Milan Cathedral, also known as Duomo di Milano, located in Milan, Italy is the fifth largest christian church and second largest catholic cathedral in the world. The church is also considered to be one of the sublime works of Gothic Architecture. The construction of the church started in the year 1386 by Bishop Antonio da Saluzzo and took about 6 centuries to complete. The whole church is made up of pink-hued white marbles. Before the Condoglian marble from Lake Maggiore were finalised, the work originally started with terracotta stone. The marbles used were brought in from Candoglia quarry using the canals.
The place where the Milan Cathedral stands was once occupied by the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio. In 838, the Basilica di Santa Tecla was constructed next to the first church, and in 1075, a devastating fire ransacked both the buildings. Duomo di Milano was established on the same site later in the future. Visitors can still climb down to see the archeological remains of the Basilica si Santa Tecla and a Christian Baptistery from the fourth century. And in the centre building, remains of large octagonal baptismal can be seen, where according to a legend, it is believed Saint Ambroise baptised Saint Augustin in 387.
The interiors of the church are made up of big dark marble blocks and beautiful glasses that depicts the scenes from Bible. The church has large spacious columns and statues that reach the ceiling of the church. One can also see the skeletons of different saints in glass caskets spread throughout, dressed in the finest outfits. The most eye catchy part of the interiors being the statue of the Apostle Bartholomew. The statue was carved by Marco d’Agrate in 1562 and placed in the right transept of Milan’s cathedral. What’s significant about this statue is, this is the statue of Bartholomew who was one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus. In the statue, he looks creepy because he is draped with his own skin (yes, that’s spooky, but he was flayed and then beheaded on the orders of the King’s brother as a punishment). Another significant object of the Duomo is one of the nails used for the Crucifixion of the Christ. The nail is placed in a dome behind the altar and is made viewable for public only once a year, Saturday that is closest to September 14.
Some more facts about Duomo di Milano:
- The Church covers a ground area of 10,186 square meters, and extents to the length of 157 meters. This cathedral can house up to 40,000 people at once.
- The strong Gothic imprint of the Cathedral was given by Frenchman Nicolas de Bonaventure who was appointed as the chief architect in 1389.
- There are 135 spires in the church, the tallest one being 108.8 meters tall and mounted with a golden statue of Virgin Mary (Milan the Madonnia) sculpted by Giuseppe Perego in 1774.
- The church has 3400 statues with each representing different style of sculpting. Other than the statues, the church is decorated with 135 gargoyles and 700 figures.
- 78+ different architects from the whole of Europe were part of this project.
- You can see a sundial near the entrance of the church which was placed there by astronomers in 1768, but the flabbergasting fact about this sundial is, it is so precise that the city still refers it to regulate their clocks.
- In 1418, the church was consecrated and was left unfinished for centuries. In the early 19th century, Napoleon restarted the work and the construction of what is considered to be the longest-worked Cathedral in the world ended in 1965.
- Today, one can climb to the terrace of the church and admire the beautiful panaromic view of the city.