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Duomo, Milan

Piazza del Duomo
Italy 20122
Tel: 39 02 8646 3456
view web site ›'s insider take:

With its fairytale forest of spires, herds of fierce gargoyles, and army of perched stone saints, Milan's Duomo looks from a distance more like a Disney castle than a place of worship. It's the fourth-largest church in the world and one of Europe's great Gothic cathedrals. Begun in 1386 and consecrated in 1418, the Duomo was a work in progress for centuries (the facade was only completed early in the 19th century, under the orders of Napoleon). To fully appreciate the wealth of exterior ornament—and for a fine view over the city—take the elevator to the roof. The highest of the estimated 3,400 statues is the famous Madonnina, a four-meter-tall, gilded copper Virgin Mary, touchstone and protectress of the city. Inside the cathedral, the lofty roof is held up by 52 columns, one for each week of the year. Don't miss the stained-glass windows, some of which date back to the 15th century.

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