Sunday, April 30, 2006

Duomo di Milano

The Duomo of Milan, antique, an example of architectural excellence, major tourist attraction, a work of art in its own right, is the symbol of this bustling city. Construction began in 1386 and was finally completed in the early 1900s. Although numerous architects directed the construction, including numerous generations of the same family, the continuous design theme indicates a single great plan. Even Leonardo acted as head architect for several years.

There is so much to say about the Duomo that a proper description of the Duomo would fill numerous volumes, and numerous volumes have been written. The Duomo has its own construction company and museum. A visit to the museum is a great way to begin. It will help you identify a few of the more interesting things to see.

The Duomo is constructed entirely of marble is a Blossomed Gothic style. It has 3400 statues, is 158 meters long and 93 meters wide, and reaches 108 meters in height. In 1774, on the highest spire a gold statue of the Madonna was placed to protect the city. This is the “Madonnina” mentioned in songs about Milan.

The church is a Latin Cross design and has 5 different halls. Affreschi, paintings, and statues adorn the walls. Each of the arches, that give light to the halls, is made of stained glass representations. They cover they old and new testaments, the saints, and some political figures from the 1400s. When construction of the Duomo began two separate companies were located in piazza del Duomo, one that made stained glass and the other that made sculptures.

When I first saw the Duomo, I had no idea that the green walls that were about 30 meters high and 6 meters wide were doors, and the open. Each door is made of bronze. The surface is covered with numerous individual panels. The panels are artistic representations of various important moments in history. I had the opportunity to attend Christmas Mass at the Duomo and could not believe the sight, the entire front of the Duomo was open.

The Duomo exudes pomp and circumstance. Once inside, the stations of the cross hold artistic treasures. After many trips I noticed zodiac signs on the floor. In the early 1700s a solar calendar and sun clock were installed. A small hole in the cupola directs light along a path in the floor indicating both time of day and day of year.

The stained glass windows are impressive shedding colored light across the hall creating a surreal environment. The statues are impressive. In the right hall is a statue of one of the saints carrying his own skin. The detail is something I have never seen before and leaves a lasting impression. The Alters are covered in gold, the chairs red velvet, and the hand carved wood structures are indescribable. Several Saints find there final resting place in the smaller alters along with the stories of their lives and miracles.

The roof of the Duomo is open to the public, you can take the stairs, hopefully you will have done many, many practice sessions on your stair master, or you can catch the elevator. It will cost a couple of Euro but unless you are in really good shape, a couple of Euro is a small price to pay. Once on top there is a breathtaking view of Milan and should the sky be clear, the Alps will be to the North East in the distance. Along path, the sculptures are very close and can be examined in detail.

The subject of this article is the Duomo di Milano so it should be appropriate to say, “to be in Milan, and not visit the Duomo, is a mortal sin.”

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3 Comments:

Blogger Miss Natalie said...

I visited the Duomo last year. It really is stunning piece of architectural art.

Is it still being cleaned section by section? Scaffolding along the walls didn't enhance the beauty.

5:00 PM

 
Blogger Annika said...

One month from now, I'll finally get to see it myself!

11:05 PM

 
Blogger Travel Italy said...

Natalie - One of the reasons the Duomo has its own construction company is that this is the first complete rennovation. Years of soot and moot have taken their toll on the marble. The rennovation started about 20 years ago and is scheduled to be completed shortly.

Annika - I hope you enjoy it. Italy is a beautiful place with great people. Make sure to stop and take in the sites and not get overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle.

8:46 AM

 

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