The Milan Cathedral – Visiting the Rooftop, Opening Hours, Tickets

Milan Cathedral, or Duomo di Milano in Italian, is one of the biggest, most popular and most beautiful churches in the world. It was in the works for 600 years, 4 times longer than the current Sagrada Familia. It also has a very rich lineage, if we include the previous cathedral from the 4th century, Santa Maria Maggiore. In this guide, you’ll get to know the visiting hours for this gothic cathedral, the ticket pricing, how to get to the Duomo di Milano rooftop and what the cathedral, generally speaking, looks like, including its history.

Visiting the Milan Cathedral

The Milan Cathedral is the most popular tourist attraction in Milan. It’s located in the centre of the city, 20 mins away from Stazione Centrale and Porta Garibaldi. Its characteristic features include: its gorgeous white facade, various ornaments and sculptures, the flèches, the rooftop available for tourists and of course, the gigantic interior, where you can find a lot of famous art pieces, like the St. Bartholomew statue (on the left side of the altar), three huge altars, a nail from the crucifixion of Jesus (marked by the red light bulb under the dome) and sarcophages, hiding the Milan archbishops.

If you want to visit the Milan Cathedral, you can also combine it with various other attractions nearby, for all of which you can buy just one ticket. Mainly, the fascinating archeological findings, showcasing the previous buildings present till the Roman times, or the crypt of St. Charles.

Duomo Milano

The Milan Cathedral’s rooftop

It’s worth it to go to the Milan Cathedral not just for the rich inside, but mostly for the accessible rooftop, which is not a commonly available option when it comes to gothic cathedrals in Europe. How much do the tickets cost for the roof entrance? 12 EUR – if we use the lift or 7 EUR if we dare to go by the stairs. After a bit of a climb, and after getting through the lower level of the rooftop, we get to the observation deck, at the very top of the cathedral’s roof. From there, you’re gifted with the incredible view of the whole Duomo Square and all the nearby attractions.

From up close, we can also notice all the neat architectural details, fairly characteristic of the gothic style, that grab our attention from below. For instance, the tiny ‘towers’ called ‘pinnacles’ or the gargoyles, which sit at the ends of the gutters. The place’s simply perfect for taking photos and panoramas of Milan. We can also rest at the top, as it’s quite massive and gives us plenty of space to roam around.

Duomo Milano Roof

Milan Cathedral – tickets and visiting hours

The Milan Cathedral offers a few different ticket types, including the options to be able to go to different parts of the museum and the Cathedral. We can choose from the: Cathedral, St. Charles’ Crypt, the Archeological territory, Duomo Museum, the San Gottardo church, the Cathedral’s rooftop (with separate variants for the lift/staircase options). Additionally, we can buy the Fast Track option, to save some time.

Basic tickets, allowing us to enter only the Cathedral, cost 3 EUR (2 EUR for a concession ticket).

Culture Pass ticket offers: The Milan Cathedral, St. Charles’ Crypt, Archeological Area, Duomo Museum, San Gottardo church. Price for a standard ticket: 8 EUR, a concession ticket: 4 EUR.

Duomo Pass Lift ticket offers: The Milan Cathedral, St. Charles’ Crypt, Archeological Area, Duomo Museum, San Gottardo church, and a lift to the Cathedral’s rooftop. The standard ticket costs 17 EUR, a concession ticket: 9 EUR.

Duomo Pass Stairs ticket offers: The Milan Cathedral, St. Charles’ Crypt, Archeological Area, Duomo Museum, San Gottardo church and the ability to get to the rooftop through the staircase. The standard ticket costs 13 EUR, a concession ticket: 7 EUR.

Fast Track Pass offers: The Milan Cathedral, St. Charles’ Crypt, Archeological Area, Duomo Museum, San Gottardo church and a ‘Fast Track lift’ to the Cathedral’s rooftop. The ticket costs 25 EUR, with the concession ticket being 13 EUR.

The Cathedral’s open from 8:00 till 19:00, the last chance we have to buy a ticket is at 18:00, and the last chance to enter is at 18:10. The rooftop opens at 9:00, closes at 19:00, last chance purchases same as with the main body of the cathedral. The archeological area shares the same schedule as the rooftop. Entry tickets to the Duomo Museum and the archeological area are available only at the ticket offices.

Since the 4th of March, 2019, entrance to the historical complex is organised according to a schedule. The visitors are asked to choose the time and place of the start of the visit.

Archaeological area Cathedral of Milan

Milan Cathedral – the build and measurements

What are the measurements of the Milan Cathedral? It’s the second biggest church in Italy, with only the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica being bigger. The Milan Cathedral is the third biggest church in Europe, and fourth biggest in the entire world. It’s 157 m long, 93 m wide. The peak of the building reaches 108 m. The importance of this building for the European culture can be proven by the fact, that during the 600 years of the building process, there were 2150 figures put into the facade and the roof.

Duomo Milano’s layout consists of one main nave and four side naves, an apse and a choir. The naves are 45 tall. There were almost 80 architects and engineers total to take part in the works, from SImone da Orsenigo in 1387 to Benigno Morlin Visconti Castiglione, in 1988.

Pillars in Milan Cathedral

Milan Cathedral – history

The cathedral entered the works in 14th century (1386), thanks to prince Gian Galeazzo Visconti, while it got finished in the 19th century, under Napoleon Bonaparte, who ordered the front to be finished. That’s why you can spot some neo gothic influence on the facade. In 1389, Nicolas de Bonaventure became the main engineer, which gave the cathedral an unusual, French style – he also decided that the facade should be covered with marble. The build was going very fast, until 1402, when half of the cathedral was done, but the works stopped for almost 80 years.

Between the years 1500 and 1510, the dome got finished. In 1562, the insides got enriched by the St. Bartholomew statue. In 1577, the Archbishop Carlo Borromeo blessed the cathedral as the new church. In 1649, thanks to Carlo Buzzi, an architect, the facade was ordered to return to the original, gothic style.

In 1762, at 108,5 m of height, one of the most characteristic parts of the cathedral was finished – the statue of Madonnina. The statue was designed by Carlo Pellicani. In 1805, Bonaparte wanted to finish the cathedral. Pellicani, basing his works on Buzzi’s plans, added some neo-gothic details above the windows. The coronation of Napoleon (as the King of Italy) took place in the finished Milan Cathedral.

In the next years, most of the missing pinnacles and arches were added, in the years 1829-1858 new stained glass windows replaced the old ones. The last details were added in the 20th century: the last gate got finished on 6th of January, 1965.

Madonnina Milan

Useful tips

  • Remember not to bring any suspicious equipment with you to the Cathedral. Tourists are usually frisked before entering the cathedral
  • In the high season, investing in a Fast Track ticket can be a good idea, as the queue times get abysmal
  • The tickets usable for many attractions are valid for three days

Layout of the Milan Cathedral

Plan of Milan Cathedral

  1. The archeological area
  2. The organs
  3. Main Altar
  4. Nail from the Jesus’ Cross
  5. The stained glass, showcasing the Apocalypse
  6. St. Bartholomew Statue
  7. The southern elevator
  8. The northern elevator
  9. Staircase
  10. The ticket office

Interesting places in the cathedral

Duomo Milano Roof of Milan Cathedral Roof of Milan Cathedral Roof of Milan Cathedral carollo_borromeo_duomo_milanRoof of Duomo Milano Roof of Duomo Milano art   Pillars in Milano Duomo Diomo Milano Cross  Madonnina Milan  Organ of Cathedral of Milan Cathedral Milan Plan Doors in Cathedral Milan Relic of Saint Charles in Milan Sculptures Duomo Milano Sculptures Duomo Milano Sculptures Duomo Milano Duomo Milano Roof Pillars in Milan Cathedral Saint Bartolomeo Milan Sculptures in Milan Cathedral Stained Glass Milan Cathedral Stained Glass Milan Cathedral

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