Il Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)
The first image that springs to mind when thinking about Milan, is the imposing Gothic cathedral (or duomo) that is situated in the main square in the centre of Milan, known as Piazza del Duomo.
The Duomo is the fruit of centuries worth of work. It was commenced in 1386 and concluded with the work on the facade in 1813. It was built thanks to the generosity of Milan's most important families and illustrious merchants as well as the collective effort of the Milanese people.
This building is quite magnificant, so make sure you find the time to admire the facade and go inside to witness the magnificant stained glass windows and arches which will transport you back in time.
it is worth reading up on its history beforehand and going up onto the roof (on foot or by lift) to admire the gargoyles as well as witness the breathtaking views across the city. On a clear day you can even see the Alps!
At the top of the highest pinnacle is the famous statue in gold plated copper of the Madonnina (small Madonna), the symbol of Milan, which appears to touch the sky. Placing a 416 cm at 104 metres was no mean feat for the engineers at the time.
In November 2013 the Museo del Duomo (Duomo Museum) was opened to house many of the works of art belonging to the Cathedral that have been removed for restoration or conservation purposes or had been stored in the archives of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo (which was founded in 1837 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti and is responsible for the conservation and management of the Cathedral). The cost of the ticket (€6) also gives you access to the il Battistero di San Giovanni (Bapistry of Saint John) which is under the Cathedral and where excavatation work is still being carried out to this day.
More than a year ago the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo introduced the "Adopt a Gargoyle" initiative that helps raise funds for the restoration of the 135 gargoyles that grace the Cathedral. By making a small donation you can help the fabulous work carried out by the Fabbrica and have your name put in the Register of Donors thereby contributing to the history of this wonderful Cathedral. For more information please see www.adottaunaguglia.duomomilano.it
Given the artistic worth of the Duomo, there is a section dedicated to educational programmes at www.duomomilano.it as well as a blog www.museodelduomosezionedidattica.wordpress.com where you can find information, news and events even for children.