Il Domm de Milan (The Duomo of Milan)

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Another of Milan’s treasures which we will be visiting on our upcoming Italy…Wine, Dine & Unwind Tour  will be it’s most massive Gothic cathedral, Il Duomo. I have visited this stunning architectural wonder several times, and once in the winter when it’s spires were covered in snow making it look like a decorated cake!

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The Duomo is the center of Milan, with the streets radiating out from it’s piazza. Begun in 1386, it took over 6 centuries to complete! Most of it was completed during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte when he crowned himself King of Italy. It’s official finish date, though, wasn’t until 1965 when its last gate was inaugurated! Throughout all of it’s construction phases and many architects, it took on various architectural styles. Some Gothic purists complain that it “steals from every style in the world; and every style spoiled.” This may be true from an architectural standpoint, but to the lay person’s eye, it is magnificent. It’s many spires and statues are awe-inspiring and create a façade of intricacy that looks like lace. Henry James described it as “a structure not supremely interesting, not logical not…commandingly beautiful, but grandly curious and superbly rich…”
The Duomo is constructed of marble quarried from the shores of Lago Maggiore and brought to Milan via canals that were built especially for the purpose of covering the Duomo’s façade. Leonardo Da Vinci engineered these canals under the direction of Ludovico Sforza. They were called the Navigli, and most of them have been boarded over except for the Naviglio Grande which today houses restaurants and art galleries.

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The inside of the Duomo has some very interesting elements, one of which is an astrological map. The zodiac signs are arranged in a long line on the floor of the Cathedral and span its width. There is a tiny hole on the ceiling which is open to the sky. When the sun is exactly overhead at noon, the shadow cast from the sun’s ray will fall on the current astrological sign. I was fascinated by its precision! It is like an ancient calendar!
Sitting on top of the Duomo, is a beautifully golden statue of “La Madonnina”.

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She has become the symbol of Milan. During WWII, she was taken off the church and put into storage to keep her safe. To this day, no building can be higher than “La Madonnina”. Here is a very famous song which has become a sort of anthem for Milan.

6 responses »

  1. I took a quick look at the tour itinerary and must say that you could not have done a better job at planning a tour to Italy. Your guests will LOVE IT! From Lake Orta to vineyards and cheese producers in Piemonte, reading the planned events put a huge smile on my face. Wonderful!

    Beautiful photos of the Duomo in winter. Visiting when it’s covered in snow still sits on my mini “bucket list” (and we live only 50km away). This winter, perhaps?

    • Thanks so much for liking my tour itinerary! I tried to capture what Italy is all about – from gorgeous natural beauty, to artistic wonders….and of course all combined with food and wine! I ‘m hoping to be able to put together a nice group of guests to enjoy it all! Please feel free to pass along the info!! The more the merrier!
      The Duomo in snow was truly a magical sight! I hope you get to see it (except all the snow made travelling into Milan by car almost impossible! The only way we were able to get there was by train!)

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