The Duomo, Milan
In occasion of this visit to Milano, last week in July, I couldn't enjoy in magnificient front side of the Cathedral because it was under the major reconstuctions works. As far as I was told, this works will last a couple of years because the facade of the Cathedral is in a very bad conditions.
Well, I cannot say I was disappointed, because I've seen it already many times before, it just made me feel "no this is not my Milano the town I knew".
Not only the Cathedral, but whole area around Piazza Duomo looks much different now, something is missing badly.
Fondest memory: I always wonder myself, how much longer this kind of beauty can stand our easy-going ways!?
Not many of churches in Italy underwent such a slow building process as Milano's cathedral, the work actually went on troughout five centuries, and the original Gothic style was never abandoned. It was, in fact, through the cathedral that the High Gothic style from beyond the Alps made its way down to Milano and henceforth infuenced the whole country.
The cathedral, dedicated to Mary, was actually begun in 1387 over the site of the 9th century basilica of St. Maria Maggiore.The chief engineer was Simone da Orsegnigo who was aided by several Campionese Swiss masons. The Gothic schemes, however, in the hands of the Italian architects lost much of their Northern flavor and acquired a more typical Italian feeling. Simone da Orsegnigo was surrounded by a crew of great stonemasons: Marco of Campione, Matteo da Campione and the greatest of all, Giovannino de Grassi.......
..... In 1389 Simone da Orsenigo was dismissed and Nicola di Bonaventura was summoned from Paris. Nicola designed the huge pierced windows of the apse, but he too was dismissed only a year after. Italian and foreign master craftsmen followed one another. The latter two worked permanently in the cathedral workshop from 1392 on and left their imprint in the use of the so-called flowery Gothic style known for its flamboyant decorative patterns.
In the 15th century, when Francesco Sforza came to power , art in Milan was absorbing French and Tuscan influences. In that period he great Giovanni Antonio Amadeo won the competition called in 1490 for building of the drum. He completed the drum by 1500 in a pure Gothic style. Meanwhile the flowery Gothic was gradually losing momentum, beaten by the new more plastic treatment of form advocated by Filarete, Luca Francelli, Francesco di Giorgi and Leonardo.
In 1482 a master called by Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Pellegrino Pellegrini, also known as Tibaldi, was named mastermason. The great spire of the cathedral was finally erected between 1765 and 1769 and the facade, based on Pellegrini's idea, was put up in the beginning of the 19th century. .....
..... Work on the cathedral went on right through 19th century, during which time the spires and the towers with stairways inside were completed.
The whole complex construction, however, was badly in need of restoration, the first campaign was undertaken in 1935 and the second, even more complicated, after the bombardments of 1943. During the latter restoration project, the flooring was restored and the statues and decorative elements which had suffered the greatest war damage were replaced.
As you can see on my first picture, the cathedral is again under the major reconstructions, therefore the front side of it is covered and cannot be seen....
....The facede of the cathedral has five Baroque doorways with double buttresses by the central doorway and on the outside and single buttresses on the inside. The pilasters rest on heavy bases, above which are talamons.
The interior will struck you more by a feeling of stylistic consistency than by the huge size of the building itself. Il Duomo di Milano is the biggest Gothic church and the second biggest church, after St. Peter's in Rome, in the world.
Among the various works worthy of mention in the cathedral are the monument to Giacomo medici considered the masterpiece of Leone Leoni, and the Trivulzio Candelabrum the Gothic bronze masterpiece attributed to Nicolas de Verdun dated early 1200's.
Upon the tallest spire of the cathedral's roof stands gilded copper statue of the Virgin known as the Madonnina which has become the symbol of the city of Milano.
Favorite thing: It is easy to forget as travelers that the churches in Italy are serious business for some. Definitely visit Milan's cathedral, but remember that it is a place of worship, so it should be treated with respect. You will see people praying all around you while you do your sightseeing. Feel free to walk around and admire the architecture, but try to dress modestly and to keep your voice down.
This is one of my favorite pictures of Carol from our trip to Italy. I can't be sure but in my mind Carol is saying to herself, "Here I am sitting on the marble ridge of the roof of the Duomo in Milan Italy. How cool is this?" Well, it's pretty cool!
This is a magnificent cathedral but then there are a lot of magnificent cathedrals in Italy but how many times do you actually get to basically turn the roof of one these places into a park. In the first place, it's really huge. People are strolling around, sitting and talking, taking in the sights, having lunch and generally just chilling out. I don't think there was ever a moment when the designers of this building ever conceived this kind of usage but what a wonderful experience.
Walking around the center at night when the weather was warm. If you just wander around the Duomo or the Brerra you can find anything from live music to vendors selling their goods. There are usually masses of people out strolling around and sightseeing. It's free to walk but there are also many place to stop for a gelato or some wine.
Fondest memory: A balmy October night sitting on the steps of the Duomo, amongst hords of people, cold beer in hand, listening to a cheesy 80's pop rock cover band.
You'll doubtless find this without my help, but I would very much recommend a visit to the Tourist Office next to the Duomo (to your right as you face the cathedral).
Obviously, all the usual tourist services are offered. However I go there particularly to pick up their monthly "Milano Mese" booklet (issued only on the first of the monthly; not before, irritatingly).
Information about art exhibitions, musical events, trade fairs, sport and other entertainment events is provided in an A5-sized, Italian-English guide. Apart from in the month of August there's usually heaps going on, and I found it a very helpful source of activities even when I wasn't a "tourist".
Fondest memory: You can get further help from the APT (Azienda di Promozione Turistica del Milanese) by checking out their website, www.milanoinfotourist.com , calling their offices (+39 02 7252 4301/02/03) or emailing them on email@example.com .
Alternatively the main office is open Mon-Sat 8.45am - 1pm, and 2pm - 6pm; Sundays 9am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm.
Favorite thing: You can find the tourist office in Piazza Duomo. Facing the Duomo, it's on your right, next to Palazzo Reale. There you can find interesting brochures on what to visit in Milan, you can ask for help in booking tickets and check what's going on in the city.
Il Duomo is the famous cathedral of Milano.
If the volumes are massive and heavy, the monument is covered entirely of a lace of sculptures that makes a major work of it. You will be able to pass of hours to admire all details and the sophistication of these sculptures...
Especially for girls: in summer don´t forget to bring some kind of sweater, something with long arms, even when it´s really hot. You can´t enter the churches and cathedrals with naked shoulders!!!!!!!!!!!!
Favorite thing: Go to the top of the duomo!! The view is gorgeous and you can get a great view of the city as well as the thousands of beautiful statues perched atop the spires. It is really cheap to go up (I think it was around 3 Euros). You buy your ticket down to the left side of the facade and climb your way up a few flights worth of stairs and you're there, on a beautiful walkway. Not to be missed!!
Spend time in and around the Duomo, it is the heart of the city, and there are things for every type of person to see and do in the few blocks surrounding it.
Fondest memory: Staying there long enough to adopt a true fondness for the city, and the neighborhood where I lived. I got to the point where I no longer felt like a visitor, and could call Milan my home. The duomo and surrounding streets offer the best of Milan, site-seeing, people-watching, shopping, dining, and almost anything else you can think of.
Visit the Duomo and Galleria. Located on one of the main shopping streets of Milan
Fondest memory: A new Zara store opened in Milan (the first in Italy) and there were probably over 1,000 people inside. Milan's has four floors, and since Zara is one of my wife's favorite stores, we had to go. Zara is a Spanish company, so it was pretty tough to break into an already competitive Italian fashion market, but Milan is the place to do it.