Il Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) is an amazing sight to behold and is the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. In fact, the only cathedral of any style in the world that are larger are St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome and the Cathedral of Seville in Spain. Although construction on the building began in 1386, it wasn’t until less than a hundred years ago that the final details were completed with its last gate being inaugurated on January 6, 1965. In 1805, when Napoleon Bonaparte was about to be crowned King of Italy, he ordered the façade to be completed. Thanks to this order, within only seven years the Cathedral has its façade completed. As a form of thanks, a statue of Napoleon was placed at the top of one of the spires.
Located in the main square of Milan, you will notice that the city’s roads follow a spider web patter with the Duomo being the focal point. This incredible cathedral is adorned with 135 beautiful marble spires and well over 2,000 magnificent marble statues. The interior of the cathedral is filled with numerous monuments and artwork including the sarcophagi of the archbishops Ottone Visconti and Giovanni Visconti which were created back in the 14th century. Another main highlight of the cathedral interior are the three magnificent altars by renowned Italian architect & artists, Pellegrino Pellegrini. Be sure to check out the Renaissance marble altar which is decorated with gilt bronze statues in the right transept adjacent to the monument to Gian Giacomo Medici di Marignano also called “Medeghino”.
Another must see during your visit to Il Duomo is the cathedrals rooftop, which is open to the public. The roof lets visitors enjoy many up close views of some of the most spectacular sculptures in the world and is most famous for the forest of openwork pinnacles and spires set upon the flying buttresses. Even to this day the cathedral is still constantly being repaired and maintained, from 2003- early 2009 the cathedral main façade underwent renovation and as of February 2009 it is once more showing the glorious colors of the Candoglia marble it is made of. The Cathedral of Milan is open to the public every day from 8:30 AM to 6:45 PM and is free to all visitors.
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