The Duomo is located in Piazza Duomo and it represents the most important expression of Gothic art in Italy. It is the city’s most iconic building and it was commissioned in 1368 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti who wanted to dedicate the cathedral to Santa Maria Nascente and, well aware of the magnificence of the project, founded at the same time the famous “Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo”, a corporation that has been taking care of the restorations and the maintenance of the cathedral for the last 600 years.
The cathedral is 158.5 metres (520 ft) long, 92 metres (302 ft) wide and the main spire (with the 4m tall gilded bronze statue “Madonnina” on top of it) is at a height of 108 metres (354 ft); before the construction of San Pietro in Rome the Duomo of Milan was the greatest church of Christianity. The white marble façade’s style is disharmonic: the lower part is mainly Baroque and the upper part is mostly Gothic. Internally the cathedral consists of five naves (plus the three naves of the transept) with 52 massive columns.
It takes time for an accurate visit, but we recommend visiting the Museum as well (partly located in Palazzo Reale), the Baptistery of San Giovanni alle Fonti (3,8m (12ft) below the cathedral, accessible from the staircase at the entrance) and the terraces where you can enjoy a suggestive view of the city.