Hello everyone! Finally I’ve come write about one of the fashion capitals, Milan. I visited here at the beginning of this year so I’ll try to remember as much as possible and provide you as much useful information as I can.
Milan is the capital of the Lombardy region, and the most populous metropolitan area and the second most populous commune in Italy. It is also the main industrial and financial centre of Italy and one of global significance. In terms of GDP, it has the 2nd-largest economy among EU cities after Paris, and the largest among European non-capital cities.
Milan is a leading global city, with strengths in the arts, commerce, design, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, and tourism. Its business district hosts Italy’s Stock Exchange and the headquarters of the largest national and international banks and companies. The city is a major world fashion and design capital, well known for several international events and fairs, including Milan Fashion Week and the Milan Furniture Fair. The city hosts numerous cultural institutions, academies and universities, with 11% of the national total enrolled students.
Milan’s museums, theaters and landmarks (including the Milan Cathedral, Sforza Castle and Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings such as The Last Supper, a UNESCO World Heritage Site) attract over 9 million visitors annually. It is the second Italian city with the highest number of accredited stars from the Michelin Guide. The city also hosted the Universal Exposition in 1906 and 2015. (Unfortunately I didn’t make it last year…)
Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano)
After a short introduction of Milan, in this first post I’d like to introduce to you the landmark of the city – Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano).
Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano) is the cathedral church of Milan, Italy. Dedicated to St Mary of the Nativity (Santa Maria Nascente), it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, currently Cardinal Angelo Scola. The Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. It is the largest church in Italy (the larger St. Peter’s Basilica is in the State of Vatican City) and the fifth largest in the world.
In 1386, Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo began construction of the cathedral. The last details of the cathedral were finished only in the 20th century: the last gate was inaugurated on January 6, 1965. This date is considered the very end of a process which had proceeded for generations, although even now, some uncarved blocks remain to be completed as statues. So, as you can see, it did take 6 centuries to finish.
Opening hours and tickets
If you ask me whether it’s worth it to go inside the cathedral, my answer is absolutely YES, but for the terrace, it depends on whether the line is long or not or whether you are willing to wait in the long line or not. The line to the terrace is among the longest lines I’ve ever seen and usually I won’t wait in such long lines, so at the end I didn’t go up to the terrace, but I went to the cathedral, the crypt of St. Charles and the cathedral museum. You can buy tickets on side and remember there are more than one ticket offices. Try to find some other tickets sale points if one of them has a long line. I remember there was one close to the left side of the cathedral when you are facing the front of the cathedral. It’s not very noticeable so the line is much shorter.
- Cathedral: Daily 8 am – 7 pm
- Crypt of St. Charles (inside the Cathedral) : Monday – Friday: 11.00 am – 5.30 pm. Saturday: 11.00 am – 5.00 pm. Sunday: 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm. (Last admission 30 min before closing time.)
- Duomo museum & San Gottardo church: Daily 10.00 am – 6.00 pm. Wednesday closed
- Terraces: Daily 9.00 am -7.00 pm
- Archaeological area: Daily 9.00 am -7.00 pm
- Admission to the Cathedral, Duomo Museum and San Gottardo in Corte Church: € 2,00
- Admission to terraces: € 9,00 – € 4,50 (by foot). €13,00 – € 7,00 (by lift)
- Admission to the Cathedral, Duomo Museum, San Gottardo in Corte Church and Archaeological Area: € 6,00 – € 3,00
For more info concerning Duomo Pass, reduced prices etc. please look at the information pages below or click here.
Outside the cathedral
If you ask me what kind of masterpiece was constructed by so many people, efforts and so much time, I would say come to Milan and walk around the whole cathedral, look up and down, left and right at each side, and then you will realize by yourself. Or, as Mark Twain put it,
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 a bas-relief of birds and fruits and beasts and insects, which have been so ingeniously carved out of the marble that they seem like living creatures– and the figures are so numerous and the design so complex, that one might study it a week without exhausting its interest…everywhere that a niche or a perch can be found about the enormous building, from summit to base, there is a marble statue, and every statue is a study in itself…Away above, on the lofty roof, rank on rank of carved and fretted spires spring high in the air, and through their rich tracery one sees the sky beyond. … (Up on) the roof…springing from its broad marble flagstones, were the long files of spires, looking very tall close at hand, but diminishing in the distance…We could see, now, that the statue on the top of each was the size of a large man, though they all looked like dolls from the street… They say that the Cathedral of Milan is second only to St. Peter’s at Rome. I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands.
Milan cathedral at night
Don’t forget to come back at night. The square becomes more quiet and less crowded but the cathedral remains so grand and delicate.
Inside the cathedral
Inside the cathedral are numerous paintings, sculptures and stained glass windows. Only when you are inside will you feel the power of the hands of humans. Don’t forget to check the most famous statue of all the Cathedral, the Saint Bartholomew Flayed (1562), by Marco d’Agrate. At the left of the altar, the saint shows his flayed skin thrown over his shoulders like a stole.
Museo del Duomo
As for this museum, I’m not sure whether it’s essential for you to visit or not. Since it’s included in the cathedral ticket, I went to have a look, but if you really really have no time for it, I don’t think it would be a big pity in your life. I will show you some pictures below so you can decide whether you’re interested or not.
Thank you for reading my post about Milan cathedral and the cathedral museum. In my next post I’ll introduce to you the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, and the landmark triumphal arch – Arco della Pace. See you in my next post. 🙂