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Milan Cathedral – the Lavish and Imposing Duomo

The Lavish and Imposing Duomo

Throughout its long and rich history, Milan has developed greatly and as a result numerous buildings have been erected that now represent this history and attract millions of tourists to come and see them. The most popular of these is certainly Milan Cathedral, known as Duomo, which took more than 500 years to build. This massive and towering building is the symbol of the city and causes admiration in everyone who has ever laid eyes on it.

01-duomo via 500px by  licensed CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Milan Cathedral

The Cathedral is among the five largest ones in the world, and the largest one in the country. It is set in the heart of the city and overlooks the square as well as other popular attractions, such as the Novecento Museum and Galeria Vittorio Emanuele II. Even at the time of the Roman Mediolanum, in 600 BC, the Duomo had a central place, in front of the forum.

duomo via flickr by Alessandro Rizzo licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A fire in 1075 destroyed the cathedral, so it was later rebuilt in today’s easily-recognized Gothic style. As it took several hundred year to complete it, many architects worked on the cathedral’s construction. It underwent a lot of changes, due to the shift in power between various rulers, who all had a different idea of what it should look like. One of the archbishops of Milan, Charles Borromeo, believed that the cathedral’s Gothic style was not reflective of the real Roman nature, and was in favor of a more Renaissance-like facade.

03-duomo via flickr by Giovanni licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Duomo, Original Look

However, the original look remained, though it is built in several very dissimilar styles. In 1762, the baroque Madonna’s spire, one of the most prominent characteristics of the church, was built. About 50 years later, the President of the Italian Republic, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the finishing of the facade, and even though the process ended many years later, the Duomo served as his crowning place as King of the newly formed Kingdom of Italy.

duomo via flickr by paul bica licensed CC BY 2.0

The date of the finalization of the cathedral is considered to be January, 1965, although at the beginning of the 21th century, the facade was renovated again. Today, the church is visited by thousands of tourists every day. There is no entrance fee, and if you like you can get a tour guide who will explain everything you’d like to know about the Duomo. There is, however, a fee od 12 euro for the roof, but from up ther you get an unforgettable view of the city, including some of the most beautiful buildings and monuments in Milan.

The Altar of the Duomo

05-duomo via flickr by Trey Ratcliff licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Duomo has been the subject of at least a few prominent literary works, and regardless of whether you are religious or not, this breathtaking building itself will amaze you and even render you speechless with its masterful design.

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