Duomo and Piazza
Piazza del Duomo or the cathedral square is one of the most important historic centers frequently visited by locals and travelers as one of the most popular spots in your cherished Italy tour. This historic centre of Milan is also one of the most visited places of the world and Europe. Here we find a cluster of churches including Florence cathedral, the Opera del Duomo museum and many other places of historical importance. It was a very important site even during the Roman era and this beautiful square had been the heart of the history of Milan for centuries. All round the year tourists from all over the world are seen crowding around the square and visiting one or the other important building situated around this famous square. It is truly an invariable choice for any travelers in Milan .
Piazza del Duomo is referred to the cathedral and the surrounding square. The cathedral took 500 years to get constructed. After completion in the year 1959, it was decided by the people of Milan to build a beautiful square to be surrounded by historically important buildings. A competition was launched to select the designer and among the 176 bidders, Giuseppe Mengoni won the competition. Huge buildings are constructed around the open square to offset the dominance of the cathedral in the sky line. The work started in 1862 and took 20 long years to give shape to the way it is till today. It may be noted that a whole neighborhood had to be demolished in order to construct the elegant buildings around the square. Mengoni also designed a monumental glass covered arcade that connects the new square with the Piazza della Scala , the square in front of the famous theatre and Teatro Alla Scala.
Important sights around the square
The enormous gothic Duomo encrusted with white marbles and adorned with many statues is the most important and imposing building of the square and main attraction of the Piazza del Duomo and from its opening visage you will understand why it intricately considered a part of Milan tour. It is awe inspiring with its size and beauty with great open space and intricate designs. One gets the best view of the square from the roof of the cathedral from where the geometric pattern of the pavement becomes apparent. The piazza’s north side is also notable which is dominated by Palazzo Settentrionale, and by the enormous arch of the entranceway of equally huge arcade of Vittorio Emanuele II which is one of the oldest shopping malls of the world. It is also the home of many notable modern brands, shops and restaurants where tourists flock in to have a shopping experience of a lifetime. It was constructed in 1877. Another important building is Palazzo Settentrionale flanked by two symmetrical modernist style buildings. An impressive monument in the honor of the first king of the modern united Italy, Victor Emmanuel II is situated at the centre of the square. The statue of the king is being depicted here as leading his soldier in a battle, riding a horse. The monument is set in a massive platform and was built by Ercole Rosa. There are other buildings worth noting like Giotto’s bell tower, designed by Giotto and is known for its rich sculptural depiction and polychromatic marble encrustation. Baptistery of St. John is one of the oldest buildings of the city dating back to the medieval time.
In front of the cathedral we have the world renowned museum which exhibits the collections of the masters of medieval period, showcasing works of the artistic giants like Michelangelo, Donatello, Arnolfo di Cambio among others. Anyone visiting the square must make it a point to visit Museo dell Opera del Duomo for its rich collection of artworks.
Best time to visit
Italian summer is famous all over the world for its clear sky, pleasant breeze and equable temperature and that is reason enough why an Italy tour in summer makes you feel sometimes tired with crowd all around you. If you can’t go in August you can also come in April- may to discover the famous sights of Milan.