Milan Cathedral (Italy) - Duomo di Milano was built by 6 centuries
Location show on map
Via Carlo Maria Martini, 1, Milan, Italy
Date of build
1386 - 1965
- Other building names: Duomo di Milano, Katedra Narodzin św. Marii
- Building type: Basilica, Church, Cathedral
- Architectural style: Radical gothic, Italian
- Material: Marble, brick
Height: 108.5 meters
- Length: 158.6 meters
- Area: 12,000 square meters
- Architect: Simone da Orsenigo, Nicolas de Bonaventure, Jean Mignot, Carlo Buzzi, Felice Soave
It took 582 years to build the Milan Cathedral. It cost the lives of many priests, architects, stonemasons and other people dedicated to this building.
The construction of the cathedral was initiated in 1386 by Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo supported by Lord Gian Galeazzo Visconti. At least 78 different architects from all over Europe were invited to work. In 1418, it was decided to sacrifice the cathedral, despite the fact that the main nave was completed. Over the next two centuries construction was continued, but it was repeatedly interrupted, either by lack of funds, either by politics or by local frustration with an endless huge project in the city center.
At the beginning of the 19th century, after capturing the city, Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to be crowned king, just in the Duomo. He wished, however, that this would happen in the finished building, which is why he suggested that he would pay all expenses. Seven years later the façade was finished and the ceremony took place according to the leader's wishes. Therefore, at the top of one of the many towers is a statue of Napoleon.
Milan Cathedral is the second largest Gothic cathedral in the world, only second only to St. Peter's Basilica. Peter in Rome. Its vaults are also the highest in the world (45 meters), with the exception of the unfinished Cathedral of St. Piotr in Beauvais (48 meters).
The Duomo is shaped like a Latin cross, which covers an area of nearly 12,000. square meters. The length is 158 meters, while its widest part measures 92 meters.
The cathedral has 5 aisles, one central and two side ones. The whole rests on 40 columns, the aisle columns are 24.5 meters high.
Inside the building can accommodate 40,000. people.
135 pointed spiers rise above the cathedral like a marble forest. The highest of the towers is the statue of the Virgin Mary, measuring 108 meters, it was crowned in 1762 with a polychrome Madonna sculpture measuring 416 cm. According to tradition, no building in Milan can reach higher than the figure of Madonnina, therefore, all skyscrapers have small replicas of this figure on their tops.
The whole is covered with carved architectural elements depicting flowers, fruits and fantastic animals. The building is additionally decorated with around 3400 figures, including 96 giant gargoyles. All were donated and made by numerous sculptors. The styles of their performance are also many, ranging from the gothic style, ending with the twentieth century Art Deco. It is said that this building has more statues than any other building in the world.
The roof is accessible to visitors either via stairs or by elevator. During their walk, they can admire the innumerable sculptures and extremely thin marble towers overlooking the city.
Unlike the light, bright and decorative facade, the interior of the cathedral is rather dark and ascetic. The floor was designed by Pellegrino Tibaldi oray built in the years 1585 - 1940. It is made of white marble Candoglia in combination with black marble Verenna and red marble Arzo.
Marble for the construction of the cathedral was brought from the glacial lake Lago Maggiore located north of Milan. In order to transport it from the quarries, channels were built, some of which have remained until today.
The cathedral has many valuable items inside. For the faithful, the most valuable is a capsule lit by a red light above the apse - one of the nails supposed to be Christ's crucifixion. Saint Gwóźdź is displayed in public every year during a feast called the Nivoli Ritual.
The figure of Saint. Bartholomew Flayed, made by Marco D'Agrate in 1562 and emitting amazing energy. There are also some of the largest organs in the world and numerous valuable collections of slaughter and paintings.
"The cathedral is a terrible failure, besides the project is monstrous and non-artistic, and the very complicated details are stuck high where nobody sees them, everything is wicked in it, but it is impressive and gigantic as a failure due to its great size and a complicated performance"- Oscar Wilde / 1875.
"They say that the Milan Cathedral is second only to the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome, I can not understand how it can be second in relation to anything created with human hands" - Mark Twain / 1867.