Duomo di Milano or Milan Cathedral is undoubtedly one of the most iconic landmarks that comes to mind when one thinks of Italy. Today, we bring to you some lesser-known facts you need to know before visiting this architectural wonder that took almost six centuries to complete. By Amitha Ameen
Duomo di Milano is super big. So big that it covers an entire block in Milan city. As a matter of fact, the cathedral is the second largest in the world, the first being Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The inside of this church houses many large stained-glass windows, three of which are the tallest in the world.
Not many people know this, but the rooftop of the cathedral is open to visitors for a small view. Two elevators and six stone stairways will bring you to a breathtaking, 360-degree view of the city. A feeling of being amongst the clouds is sure to envelop you while standing here. Did we mention that the terrace of the cathedral is also the largest walkable roof in the world with an area of 8,000 square meters?
The cathedral has many relics that have withstood time. A small red-light bulb near the apse (semi-dome), marks the spot where one of the nails, reportedly, from the Crucifixion of Christ is placed. Every year, the holy nail is brought out and displayed to the public during one of the festivals called the Rite of the Nivola, a ritual that dates to the 16th century. The other most precious art piece in the cathedral is that of St. Bartholomew, who was said to have been skinned alive and later beheaded.
Another iconic statue is the Madonnina (Virgin Mary) atop the cathedral in Italy. But what not many may know is that the golden copper halberd held by the Madonnina apart from warding off evil spirits and defeating demonic forces, is actually a fully functional lightning conductor in disguise. Bet you didn’t know that!
Between the 6,000 odd statues that include 55 intricately stained glasses, 150 gargoyles and roughly 200 bas reliefs (sculptures), the Duomo di Milano is undoubtedly, a marvel that needs to be witnessed by everyone.