Milan - The Fashion Capital of the World, is among the top 100 cities you must visit once in your life. When you arrive in Milan, your eyes will be drawn to the 14-foot golden statue of Mary, Madonnina; and following your gaze, you will spot the Milan Duomo. Towering over the cityscape, the Milanese have always been humbled, protected and guided by the statue, and because of this, the Cathedral has long stood as the perfect grounds to learn more about the city’s ancient culture, modern developments and affinity towards Christianity.
The focal point of the entire city, Duomo di Milano, is Italy’s largest church designed during the zenith of Gothic architecture. With more than 3,000 statues spread over the cathedral, its rooftop and baptistery; the Milan Duomo is a must-visit site on any trip to Milan. The Milan Duomo is also the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, and took over 600 years in construction. The much-loved symbol of the city dominates the Piazza del Duomo and from the top, offers views which stretch as far as the Italian Alps! In this guide, we will look at all you need to know about the cathedral before you visit and also help you get discounted tickets to the Milan Duomo.
The Milan Duomo Tickets
If you're looking to book Duomo Milan tickets, it's best to book them online, at Headout. While you can book tickets at the physical counter, there are several benefits to booking your tickets online:
- Skip-the-line access: Owing to its popularity, you can always expect to find large crowds at the Duomo. Get skip-the-line access with your tickets and bypass the long waiting lines to get direct entry.
- Guided tours: The best way to learn about this magestic landmark's history, architecture, and significance is through a tour guide. With these tickets, discover unique facts about the Duomo with your expert local guide.
- Access to rooftop terrace: Choose your ticket type easily. You can book standard tickets that offer entry into the cathedral, or get priority access to the rooftop and enjoy the spectacular views of the city.
- Combo tours: Since there's plenty to do in the city, why not club experiences with combo tours? Along with the Duomo Milan, visit other iconic attractions like The Last Supper painting, La Scala Museum & Theatre, and more.
What Makes The Milan Duomo Special
The Milan Cathedral is an iconic tourist attraction in all of Italy, which attracts more than 5 million visitors each year. Besides being the largest church in Italy, it is also the fifth largest in the world with a capacity of 40,000 people. Covering a massive 520 ft x 302 ft area, the church was designed by legends from across 9 generations, including Zeno da Campione, Pellegrino Pellegrini, Leopoldo Pollak, Simone da Orsenigo and Luca Beltrami.
Since the cathedral took over several hundred years to be built, there are a number of contrasting styles for you to see. With traces of Romanticism, Gothic, Gothic Revival, ‘Perpendicular with Flamboyant (yes, that’s an actual description of the style), the Cathedral is a proud display of a melange of art legends.
But what draws more fascination, and interest from any visitor is the collection of statues and artworks all over the site, and the museum. You can even see one of the nails from the Crucifixion of Christ placed in a dome! Other highlights in the Milan include the 225-rank pipe-organ, Saint Bartholomew Flayed statue, Archbishop Alberto da Intimiano’s sarcophagus and the ‘Medeghino’ monument by Leone Leoni.
How To Skip the Line at Duomo
Owing to its remarkable popularity as a must-visit destination, the Duomo is always crowded and has long queue lines. However, there exist a multitude of different ways by which you can avoid these lines, and make the most of your time on your visit. Using any of these three ways, you can save up to 3 hours of your time:
1. Buying Online Tickets in Advance
Arguably the best way to save time during your Duomo visit, is by booking your tickets online well in advance. We recommend booking your tickets at least 2 days prior as tickets will be available for this duration. The biggest advantage of buying your tickets prior is that this will allow you to skip the long queue lines at the monument, by allowing you access to a special fast-moving queue. This is a must-have!
2. Go On a Guided Tour
If you’re looking for an immersive experience at the Duomo di Milano, then a guided tour is the way to go. Not only will your guide provide narration about the landmark monument and its exhibits, but he/she will assist you in entering the Duomo. With these tickets you really don’t have to worry about long queues, or missing out on any of the important works which is very easy to do without a guide. Peace of mind is guaranteed!
3. Choose The Right Time
Milan Cathedral is open nearly all days of the year, apart from some religious holidays. However, depending on the season, there are different times of the day you’d want to explore the site. During spring and fall ie, April - October, early morning/early evenings are the best time with the least footfall. During months between November and March, we recommend touring in the afternoon as there will be less fog, and the season doesn’t have many tourists.
The Duomo Milan Rooftop
In most cities and churches, visiting the main cathedral is the highlight, but at the Duomo di Milano, the cathedral is just the beginning. If you’re visiting the Duomo, you absolutely have to see the Duomo Rooftop. Yes, there’s incredible statues inside the cathedral, stunning tombs and sarcophagi, and even a nail from the crucifiction cross. But these sights stand pale compared to what resides upstairs.
What truly draws a breath of awe and wonder, are the terraces of Milan’s Duomo. Scattered with nearly 2,000 statues, 135 spires, and the majestic statue of Madonnina, the rooftops are among the best rooftops in the world. You can see catholic saints atop the spires, religious figures nestled into the buttresses and pillars, gargoyles along the stone balustrades and so much more. Not to mention, the views from the terraces are lauded as the best views from all over Milan.
The Duomo Milan Museum
Hosting a large collection of historical and artistic treasures over its 26 exhibition rooms, the Duomo Museum is a noteworthy museum. A visit here is diving deep into the history of the cathedral and Milan itself. See an extensive display of sculptures, stained glasses, paintings, tapestries, terracotta objects and architectural models which span from the 15th century to the 20th century.
You can even see some ancient antiquities such as the ‘ivory diptychs’ from the 5th century and works of Ariberto d’Intiminao from the 11th century. The biggest highlight of the collection is the Veneranda Fabbrica, which chronologically illustrates the construction stages of the Cathedral from 1386 to the current day.
Must-See At The Duomo Milan
Statue of Saint Bartholomew Flayed Alive
One of the best artworks in all of Milan, the Statue of Saint Bartholomew Flayed Alive by Marco d’Agrate is a sight you cannot miss. Known for its creepy stare, overly-defined muscles and features, the statue is a depiction of St. Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, who was flayed and beheaded. The statue, seems to capture this perfectly!
Towering 356ft in the sky, the Madonnina Spire also called ‘lantern spire’ is the centerpiece of Milan. The city’s most notable sight, is a golden statue of Virgin Mary designed and built by Giuseppe Pergeo in 1774. The huge statue is composed of embossed and gilded copper plates and serves as a reminder of the city’s heritage and culture.
The Door of the Cathedral
Carved in 1906 by Lodovico Pogliaghi, the central door is themed around stories from the life of Mary and is decorated with floral Gothic reliefs. Descent from the Cross, the Crucifixion, the Nativity of Jesus, the Visitation, Christ carrying the Cross and the Flagellation of Christ, Jesus taking his farewell of his Mother, the Annunciation, the Marriage of the Virgin and the Nativity of the Virgin Mary are depicted in the bas relieves from left to right and from top to bottom.
Church of St. Gottardo
Located within walking distance from Piazza Duomo, the Church of San Gottardo has been active since 1336. Featuring a combination of Lombard Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical style, the church and its bell tower are very quaint and charming. The church also has notable artworks and frescoes including the works of Puccio Capanna or Stefano, one of Giotto’s pupils.
Duomo Archaeological Complex
The Duomo Archaeological Complex is home to several antique churches and sites which hark back to early Christianity in Milan. The prominent sites within the Duomo complex include the ancient centre of Christian religion, Basilica Vetus and the Baptistery of Santo Stefano alle fonti, Basilica di Santa Tecla, Baptistery of San Giovanni alle fonti and Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.
Recommended Skip the line Tickets & Guided Tours of Duomo Milan
Visiting Duomo di Milano - Practical Information
- Milan Cathedral is open daily from 09:00 AM to 07:00 PM. Last admission at 6:10 PM.
- Milan Cathedral terraces are open daily from 09:00 AM to 07:00 PM. Last admission is an hour before closing 6:10 PM.
- Santa Maria Annunciata in Camposanto Church is open from Monday to Friday from 12:30 PM - 2 PM.
- Duomo Museum and San Gottardo Church is open from 10 AM - 6 PM on all days except Wednesdays. Last admission at 5:10 PM.
- St.Stefano Baptistery is open daily from 9 AM - 6 PM. Entrance through north elevator.
- The archaeological area is open daily from 9 AM - 7 PM. Last admission at 6:10 PM.
- The Crypt of Saint Charles is open from Monday to Friday from 11 AM - 5:30 PM, on Saturdays between 11 AM - 5 PM and on Sundays between 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.
By Train : Duomo Complex is well connected by metro.
• From the Central Station, take the Yellow Underground M3 line to Duomo.
• From Cadorna Station, take the Red Underground M1 line to Duomo.
• From Garibaldi Station, take the Green Underground M2 to Cadorna. From here you’ll have to take the Red Underground M1 to the Duomo.
By Tram : Milan Duomo can be reached via the following trams.
• In Tram 15, you can get-off at Piazza Via Fontana Stop.
• In Tram 2 and Tram 14, you can get-off at the Via Torino Stop.
• In Tram 16, Tram 24 and Tram 27, you can get-off at the Via Mazzini Stop.
The Milan Cathedral is a religious attraction, and as a result modest clothing is a compulsion. Knees and shoulders must be covered by both men and women at all points in time on your visit to the Duomo.
Museo del Duomo & Church of St.Gottardo
The Museo del Duomo is not located within the Duomo. It is located a 2-minute walk away in a building facing the Duomo next to the Palazzo Reale. The Church of St. Gottardo is located a 5-minute walk away in Corte.