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Book Milan Cathedral

Visitor information for the cathedral and rooftops of the Duomo, Milan, Italy

Before Dan Brown it was Milan's gloriously Gothic cathedral (Duomo) that topped the must-see list, not Da Vinci's Last Supper, but it's perhaps not widely known just how fascinating the rooftops of the cathedral are, and what an unequalled view of Milan can be had from up on high.

The entire roof of the cathedral is 'paved' in slabs of marble, covering a total of 8000 metres. There are 135 stone pinnacles framing the views, and you can roam the full length of the rooftop, with corridors, wide open spaces, and panoramic views of Milan's rooftops all around. The stonework is exemplary, and you'll have fine views of flying buttresses, ornate steeples and incredibly detailed statuary - not for nothing is the rooftop often described as a second, airborne, cathedral. And don't worry about safety, you're ringed by stone perimiter 'screens'.

Although the cathedral is visibly Gothic in style, the rooftop shows difference with other European Gothic cathedrals in that is has Lombard tendencies (notably the roof's double vault), a reflection of the 'Mediterranean' sensitivities that want to see a close conenction between the Duomo, the city and its peoples. The stone roof, then, is not solely an architectural decision, but a social, urban one.

A plan of the rooftop, showing your route, may be downloaded here. It's in Italian only, but the labelling and layout are nonetheless useful.


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