Duomo of Milan – the main Milan attraction

Duomo of Milan

Anyone who decides to visit a new city wants to discover the main monuments of the place and its history. Milan also has a lot of history and monuments to offer its tourists, including its cathedral, known by all as the Duomo of Milan.

The history of the Milan Cathedral dates back to 1386, the year of laying the first stone until it reaches the present day. Thanks to MilanoCard, the Milan City Pass, you can discover the cathedral by getting a 10% discount on the promotion MilanoCard + Duomo Milan, click here and find out how!


Duomo of MilanIn the square where today stands the Duomo of Milan, there were the cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore, the winter cathedral, and the basilica of Santa Tecla, the summer cathedral. After the collapse of the bell tower, Archbishop Antonio de’ Saluzzi, decided to build a new and imposing cathedral, replacing the two existing ones. Initially, the foundation for a brick church was built, then replaced for a late Gothic church. The material chosen was the marble of Candoglia. The wish of Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti was to give to the city a magnificent building with the passage of time.

French and German architects, such as Jean Mignot, Jacques Coene and Henry of Gmund, arrived at the shipyard, but they found hostility by the Lombardy workers, accustomed to a different working practice. At first it was thought of a three-nave building, with square side hats. In 1391, it was decided to design a five-aisle cathedral by swelling the central pillars.

In 1393 the first cap of the pillars was carved, designed by Giovannino de’ Grassi, who served as engineer until his death in 1398. In 1400 he took up his Filippino degli Organi, who was the head of the building. In 1418 the altar of Pope Martino V was consecrated.

Between 1765 and 1769, Francesco Croce completed the tiburio and the main spire where the statue of the Madonnnina was placed.

In ancient times, the Milan Cathedral was surrounded by the thick medieval fabric that created sudden and majestic views of the cathedral. In 1865, Giuseppe Mengoni‘s project made it possible to open a square in front of the Duomo of Milan. Giuseppe Mengoni also designed another important building that overlooks Piazza Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. By 2015, you can visit the path over the rooftopsof the Galleria, the Highline Galleria. Thanks to MilanoCard you can visit the catwalk on the roofs of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II free of charge, click here and find out how!

Duomo of MilanThe Milan Cathedral has a Latin cross-shaped plant, with five-nave aisles and a three-piece transept, with a deep presbytery surrounded by a polygonal abaxial deambulator. At the intersection of the arms, the tiburus rises. The buttresses contain the lateral thrust of the strings. The load-bearing structure was made of masonry and covered in marble white candlesticks with gray veins. The exterior welcomes numerous doccioni, statues, buttresses and spiers. Between the buttresses, the high glass windows are illuminated that illuminate the aisles inside.

The distinctive feature of the Milan Cathedral is the great amount of sculptures that enrich and make it unique. A collection of statues from the 14th to 19th century, among the artists who participated in the decoration were sample master masters, Giovannino de’ Grassi, Milchelino da Besozzo, bohemian masters, up to Renaissance, Baroque and neoclassical masters.

Do not miss one of Milan’s most important symbols, buy the MilanoCard + Duomo of Milan promotion and save on the ticket entrance, click here. Thanks to the Milan City Pass, as well as numerous discounts and gratuities in the city’s main attractions, you can get free Milan public transport throughout the city of Milan, click here to find out more.


In Piazza Duomo, in addition to the already mentioned Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, there is also a very important and unmissable museum that overlooks the square, the Milan Museum of the Novecento. The museum is housed inside the Palazzo dell’Arengario and was inaugurated in 2010. Among the works in the hall, you can admire those of Pelizza da Volpedo, Boccioni, Marini, Modigliani, Sironi and many others.

Thanks to MilanoCard, the Milan City Pass, you can get the Tourist MuseumCard and visit all the Milan civic museums for only € 10. Among the civic museums there is also the Museum of the Novecento, the Sforza Castle, the Gallery of Modern Art, and many others. For more information click here.

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