A look inside the Milano Duomo

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Milan’s Duomo is decidedly the most impressive structure in Milan. Standing proud in Piazza del Duomo, this behemoth cathedral has seen more than 600 years pass by and has the history to prove it!

If you want to visit the Duomo with a passionate, expert guide who can bring every stone to life with stories and information, check out our Best of Milan Tour. In addition to getting guaranteed access to the Last Supper, you’ll skip the line to enter the Duomo and explore it in the company of a knowledgeable guide.

 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! Covering a surface of 109,641 square feet and an entire city block, its size is even more impressive considering it’s the oldest church on that list.

 It has the most statues

They say 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.

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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.

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