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Milan Cathedral

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As one of the largest churches in the world, the Milan Cathedral (Ital. Duomo di Milano or Basilica cattedrale metropolitana di Santa Maria Nascente) is one of the most popular and spectacular sights in Italy. The cathedral owes this not only to its impressive architecture, but also to the breathtaking view from its roof terrace.

Queues are often long at the site, so it's worth booking tickets or guided tours in advance.
Klaus KainzBy Klaus Kainz
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Get on the roof!

Get a little higher when you book a ticket that includes access to the Duomo’s roof!
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Milan: Cathedral and Duomo's Terraces Entrance Ticket
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Milan Cathedral: Duomo Terraces Ticket (No Church Access)
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Milan: Skip-the-Line Tour of the Rooftop of the Duomo
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Milan Duomo and Rooftop 2-Hour Guided Tour
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More Tickets & Tours

Browse even more tours which include a trip to Milan Cathedral.
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Milan: Milan Cathedral Direct Entrance - Terrace Excluded
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Milan: Guided Walking Tour with Duomo and the Last Supper
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Da Vinci's Last Supper & Milan Sightseeing Tour
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Florence: Cathedral, Duomo Museum, and Baptistery Tour
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9 tips for visiting the Milan Cathedral

Lines in front of Duomo Milan | Photo: Flickr, kevin_lavorgna - CC BY 2.0
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Book tickets in timeThe Duomo di Milano is the most popular sight in Milan. Especially in high season, the queues are long. Those who want to buy tickets on the spot, might need to wait up to an hour. So book in advance online or be early at the Duomo in time for its opening. When buying on site, there is a waiting system where numbers must be drawn.
View from the roof | Flickr: kuhnmi CC BY 2.0
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Choose the right ticketBeware: The cathedral has a lot to offer and for its different attractions you also need different tickets. The Culture Pass includes access to the Duomo, including the crypt with the Scurolo di San Carlo and the excavation areas, as well as the Domo Museum and the Court Church of Saint Gotthard. The Duomo Pass gives access to the roof terrace in addition to the attractions just mentioned. The Fast Track Pass gives access to all areas in the cathedral without long queues. Those who only want to go to the roof can also buy individual tickets for the terrace.
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Pay attention to the dress codeAs in many large churches in Italy, bare shoulders or knees are not allowed in Milan Cathedral. Appropriate attire includes longer skirts or trousers that cover the knees. Help yourself out with a scarf or sweater if in doubt.
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Walking saves moneyMost tickets at Milan Cathedral can be purchased in two ways: with a lift or without a lift. If you dare to walk up the stairs to the roof on foot, you save some money.
Duomo Exterior | Photo: geo pixel - CC BY 3.0
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Save money with combination ticketsIf you're planning to visit several museums in Milan, one way to save money deal is the Milan Pass City Card. In addition to admission to many attractions such as the Duomo - including a ticket for the roof - it also includes a 48-hour ticket for a Hop-On Hop-Off bus..
Milan Cathedral | Flickr: Sergio Boscaino CC BY 2.0
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Join a guided tourA guided tour of Milan Cathedral is a great way to learn even more about the cathedral and its history from professionals. Experienced guides will take you through the church, to the archaeological sites and up to the roof. Such an official tour also eliminates any potential wait at the entrance.
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Tours for children and teenagersFor children, Milan Cathedral offers several tours with different thematic focuses, such as the 'Little Duomo Detectives' tour, 'Let's Climb the Duomo' on the terrace, or the archaeological tour 'In the Footsteps of Indiana Jones'. School classes or university groups interested in the Duomo can request special tours at didattica@duomomilano.it.
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Virtual offersThe popular Milan sight shows its modern side with the Milano Duomo Official App. For € 3.50 in the Apple Store as well as Google Play, the app offers a virtual tour lasting about an hour and a half. Alternatively, up to four Duomo Pass tickets can be loaded onto a so-called Milano Duomo Card, which also includes digital content and a virtual 3D tour of the cathedral.
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Participate in church servicesTäglich finden mindestens vier Gottesdienste statt, an denen kostenlos teilgenommen werden darf. Dafür gibt es einen gesonderten Eingang in die Kathedrale.

Highlights in the Duomo di Milano

Fans of art history and architecture must not miss the Gothic cathedral in Piazza Duomo. That's because it boasts numerous art history highlights, including more statues than any other cathedral - over 3,150 of them. From the unique roof terrace you can also enjoy a fantastic panorama of the iconic city of Milan.
Statue | Flickr: Gary Campbell-Hall CC BY 2.0

An Elaborate Interior

Numerous details worth seeing are located inside the epochal building. Among them, for example, the statue of St. Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, wearing his own skin, or the sundial with the twelve signs of the zodiac.
Duomo Exterior | Flickr: Gary Campbell-Hall CC BY 2.0

The Glorious Façade

A total of over 2,000 sculptures and pinnacles adorn the exterior walls of the cathedral. The pinnacles, which derive from the Italian term foglia>, which means something like leaf or needle, are slender, pointed turrets carved from stone. They are particularly well known from Gothic architecture. Among the many statues is a representation of Napoleon, dedicated to him in gratitude for the completion of the church. One of the other statues is considered the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty in America. However, it carries a cross in its hand instead of a book, in addition to a crown and a torch..
Milan Cathedral | Photo: Flickr, Amanda Slater - CC BY-SA 2.0

Spectacular view on the Roof

On the roof terrace of the Duomo, on a clear day, the panorama reaches even to the Alps, while you can almost always see over the entirety of Milan, while you can admire the details of the artfully designed spires (Guglie). There are 158 steps up to the roof of the Duomo, some in narrow spirals with low ceilings, which is why the elevator is ideal for visitors prone to claustrophobia.
Battistero di San Giovanni alle Fonti | Flickr: Dimitris Kamaras CC BY 2.0

Archaeology and the Treasures of the Duomo

The entrance to the archaeological site of the Battistero di San Giovanni alle Fonti and the octagonal chapel Scurolo di San Carlo in the crypt are located inside the cathedral. It was there that St. Charles Borromeo found his final resting place, while the remains of the Baptistery date from early Christian times. The crypt also houses the cathedral treasury of Milan Cathedral.

Seeing the relic of Jesus

A nail from the cross of Jesus is kept in its own tabernacle and is brought out only once a year for veneration during the Rito della Nivola. To visit this event, you must have separate tickets.
Duomo at night | Photo: FEugenioTL - CC BY-SA 4.0

An Unparalleled Church – History of the Duomo di Milano

The Duomo di Milano is the largest church in Italy, Vatican City excluded, and one of the largest churches in the world. It holds up to 35,000 people at once, is graced by over 3,000 statues, and took nearly 600 years to complete.

The long origin

On the site of a former Roman temple, construction of the cathedral first began in 1386. However, its completion was to drag on for several centuries. Although the main altar of the cathedral was consecrated by Pope Martin V as early as 1418, the towers were still far from being completed. Even when Bishop Charles Borromeo finally consecrated the entire structure in 1572, components of the facade were still not satisfactorily completed.

Completion of the cathedral

The main part of the cathedral was completed after Napoleon was crowned king of Italy in 1805. But even at this point, not everything was completed. The completion of the last door did not occur until 1965, almost 600 years after work began in 1386. Also in 1986 the organ was restored, the largest instrument of its kind in all of Italy.

Symbol of Milan

On top of one of the towers rises the golden Madonnina, which for many people is symbolic of the city. In the revolutionary year of 1848, the Italian flag was hoisted on it, which is said to have led to victory against the Austrian troops. If you look up to the Duomo in Milan from March 17 to 22, you can see the tricolor (the flag of Italy) in the grip of the golden Madonnina. This custom is repeated several times a year.

Facts and Figures

The cathedral is popular with tourists from Italy and all over the world. About 100,000 people visit Milan Cathedral every week. With a total area of nearly 130.000 ft² (12,000 m²), a façade width of 201 ft (61.5 m) and height of 183 ft (56 m), it is one of the monumental buildings in northern Italy. The American writer Mark Twain, who also visited the cathedral in Milan in the course of his many travels, went into raptures when he saw the cathedral in 1867 and called the building a 'miracle'.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Milan Cathedral accessible for people with disabilities?

The Cathedral itself is accessible via two ramps, the Baptistery of St. Stephen and the Crypt of St. Charles Borromeo are accessible only via steps. The Baptistry of St. John, on the other hand, is wheelchair friendly. Wheelchairs are allowed on the roof, but not all parts of the terrace are accessible. Tactile tours are available for the blind and visually impaired, and there are tours in international sign language. For more information, contact didattica@duomomilano.it. Read more.

How much time does a visit to the cathedral take up?

A guided tour of the Duomo in Milan takes about 90 minutes, but the cathedral can be explored extensively on your own after the tour. Those who visit all the sights with a lot of interest, however, should plan up to four hours. Read more.

How long does it take to get to the terrace without the lift?

Those who don’t need the elevator save money on tickets. However, there are 158 stairs to reach the roof. Read more.

Can I take my bags into the cathedral?

Yes, but for security reasons all bags are searched before entry. Read more.

Are photos allowed in the Duomo di Milano?

Photography for personal purposes is allowed everywhere in the Duomo di Milano. However, photography is prohibited during church services and concerts. Permission for commercial photos must be obtained from the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The cathedral and Archaeological Area are open daily from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, with the last tickets available at 6:00 pm. The Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni alle Fonti) and the roof are open from 9:00 am and close at 7:00 pm daily. The Duomo Museum opens from 10 AM to 7 PM from Tuesday to Sunday and is closed on Mondays.

address

Duomo di Milano
Piazza Duomo 14/a
20122 Milan

tickets

For 10 € the Culture Pass includes the visit of the Milan Cathedral, the Kypta and the Chapel Scurolo di San Carlo, the archaeological site and the Cathedral Museum. The Duomo Pass with additional entry to the roof is available for €20 with an elevator, or €15 with stairs. Those who only want to go to the roof pay 15 € for a ticket with lift, or 10 € without lift. Persons with disabilities with accompanying persons and military personnel in uniform have free access.

how to get there

Milan Cathedral can be reached by metro to Duomo stop (lines 1 and 3), streetcar to Torino/Duomo stop (lines 2, 3 or 14) or Dogana/Duomo (line 24). Bus lines 54, 60, 65, 73 and Z602 also stop near the Duomo.
Klaus Kainz
Written byKlaus KainzAs a studied historian, Klaus is not only interested in historical sights, but also in their fascinating backgrounds. For TicketLens, he gets to the heart of the most interesting information about attractions and travel destinations.
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