The Duomo Cathedral is the symbol of Milan - impressive, imposing, and strikingly beautiful. It took an extremely long time to build: the construction started in 1386 and dragged on for nearly five (!) centuries. Minor work continues even today, as restoration projects are undertaken every few years, last of which was completed in 2007. Perhaps the Duomo owes its unique beauty to 500 years it took to build, because the cathedral heavily borrows from a lot of styles and architecture traditions.
The structure is nothing but elaborate: over 2000 statues can be seen on the outside of the cathedral, including the locals' favourite вЂ“ a copper statue of Madonnina (1774), the patron of Milan, placed on the tallest Duomo spire. Before the construction of the Pirelli Tower in Milan the Madonnina spire at its 108 meters was the tallest structure in the city. A smaller replica had been placed atop the Pirelli Tower at the height of 127 meters. Tradition demands that no other building in Milan is allowed to grow taller than Madonnina (either one).
There are 135 spires and pointy pinnacles supported by flying buttresses on the Duomo cathedral. It feels like if you touched a spire it would prick your finger. A lift can take you up to the roof to appreciate the spires and the statues further. The view itself is quite superb; the Alps may be visible from afar on a clear day.
The interior of the Duomo cathedral is no less staggering. There are 5 aisles that are supported by 52 pillars, each corresponding to a week of the year. Look around and you will see countless statues of saints, lining up on the walls and all the way up to the cross vaults of the ceiling. The nave is the highest Gothic nave among all completed Gothic churches in the world.