10 Amazing Duomo di Milano Facts You Should Know

Duomo di Milano, with its stunning Gothic design and rich history, captivates the hearts of millions of visitors each year. 

From its elaborate exterior adorned with 3,400 statues to the sacred interior housing precious relics, the Duomo is a one-of-a-kind experience.

Read ahead to explore the fascinating details that make the Duomo di Milano a must-visit destination.

Let’s dive into the 10 most interesting Duomo di Milano facts!

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1. Duomo di Milano was completed after 600 years

One of the most exciting facts about Duomo di Milano is that the building started in 1386 and finished in 1900. 

Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo asked for it to be built. 

Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the leader of Milan, also supported it and had big ideas for the cathedral. 

They used terracotta stone for the foundation but later switched to Condoglian marble from Lake Maggiore. The whole building is made of pink and white marble.

2. Thousands worked on the construction of the Duomo di Milano

One well-known fact about the Duomo di Milano is that thousands of experts worked together to build the Duomo. 

Artists, sculptors and other specialized workers were hired and at least 78 architects were consulted. 

Construction continued for 200 years, requiring the employment of architects, sculptors and stone cutters. 

These craftsmen, skilled in the Central European Gothic style, were brought in from outside Italy and are responsible for the unique Gothic architecture of the Duomo.

3. Duomo di Milano’s original architect is not known

Lots of architects were asked about how to design and build the Duomo. 

The Duomo’s records now show that from 1387 to 1988, hundreds of architects helped make and fix the building. 

They’re still trying to figure out who the first architect was.

4. Leonardo da Vinci was one of the artists commissioned

In the late 15th century, influential architects and artists were given specific tasks to build the Duomo. 

One standout artist was Leonardo da Vinci. 

He took on the challenging job of designing the Tiberium and made a wooden model after several attempts. 

Designing a lantern of that size was tough, especially since others were responsible for the overall building design. 

Leonardo eventually decided to take back his model, hoping to present it again later. 

You can see evidence of his contribution to the Duomo through drawings in the Atlantic Code, Trivulziano Code and Veranda’s registers. 

5. Construction of Duomo di Milano stopped

In 1418, they withheld the Duomo because the building took longer than expected. By then, only the main part was done.

By the late 1400s, the construction had stopped, even though half of the cathedral was finished in 1402. 

Politics, design changes and not having enough money caused the delay. 

6. The Duomo gave way to the Navigli Canal

The cathedral was made using a special kind of marble from Candoglia Quarries, located about 90 km northwest of Milan. 

To bring the marble to the construction site quickly, architects and builders had to figure out how to use the available transportation, mainly water. 

They transported the marble to Milan along rivers and canals were built at the end of the rivers. 

Even after the construction, these canals stayed and became a popular attraction. 

Nowadays, the Navigli canals are a lively part of the city with bars, shops and street markets.

7. Duomo di Milano is the cathedral with the most statues

This Cathedral has more statues than any other cathedral in the world. You can find these intricate statues outside, at the tall points and indoors. 

There are 3,400 statues, 700 marble figures and 135 gargoyles. 

Many people who go to the Duomo really like the statues and spend time looking at each one. 

The statues include characters from the Bible and saints and a picture of Benito Mussolini. And there’s even a statue resembling the Statue of Liberty.

8. The Roof of the Duomo is accessible

Unlike many old buildings in Italy that don’t let you go up high, the Duomo is different. 

Instead of just having a viewing tower like other historic places, you can climb to the top of its roof. 

From there, you can see the whole city and, on a clear day, even catch sight of the Alps to the north.

9. Bartholomew’s statue is inside the Duomo

In the Duomo, there are many statues, but one stands out. It’s Saint Bartholomew, an apostle of Jesus. 

He bravely preached the gospel but faced a tough fate—he was skinned alive. 

Inside the cathedral, you’ll find his statue holding a book, covered in his own skin. It’s a powerful and unique sight.

10. The sundial at the Duomo is still accurate

In front of the main entrance of the Duomo, there’s a sundial on the ground. 

On June 21, during summer and December 21, during winter, sunlight enters a hole in the wall and hits the sundial. 

Even though the sundial is ancient, it still works and helps set the time for clocks in the city.

#Bonus fun fact about Duomo di Milano

Jesus’ crucifixion nail is in Duomo di Milano

One of the three nails used to nail Jesus to the cross is here. 

It’s a special nail kept in the dome above the apse and you can spot it because of a small red light. 

Every year, during the Rite of the Nivola celebration, they take the nail down and display it to the public for three days. 

Leonardo da Vinci made a lift to get to the nail because he didn’t like climbing ladders.

FAQs on Duomo di Milano facts

1. What is special about Duomo di Milano?

The Duomo di Milano, Italy’s largest cathedral, is renowned for its breathtaking Gothic architecture, adorned with intricate sculptures and spires. 

The cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete and symbolizes Milan.
Its impressive interior, adorned with beautiful stained glass windows and religious artifacts, attracts millions of visitors annually.

2. What are some interesting facts about Duomo di Milano?

The construction of the Duomo di Milano began in 1386 and took nearly six centuries to complete. 

Its striking Gothic design includes 135 spires and 3,400 statues. The cathedral’s rooftop offers panoramic views of Milan.

3. How old is the Duomo in Milan?

The construction of the Duomo di Milano began in 1386 under Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo. 

It took nearly six centuries, with the last major spire installed in 1762. 

As of 2023, the cathedral is over 600 years old!

4. How many statues are there in Duomo di Milano?

The Duomo di Milano boasts an impressive collection of over 3,400 statues.

These intricate sculptures adorn the cathedral’s exterior, populating its spires and façade. 

5. Why is it called Duomo?

“Duomo” refers to a cathedral or a large church and is derived from the Latin word “domus,” meaning house or home. 

In the context of the Duomo di Milano, the name signifies its status as the main cathedral in Milan, serving as the spiritual and architectural heart of the city.

6. Who is buried in Duomo Milan?

The Duomo di Milano does not serve as a burial site for individuals. Instead, it is primarily a place of worship and architectural significance. 

7. Is the Duomo di Milano worth visiting?

Absolutely, the Duomo di Milano is a must-visit. Its stunning Gothic architecture, adorned with thousands of sculptures and spires, is absolutely stunning. 

8. What is inside Duomo di Milano?

You will encounter a grand and ornate interior inside the Duomo di Milano, with beautiful stained glass windows, intricate sculptures and religious artifacts. 

9. What are the decorative features of the Duomo di Milano?

The Duomo di Milano is adorned with numerous decorative features, including 3,400 statues depicting saints and religious figures. 

Its exterior boasts intricate carvings, spires and buttresses. You will find exquisite stained glass windows, ornate altars and detailed sculptures inside. 

The cathedral’s rich decoration reflects the grandeur of Gothic architecture and Milanese artistry.

10. What is the statue on top of the Duomo Milano?

The statue crowning the Duomo di Milano is a golden Madonnina (Little Madonna). 

Installed in 1774, it stands at 4.16 meters and represents the Virgin Mary, serving as a symbol of the city. 

The Madonnina is a beloved icon and its gleaming presence adds to the cathedral’s iconic skyline.

The Best Duomo di Milano Tickets

Cathedral and Rooftop tickets: This ticket offers access to the Milan and Cathedral Rooftop areas. 

Milan Cathedral Rooftop ticket: If you wish to enjoy Milan’s vistas, then get this rooftop access ticket (without the church) to enjoy terrace entry. 

Duomo di Milano guided tour: Take a tour of Milan Cathedral, Duomo Museum and archeological sites with a local expert guide. 

Private Duomo di Milano tour: Skip the crowds and take a private tour of the Duomo di Milano, its Rooftop, Museum and Archeological sites.

Duomo Di Milano Combo tour: Visit the Milan Cathedral and another Milan attraction at a discounted price with just one ticket. 

Last-minute Duomo di Milano tickets: Get your Milan Cathedral tickets last minute if you have missed your pre-booking. This ticket offers last-minute entry to the cathedral, Museum and rooftop. 

Milan City Pass: Get entry to the Duomo di Milano, Rooftops, Duomo Museum, Leonardo Da Vinci Museum, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, and Milan City Audio Guide at discounted prices. 

Featured Image: Walksofitaly.com

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