The world famous Duomo di Milano is one of the largest cathedrals in the world, and it is very much the beating heart of Milan itself. People from all walks of life come to marvel at this incredible monument of art and engineering.
It is most famous for its Gothic inspired façade, embellished as it is with a vast array of religious symbols, statues of saints, and depictions of the life of Christ. Many observers have noted the similarity of style between this cathedral, and the cathedral of Notre Dame in France. The massive windows, the tall spires, and the intrinsic detail of the exterior certainly make this church feel like a distant cousin of Notre Dame.
Construction on the Duomo began in the year 1386 over the ruins of an ancient baptistery, which dates all the way back to 335AD, and it was finally completed in the year 1805, during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte in the French Revolution.
A quick walkthrough of the cathedral reveals a few treasures of particular significance, including the tombs of several archbishops, a rather unique looking statue of St. Bartholomew the Flayed, and most notably three massive stained glass windows located behind the main altar. Each main window is actually a collection of smaller windows which combine to depict various scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
Like all great cathedrals however, the Duomo of Milan saves its best views for the rooftops, which today can be accessed either by lift, or through an ancient stairwell. Whichever path you take, the views waiting for you at the top are nothing short of spectacular as you are treated to a bird’s eye view of the city below, while getting up close and personal with the church’s highly detailed exterior.
By the time you make it all the way the very top of the church, you’ll be reluctant to make your way back down. But when you do, your breath will be equally taken away by just how enormous the interior of the church actually is. While the sheer size of the Duomo of Milan makes it an easy place to get lost, that’s actually one of the best things about it. And in my opinion, it’s definitely worth the risk.