Here is Milan biggest square, always packed with people of every kind, race and age… People looking around, walking in a hurry, chatting and scared by pigeons… Did you see how many pigeons are there? If you look up at the triumphal arch you will see that a net has been fixed, in order to avoid pigeons from going into the gallery! More pigeons or people? It is anyone’s guess!
On the left of the Duomo cathedral, that you surely have recognized, don’t miss both the beautiful Palazzo Reale and the Arengario, which is now used as a museum, precisely the Museo del ‘900 (XX Century Museum).
Walk straight to the bottom of the square and stop right in front of the Duomo to fully appreciate its beauty… How big is it? How many statues are there on the steeples? How high is it? How long did it take to build it? Well, it took more than 400 years… Nowadays, if something takes a long time to finish, you might hear the saying “it seems like the making of the Duomo”! Yet why and who built it?
Firstly, do not try to count the steeples and statues – they are more than 3000 – and be satisfied with knowing that the basis of the small effigy of the Virgin Mary is 100m high and that the Virgin Mary is not so small because it is actually 5 meters high!
As all the other great constructions, the Duomo has its own legend as well. It is a bit frightful, do you want to hear it?
Legend has it that on a winters’ night, the duke of Milan Gian Galeazzo Visconti laid in his comfy bed and the Devil appeared in his dream! Help! The Devil told him that if he wouldn’t be dragged to hell, he would immediately (right from the day after) have to start building a huge cathedral full with images of the evil spirits! Gian Galeazzo promised and the Devil disappeared.
The day after the duke called before him all his engineers and architects and told them his plan… They had to keep in mind two main things: the cathedral should have been magnificent and full of Devil representations… Nowadays, you can admire – a bit scared – 100 gargoyles made in the likeness of Satan… Do you know what a gargoyle is? It’s a big opening connected to a channel that drains water from roofs and terraces. In ancient times, before the advent of copper pipes, gargoyles used to be made in the likeness of monsters to keep evil spirits away! Therefore don’t be afraid, these sinister figures should make you feel safe, not in danger!
You can also reach the top of the Duomo, if you want you can climb the 200-step stair or – for the laziest – there is a lift. However, if you want to save up €12 each and don’t give up the pleasure of seeing it, you just have to go on the Rinascente terrace (under the arcade on the left of the Duomo)… It would be a fantastic experience as well!
If you want to have a short break, be careful because you are in one of the most expensive areas of the city… You are in Milan city centre, the most tourist and expensive zone… So take our advice to avoid any unpleasant surprises, both in terms of spending and quality! If it is lunch time or time for a snack, and you don’t want to waste time, you should stop and have a panzerotto at Luini, in Via Santa Redegonda.
You can stop in Via san Paolo, 15 where you will find the Antica Focacceria San Francesco: high-quality Sicilian delicacies, perfect for a quick and tasty lunch. Then go to Via Cappellari, 3. Whilst having a stroll take a look at Humana Vintage, a shop selling second-hand clothes of the 60s, 70s, 80s. The earnings will be allocated to poor countries in the southern part of the world!

piazza Duomo, Milan
telephone: 02.72022656
opening time:
Duomo: Open from Monday to Friday from 7am till 7pm
Terrazza panoramica: Open from Monday to Friday from 9am till 7pm
Duomo: free entrance
Panoramic rooftop: on foot ticket 7,00€ /reduced-ticket 3,50€ – with elevator ticket 12,00 €/reduced-ticket 6,00€
how to get there:
tram line 2, 14, 15, 16, 24, 27
metro line M1/M3 Duomo