has high traffic volumes and a complex road system. If you want to pursue this option, you can download a taxi app on your phone for easier booking.
Moreover, you are highly recommended to get a reservation for a guided group tour. This will help you stay away from the long lines of tourists always waiting at the entrance. Also, being part of a guided tour will allow you to reach the cathedral’s magnificent terraces. You can also book a private tour guide who can escort you around Milan. For sure, Duomo will be part of your itinerary.
According to Milan Cathedral’s Rules of Conduct, your attire should be modest when entering the church. For this reason, expect that there are some outfits that are not allowed, including low-cut clothes, crop tops, bare-backed shirts, miniskirts, and hats.
Basically, shorts are also not permitted in the cathedral. Nevertheless, many tourists can be seen wearing shorts in the Duomo. These are fine as long as their length is below the knee. However, if you want to be safe, it is better to avoid wearing shorts during your visit.
In addition, make sure you wear comfortable footwear during the tour. Remember, the cathedral is among the biggest churches in the world, so expect long walks when you visit. Plus, if you wish to reach the rooftop, you better wear some weather-protective clothes since it can be too windy or cold, especially in winter.
Of course, tourists are expected to practice their photography skills when they visit Milan Cathedral. This tourist spot is certainly photographic, with many opportunities for beautiful shots inside and outside the building.
However, you should know some photography rules once you visit the Duomo. For instance, it is not allowed to use monopods or tripods inside the church or even on the roof. Selfie sticks are also banned in the cathedral.
Furthermore, once taking photos inside, be respectful of the people lighting candles and praying. Be sure your camera is silent since its noise can disturb others. Remember that it is a church, so expect it to be quiet.
If you plan to visit Milan soon, never miss the Duomo di Milano. Your trip to this beautiful place will never be complete without visiting this popular cathedral. Whether you are a religious person or not, this tourist destination is surely worth the visit.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning for your next holiday trip together with your loved ones.