A highlight trip to one of the largest churches in the world, let me take you through it! Side-note, I just realised my title rhymes hehe!
What’s a trip to Milan without seeing the Cathedral? It looks amazing in photos but in reality, it’s truly breathtaking. The amount of precision to the architecture, I’ve never seen such beauty within a building. Construction of the building began in 1386 by Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo. This took over 6 centuries to be made, before being completed in 1965. I originally went there on Sunday, but it was so busy it was insane! And all the tickets were sold out/I can’t remember if they even had them available as it’s apparently a national religious holiday in Italy, and I wasn’t aware of this before! So I went and took in the atmosphere outside the cathedral, took some photos and also visited one or two of the monuments around! Then went back a couple of days later when I had tickets so I could get a special view of inside the beautiful cathedral!
I looked around the cathedral on the ground floor and embraced it’s surroundings first, then I had lift passes to go up to the rooftop (as I couldn’t see myself walking up those never-ending stairs), to see the sensational views and even more of the incredibly detailed statues, and let me just tell you… THEY DID NOT DISAPPOINT! It was truly magnificent and something you must do in your lifetime – if you’re not afraid of heights of course! This cathedral retains so much incomparable history, and once you walk through the doors anyway, you feel somewhat overcome with emotions, a key one being peace.
I highly recommend everyone visits! It honestly does take your breath and all of your words away. Let me hit you with some extremely interesting facts!
The Duomo is the fifth largest Christian church in the world!
Outdone by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil, Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York and Seville’s Cathedral, Milan Cathedral is still one big church! It’s the 5th largest church in the world, covering a surface of 109,642 square feet, its size is even more magnificent considering it’s the oldest church on that list.
It has the most statues!
I did notice that their were a significant amount of intricate, eye-catching statues in this church, so it doesn’t surprise me that there are more statues on this gothic-style cathedral than any other building in the world. There are 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures that decorate Milan Duomo! Climb the stairs or take the lift to the rooftop to fully appreciate the architecture of the most renowned silhouette in the city. From the terrazza you’ll see breathtaking views across Milan and, on clear days, the snow-capped peaks of the Alps. You can also see the famous Madonnina, the gold-colored statue of Mary that stands on the cathedral’s highest spire.
You can set your watch by its sundial!
I don’t think I saw this when I visited (which I’m gutted about), but near the main entrance you’ll see a sundial on the floor. A ray of sunlight from a hole on the opposite wall strikes the clock, shining the bronze tongue on June 21, the summer solstice, and the meridian on the winter solstice, December 21. Though ancient (it was placed in Milan Duomo in 1768 by astronomers from the Accademia di Brera) the sundial is surprisingly precise – even used to regulate clocks throughout the city!
And don’t miss the little red bulb!
Above the apse (the arched part above the altar) there is a spot marked with a red lightbulb. This marks the spot where one of the nails of Jesus’ crucifixion was allegedly placed. Every year on the Saturday closest to September 14 the archbishop of Milan ascends to the apex in a wooden basket decorated with angels to retrieve the nail. The basket itself was constructed in 1577, though it was significantly reconstructed in 1701 when the angels were added. But you’ve got to be visiting at the right time – the nail is exhibited at the altar until the Monday after vespers before it’s lifted back up again. I’m not 100% sure if I saw this, as there was so much around to take in. Yes I know what you’re all thinking, “I have the memory of a sieve”. I agree!
Have you been to the Milan Cathedral? Are you interested in going? Have you been to Italy? Comment below!