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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 29 May, 2023

Milan’s multi-spired Duomo, the world’s large gothic cathedral, has been compared to a wedding cake, a ‘poem in marble’ (Mark Twain) and a hedgehog (D.H. Lawrence).

Commissioned in 1386-7, this pinkish marble, gothic extravaganza took over 550 years to complete. The final flourishes were added in 1965. Having been built over such an extended period, enduring numerous architects, it’s a hodgepodge of styles but nonetheless impressive.

Inside, check out the 18th-century floor-length sundial near the entrance, and the tomb of San Carlo Borromeo. Then climb the 158 steps (or catch the lift) to the rooftop terraces to admire the mind-boggling 3,400 marble statues – and the view.

Price from: £5
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Allow about 30 minutes to visit the cathedral (free of charge; queues are rare); and a further 30 minutes to climb up to the rooftop terraces. (There’s also a lift). Here you’ll meet with occasional queues at the ticket office – but you can pre-purchase tickets online. You can buy tickets for the Cathedral alone, or to include the roof terrace and/or the museum (additional charge).

When to do it

The Duomo and its roof terraces are open all year round, seven days a week. The Duomo Museum closes on Mondays.

If you plan to hit the roof terraces, pick a clear day when you can see the Alps. Sunsets are an experience you won’t forget. Avoid during cold, icy weather.

Round-ups that include this experience

101 World’s greatest historic buildings

Multiple countries

The great civilisations of the past have left a legacy of constructions that still stand out and inspire. Built without the wonders of 20th-century technology, many are also monumental feats of engineering; others offer such grace and beauty, that they’ll literally take your breath away.

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