Visiting Milan Cathedral is an absolute must during a visit to Milan. In fine weather, it is a special pleasure to walk on the roof of the cathedral. It opens up a magnificent view over the entire city and with good visibility up to the Alps.
We recommend that you book a guided tour so that you are allowed in without queuing up for a long time and you will learn about the figures, paintings, windows and the stories.
The construction of the Milan Cathedral
The Milan Cathedral took more than 500 years to build. Just a few years ago, the main gate was installed. ready.
The cathedral is made of white Candoglia marble. On Lake Maggiore there is the mining area of the marble, which can only be used for the construction of the cathedral. On the right side of the cathedral you will find some yellowed photos.
To create the large marble blocks to Milan, the Naviglio was directed to the cathedral, where a port was located at the time of construction. The marble blocks were shipped from Lake Maggiore via Ticino and the Naviglio directly to the cathedral. The canals have been specially expanded for this purpose.
Parts of the cathedral are now 500 years old. That is why something is constantly being restored. So it’s quite normal for there to be scaffolding somewhere.
The Cathedral Square
It’s an unparalleled experience to see the huge white marble structure with its hundreds of turrets in full splendor in front of it. The center of the cathedral square is dominated by the equestrian statue Vittorio Emanuele II.
The cathedral is particularly impressive when you leave the metro in Piazza Cordusio, the stop in front of the Castello Sforza, and walk across the pedestrian passage through Via Mercanti to the cathedral.
In front of the cathedral on the left opens the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It connects Cathedral Square with Piazza della Scala. The Salon of Milan is home to great shops and historic coffees, as well as a luxury hotel. You’ll only see it if you know where it is. At the very back of the Galleria, before you leave for Teatro alla Scala, there is a Borsalino shop on the right. These are the classic hats for the gentlemen and the very dressy hats for the ladies. Not so expensive. The hat factory is located in Alessandria.
Admission to Milan Cathedral Duomo
The Cathedral in Milan is a sacred site and fully operational. There are devotions and confessionals. Sacred masses, weddings, baptisms and memorial services are held regularly. For this reason, calm must be kept in the cathedral and mobile phones must be switched on mute. The entrance gate is controlled. Please read about the safety and dress code.
The cathedral is open to visitors daily from 8:00-19:00. Last admission is 18:00
Cathedral visit to pray
Admission for believers is possible daily from 7am to 7pm. It takes place through the left portal and includes a delineated area of the cathedral for worship and confession. Admission for believers to pray and visit the service of God is free of charge. You use an extra entrance to do this.
Cathedral visit for sightseeing
Without tickets, nothing can be done here anymore. In addition, there are now far too many visitors. The queues for ticket purchase and then door control can ruin your day. It often takes hours. We recommend buying the tickets for the cathedral in advance or booking a tour. We offer such guided visits. This can then be done without much waiting time.
Ticket sales (also pick-up of reserved tickets) are located in a building on the right side of the cathedral, Piazza del Duomo 12, entrance to Dommuseum.
Audio guides are available for individuals to borrow. Groups of more than 4 people with guides must be equipped with headphones, otherwise the guide must not speak in the cathedral. In the case of religious ceremonies or special events, there may be partial or the complete closure of the cathedral without notice. The main nave of the cathedral is wheelchair accessible.
Safety and dress code
Despite reservations and tickets, guests must be expected to arrive at the entrance due to thorough bag checks and metal detectors. No large pieces of luggage, glass bottles, scissors, nail files, perfume, pocket knives, animals, tripods, sports equipment, etc. may be brought into the cathedral. There are no lockers to leave anything behind.
Admission is only allowed in appropriate clothing. and trousers must be at least knee-length and cover the shoulders. Tourists in short skirts and shorts are also denied entry. A headgear must be removed. Please kindly respect this.
Building the roof of Milan Cathedral
A special feature of Milan’s cathedral is that you can get to the roof from 9:00 to sunset. Either walk the stairs or take the lift. The lift is located outside the cathedral on the left side of the cathedral. The lift only leads up to an intermediate floor, on the roof there are further narrow stairs to be mastered. The staircase to the spiral staircase is located outside the cathedral on the left opposite the Rinascente department store.
The roof is slightly sloping and also made of marble and therefore quite slippery, especially in damp weather. In the event of a storm or smooth ice, the roof is locked. The ascent to the cathedral roof is not suitable for disabled people.
Surrounded by the roof terraces of a total of 3,400 statues, the Guglie, which form lots of little spikes on the cathedral roof. Each of the statues is individually made and there are no equal shapes. Each is unique. You can also study at the statues very nicely the style of the last couple of hundred years.
On the highest point of the cathedral is the golden Madonnina. It protects Milan from a height of 108.50 m and was Milan’s highest point until a few years ago. It was banned until 2015 to build higher than the cathedral. Built in 1958, the Pirelli building at the station was hotly debated. It’s 127 high. Whether the builder entered hell is not known.
Crypt and Cathedral Treasure
Beneath the round crypt is the chapel of San Carlo Borromeo, the archbishop of Milan: It lies here in a sarcophagus made of lead glass. The ceiling and walls of the crypt are decorated with scenes from the life of Saint Borromeo (1538 – 1584).
The most valuable items that have accumulated during the cathedral’s long history are also under the crypt and can be viewed.
Registration of Groups at the Duomo
Groups with guides must be registered at the Milan cathedral. The number of groups registered daily is now limited. The rush is just too big. Spring, autumn, and generally on Saturdays, it is no longer so easy to get tickets for a group. During the guided tours, wearing headphones (whisper) is mandatory to ensure tranquility in the cathedral.
Milano24ore is happy to help with tourist guides German or other languages, maps and headphones system.