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Milan Cathedral

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The Duomo di Milano is the 4th largest church in the world and has the most statues - more than 3150 in total! With construction taking almost 600 years, managed by over 75 architects in that time, the cathedral’s architecture comprises of many different styles - though mostly Gothic - and this inconsistency has meant its beauty hasn’t always been appreciated. Today the cathedral is the most visited site in Milan, both by those who want to enjoy the Duomo’s unique architecture and by those who want to get a great view of Milan from its roof! Lines can be incredibly long (over an hour to buy tickets alone!) so book ahead or take a guided tour to get skip-the-line entry.
Maurizio MassaroBy Maurizio Massaro
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The Duomo di Milano, Rooftop & Museum + Audio Guide
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Get on the roof!

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Milan Cathedral and Rooftop Ticket
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Milan Cathedral: Rooftop Terraces Ticket (No Church Access)
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The Duomo di Milano, Rooftop & Museum
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Milan: Skip-the-Line Tour of the Duomo and Terraces
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Milan: Fast-Track Milan Cathedral and Terraces Guided Tour
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Milan in a Day: Duomo, Walking tour and Optional Last Supper
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Milan Cathedral & Terraces Private Tour With Fast Track Line
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Milan: Skip-the-Line Duomo Guided Tour and Optional Terraces
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4 Tips for Visiting the Milan Cathedral

Lines in front of Duomo Milan | Photo: Flickr, kevin_lavorgna - CC BY 2.0
1
Get There EarlyThe Duomo is the most popular attraction for tourists visiting Milan, so lines (especially in the peak holiday period) can be extremely long. Try to be there at opening time, especially in spring and summer, to avoid the worst of the queues.
Duomo Milan | Photo: Flickr, Amanda Slater - CC BY-SA 2.0
2
Pay Attention in the QueueIf you don’t buy your ticket in advance, watch out for the queuing system - you’ll need to take a number to enter the queue, then you’ll be called to the counter. There are a tonne of different ticket combinations available, so make sure you know exactly what you want to see! All of the areas also have their own tickets which can be bought separately from the main ticket desk.
3
Consider the DresscodeWatch out for the dress code - in many large churches in Italy, you won’t be allowed to enter if your shoulders or knees are showing. Wear slightly longer skirts or trousers, and bring a scarf or jumper to cover up while you’re inside.
4
Save with a City PassIf you’re planning on going to multiple museums in Milan, consider getting the Milan Pass. In addition to free tickets for the Duomo (and access to the roof) and many other attractions, it includes 48 hours of hop-on hop-off bus travel which will take you to all the major sites.
Milan Cathedral | Flickr: Sergio Boscaino CC BY 2.0

Duomo di Milano: What are the Ticket and Tour Options?

There are several different tickets for the Duomo di Milano, including combo-tickets. You can also buy separate tickets for access to the roof terrace or the cathedral at the Duomo’s ticket office.

Culture Pass

The Culture Pass includes access to the cathedral plus the crypt of St. Charles, the archaeological area, the Duomo Museum, and the Church of San Gottardo. It costs €8 or €4 for concessions.

Duomo Pass

In addition to everything included in the Culture Pass, the Duomo Pass also includes access to the roof of the Cathedral. A ticket including the elevator costs €17 (or €9 for concessions), while a ticket including access via the stairs costs €13 (or €7 for concessions).

Fast Track Pass

The Fast Track Pass lets you access the attractions included, such as the Duomo Museum, Church of San Gottardo, and the cathedral roof (via lift) with skip-the-line access. A full-price ticket costs €25 and the concession price is €13.

Guided Tours

A guided tour of Milan Cathedral will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about its architecture and history. An expert guide will lead you through the main church, the archaeological sites, and up to the roof. When you’re visiting with an official guide you’ll also get to skip all the lines.

Highlights in the Duomo di Milano

The gothic cathedral on the Piazza Duomo contains dozens of highlights for lovers of art history or architecture, and those who venture up to the roof will be rewarded with a stunning panorama of Milan.
Statue | Flickr: Gary Campbell-Hall CC BY 2.0

An Elaborate Interior

You’ll want to linger over several sculptures inside the Duomo, but there are a couple of things you should look out for in particular. There’s the statue of St. Bartholomew, depicted wearing his own flayed skin, and a beautiful sundial featuring the twelve signs of the zodiac. A special relic, a nail from Jesus’ cross, is kept in its own tabernacle and is only displayed once a year. This ritual is called the Rito della Nivola and you’ll need a special ticket if you want to attend.
Duomo Exterior | Flickr: Gary Campbell-Hall CC BY 2.0

The Glorious Façade

The façade of the cathedral is covered in more than 2,000 statues, but take the time to find the statue of Napoleon - the Duomo was dedicated to him in gratitude for his help in finishing the cathedral’s construction. Another statue to look out for is the figure of a woman considered by some historians to be the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty. She’s carrying a cross in her hand rather than a book, but the distinctive crown and torch help her to stand out.
View from the roof | Flickr: kuhnmi CC BY 2.0

Get up on the Roof

On clear days, the view from the top of the Duomo stretches as far as the Alps, and even on cloudy days, you’ll get an unparalleled view of Milan. You’ll also be up close to the cathedral’s spires (or Guglie), which are covered in detail. If you decide to take the stairs to the roof then you’ll need to climb 158 steps in a tightly winding stairwell. Visitors with claustrophobia might prefer to take the elevator.
Battistero di San Giovanni alle Fonti | Flickr: Dimitris Kamaras CC BY 2.0

Archaeology and the Treasures of the Duomo

From inside the Duomo, you can access the archaeological site of the Battistero di San Giovanni alle Fonti, one of Milan’s first baptisteries, and the octagonal chapel in the crypt that houses the remains of St. Charles Borromeo. The crypt also contains the treasures of the cathedral.
Milan Cathedral | Flickr: Sergio Boscaino CC BY 2.0

An Unparalleled Church

The Duomo of Milan is the largest church in Italy (since St. Peter’s Basilica is technically in the state of Vatican City), and the fourth largest church in the world. It can hold 35,000 worshippers at one time, is decorated with over 3,000 statues, and took nearly 600 years to complete.

Construction of the Cathedral

Work on the main building of the cathedral wasn’t completed until Napoleon was crowned King of Italy in 1805, more than 400 years after work began in 1386. However, the final gate wasn’t added until 1965, meaning that the cathedral as we know it today took more than 570 years to finish. The cathedral was visited by American writer Mark Twain in 1867 and seemingly blew him away - he later described it as a ‘wonder’.

Facts and Figures

The cathedral is popular with tourists from Italy and around the world. Every week the Duomo is visited by around 100,000 visitors, approximately 80% of the tourists who go to Milan. Its total area is nearly two acres (12,000 m²), with its façade measuring 201 feet (61.5 m) wide and 183 feet (56 m) high, adding up to make it one of northern Italy’s most monumental buildings.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I spend at the Duomo?

A guided tour of the Duomo takes about 90 minutes, but you can explore as long as you like afterward. If churches aren’t your particular passion, 2 hours to explore the main building and wait in the lines for the roof should be plenty. If you’re into religious history and architecture then you can easily spend upwards of 4 hours exploring the entire complex, including the crypt and archaeological areas. Read more.

Can I take photographs?

Photography for personal use is allowed throughout the Duomo and the archaeological sites. Please note that photography is not permitted during religious services or concerts. Permits for commercial photography or filming must be obtained from the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo (the institution responsible for the cathedral’s buildings) before your visit. Read more.

General Information

Opening Hours:

The cathedral is open daily from 8 am to 7 pm. The last ticket is sold at 6 pm and the last entry is at 6.10 pm. The Baptistery of San Giovanni alle Fonti and rooftops are open from 9 am and close at the same time as the cathedral. The Crypt of St Charles, the Baptistery of St Stephen, and the Duomo Museum all close earlier than the cathedral, please check their opening times when you arrive for details. There are at least 4 services per day, those wishing to attend can do so free of charge via a dedicated entrance.

Tickets:

The Culture Pass includes entry to the cathedral, the Crypt of St Charles, the archaeological area, the Duomo museum and the Church of San Gottardo and costs €8 for adults and €4 for children aged 6 to 12 and for visitors aged under 26. Tickets including the lift to the rooftops cost €17 for adults, those permitting access to the rooftop via the stairs cost €13 for adults and a fast track pass for the lift costs €25 for adults. Free tickets are available for children aged 5 and under, disabled visitors and their companions, and military personnel in uniform.

Address:

Duomo di Milano
Piazza Duomo 14/a
20122 Milan

Security:

Security measures are in place and all bags will be searched before visitors are allowed to enter the cathedral.

How to get there:

Milan Cathedral can be reached via metro services to the station called Duomo (lines 1 and 3), via tram to either the stop called Torino/Duomo (lines 2, 3, and 14) or Dogana/Duomo (line 24). Bus numbers 54, 60, 65, 73, and Z602 also stop near the Duomo.

Dresscode:

The cathedral is a working religious building, and visitors are required to cover their shoulders and to avoid wearing shorts or dresses which reach above the knee.

Accessibility:

The cathedral is accessible via two side ramps with handrails, although the Ferial Chapel, the Baptistery of St Stephen and the Crypt of St Charles require visitors to use stairs to enter them. The Baptistery of San Giovanni is accessible to wheelchair users, there is a lift available, though visitors will need to ring the doorbell so that staff know to assist in the operation of the lift. The rooftop is temporarily unavailable to users with limited mobility due to construction works. Manual wheelchairs can be borrowed free of charge from the Duomo Infopoint. Guided tactile tours are available for blind and partially-sighted visitors, and guided tours in International Sign Language are also available for Deaf visitors. For more information please email didattica@duomomilano.it.
Maurizio Massaro
Written byMaurizio MassaroMaurizio is a cosmopolitan, a musician and comes around. In his role as a content manager at TicketLens, he is always striving to find new offers as well as writing about sights all over the world.Translated by Anneliese O'Malley
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