This extraordinary masterpiece of Milanese and European industriousness is not the work of a single artist: from generation to generation, the profile of the Duomo was slowly carved out by a succession of Milanese people, giving a face to this formidable treasure chest of faith and art. These carvings and brushstrokes are the emotions, fears, joys and tensions that belong to people from all eras, and which are irreplaceable elements of Duomo's great marble framework.
Today, the ancient and constantly evolving story of the cathedral and its origins can be relived within the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo archive, which catalogues life in the city day by day from 1387 onwards. Now, following a major renovation project, the Archive is preparing to once again throw open its doors to the public, having been tripled in size in order to ensure greater accessibility both for scholars and members of the public who wish to retrace the evolution of the city of Milan through the centuries.
It is here, in fact, that the most valuable documents pertaining to the identity of the city are kept, and where history with a capital "h" is interwoven with the daily lives of the Milanese people who once populated the streets of this area. It is within these walls that Napoleon wanted to crown himself king of Italy, where stonemasons from every era have come and gone in an endless relay race, tying up the loose ends of the complex skein that has resulted in Milan becoming one of the greatest cities in Italy and in Europe. Following the major works that took place during the year of Expo 2015, the Veneranda Fabbrica has rediscovered these precious resources, restoring them to a position of glory. The Fabbrica has worked incredibly hard to give this treasure back to the city of Milan, safeguarding more than half a million documents for future generations.
Giving the Veneranda Fabbrica Archives back to the city means returning these key values to Milan, defending ourselves against those who, even today, seek to destroy our roots and our identity.
The opening of the newly-restored space, in the presence of national and local authorities, will be held on Monday 30 May 2016 at 11:00 am, and will begin with a press conference to be held at the Sala delle Colonne at the Grande Museo del Duomo in Milan (Piazza del Duomo, 14 / a), followed by a visit to the renovated Archives (Piazza del Duomo, 20).
The new rooms opened on this date will be kept as permanent display spaces, hosting events and exhibitions designed to enable the public to rediscover the old and new tales of some of the Veneranda Fabbrica's most valuable documents, through voices and testimonies, dialogues and insights which together paint a grand picture of the Duomo, through a host of different eyes.
Journalists, photographers and workers must gain approval to enter the launch, and must give advance warning of their attendance by 27 May 2016 to firstname.lastname@example.org.