The must-do of Milan
What would take us away from sunny Lake Como south to Milan? The Duomo Cathedral truly one of the most magnificent churches ever built. The construction required thousands of skilling craftsman, each specialized in their own trade, passing along their expertise and tribal knowledge through generations of time. After hundreds of years and plenty of archbishops, the Duomo stands as a testament to the ingenuity and sheer determination.
A view from the main worship area within the cathedral
The journey & parking
Milan, (or Milano, as the locals and country signs call it) is a city of approximately four million. The drive from Como took approximately four hours. Having never had our own car in Milan before, we were initially hesitant, then had a moment of clarity. We drive all over the place, from Los Angeles to New York, Berlin to Boston, which are far larger. Milan proved to be a piece of cake. Straight in we went, found street parking for a few bucks, and even got a caprese appetizer on a side street before walking a few blocks to the cathedral.
We arrived to find a part of the cathedral under reconstruction, and a whole lot of military personnel protecting the national landmark. Neither bother nor obstructed us whatsoever. The main square was less than half-full, the day overcast and cool. In other words, a perfect day to visit.
Every entrance is guarded (as you can see behind me) and parking on some of the closets streets is only for service or military vehicles
The fees and expectations
If you want to take your own photos, an extra charge of $5 is required, but completely worth it. The columns, stained glass windows, and 15,800 pipe organ make it worth the money. Because it was a slow day, the inside wasn’t crowded in the slightest, which was a good thing; the mausoleums holding the deceased archbishops were worth snapping a photo, which we did multiple times.
Street parking all around–this was a Thursday afternoon
The tourist information identifies which archbishop was responsible for a particular section of the Duomo, which shows the link between general manager, if you will, and what was created. Imagine the vision of these guys, who knew their contribution was vital, but they’d never see the completed work in their lifetime—or for several lifetimes to come. Talk about commitment. Most of us can’t see a few years in front our faces, let alone decades or centuries.
My number one recommendation is don’t go when service is in session!
My mother plays the organ, so I’m a bit familiar with the instrument. The long, metal rods scaling up from the balconies make it the largest organ in Italy, and in the top 15 instruments in the world.
Beyond the cathedral
If churches, architecture or history isn’t your thing, don’t despair. The Duomo Square has shopping area known as the Piazza Del Duomo. Think the Mercedes Benz clothing/jewelry store and the like, along with multiple outdoor eateries. If your traveling partner is at the Domo, you can easily spend an hour wandering through the shops or taking in a hot, chocolate mousse drink as I did (which was more like pudding, actually).
The entire visit will run you no more than two-four hours, depending on your tastes. That leaves a lot of time to explore other parts of the city.
Just one of many, many entrance doors
What I liked best
All if it, the area, the cathedral, shopping, eateries, you name it. I even got the military guards to smile and take a picture with me, and they accommodated!
What I liked least
Nothing. Nada. It was as perfect as the day could get.