Milan's Duomo Cathedral


Very few churches in Italy took such a long time to build as Milan's towering Gothic Cathedral.To complete the magnificent "Duomo" took more than five centuries and necessitated resolving many vicissitudes. Numerous outstanding personalities were summoned to the building yard from all over Italy to give their opinions and offer advice. The foundation stone was laid long ago in 1386 under the patronage of Bishop Antonio da Saluzzo. In 1390 a great Jubilee was proclaimed to give impetus to the building of the Duomo urging the Milanese to offer money or manual labour. Originally it was planned to use fired bricks but in 1387 Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti insisted on marble and the then more up-to-date International Gothic style. His intention was to create a majestic power symbol.. The five centuries it eventually took to complete the construction determined the very evident mixture of styles that are a characteristic of Milan's Cathedral. Lombard, German and French architects were called to supervise the "fabbrica" or building work. White marble, brought by waterways along the "Navigli" canals from a quarry at Condoglia di Mergozzo near Verbania in Val d'Ossola to the centre of Milan, was used according to the specific desire of Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti to cover the façade. The slabs of pinkish-white marble were marked A.U.F. (ad usum fabricate) and exonerated from payment of customs duty. The Cathedral was consecrated in 1418 but not completed until the 19th century when Napoleon spurred on work to finally complete the façade. The building has undergone two major periods of renovation work: the first in 1935 and the second, obviously much more complicated, to repair bomb damage in 1943. At last on the 8th December 1966 the new parvis or entrance frontage was ready.





Milan's Duomo Cathedral Via arcivescovado 1
20122 Milan, Italy

+39 0279022656
+39 0279022419


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