Being the largest church in Italy other than the Vatican and the 3rd largest one in the world, Milan Cathedral is a popular tourist attraction in Milan for its architectural style, interiors and the rooftop viewing platform.
Taking about 6 centuries to complete, the Milan Cathedral's construction started in 1386 and was completed in 1965! The last bronze door was installed in 1965 though most of the parts of the building were completed in 1813!
There are about 5 large bronze doors that provide access to the cathedral with the central door being the oldest one that was created by Ludovico Pogliaghi!
With about 3400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures, it is believed that the cathedral has more number of statues than any other building in the world!
Located at the center of Milan, the entire city's buildings are planned keeping the cathedral in mind i.e. buildings are built either radiating or circling it!
Being 158 meters long, 92 meters wide and 108.5 meters high, the cathedral covers 11,700 square meters area that can accommodate about 35,000 people!
There's a sundial on the floor at the entrance of the cathedral. Though it is an ancient clock that was placed in 1768 by astronomers, the dial is surprisingly accurate!
There are about 135 spires on the roof of the cathedral, with each spire having a sculpture of a biblical figure on its top!
There's a small red light bulb on top of the apse above the altar which is known to be the spot where one of the nails of Jesus' crucifixion was fixed! Every year the nail is brought down in a wooden basket which is decorated with angels.
Right from the initial design in Gothic architectural style to Neo Classic, Baroque and Decorative Gothic styles - the cathedral features all these architectural styles!
The highest spire of about 108.5 meters which is the highest point of the church, is topped off by a golden statue of Virgin Mary (Madonna).
The roof of the cathedral has a viewing platform that is open to the public for a small fee! 6 stone stairways, 2 elevators and 33 stone bridges that crisscross the sides of the roof, provide access to this amazing part of the cathedral!
Once you are at the roof, the panoramic view of Milan and the beautiful view of the distant Alps is a mesmerizing experience!
The statue of Saint Bartholomew who was skinned to death alive for spreading his faith is one of the famous artworks that is featured in the interior of the church.
The stained glass windows in the apse of the cathedral are the tallest ones in the world!
Chapter 18 of Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain is dedicated to the Milan Cathedral. It mentions the historical and physical details of the church when the American writer visited Milan in 1867.