The Duomo di Milano is located in the city of Milan in northwestern Italy and is the main Cathedral of Milan and dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente. The duomo is one of the largest Catholic cathedrals in the world and is the largest cathedral built in the Gothic style. It's intricate marble spires appear to pierce the sky and the ornate statues that grace the exterior walls speak of a time of the Churches piety and power.
Construction work began on the duomo under the direction of Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo in 1386 when several buildings existing on the site had to be demolished to make way for the new cathedral. The building continued to take shape and grow over the centuries but it wasn't until 1812, after orders from the Emperor Napoleon, that the building proper was completed. Even then work was to continue for another 150 years with the adding of missing spires and arches, the completion of statues and the replacement of stained glass windows. The final details were completed in 1965 with the installation of the last gate, however there still remains evidence of un-carved stone that appears to be for planned statues that were never started.
The dimensions of the Duomo di Milano are truly staggering with an overall length of 157m (515 ft), a width of 92m (302 ft) and a maximum height of the building proper of 45m (148 ft). The dome towers up to 65.5m (215 ft) and the spire that sits atop it soars to an impressive 106.5m (349 ft). The interior is no less impressive containing an area of 11,700 square metres, enough to hold around 40,000 worshippers under a nave roof that soars 45m above their heads.
It's possible to climb to the roof of the duomo, via stairs or a lift, and if you do so you'll be greeted with a spectacular view of the surrounding Milan cityscape, and be mesmerised by looking out through a forest of Gothic stalagmites. The roof is open daily from 09:00am - 05:30pm but if you plan to make the trek leave plenty of time as there is usually a line up and lengthy wait.
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