Let’s go back a few centuries to the ancient, important work site managed by the Veneranda Fabbrica of the Duomo - the cathedral that would shape the soul of Milan. If we could stroll through the old medieval city and observe the area where the Duomo now stands, we would see a space filled with architectural works. Although smaller, the old Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore occupied the space where the cathedral stands today, while behind it was the Baptistry of Santo Stefano. In front of the building there was once the Baptistry of San Giovanni alle Fonti and, proceeding toward Via dei Mercanti, we would have found the Basilica of Santa Tecla.
This area’s layout gradually changed, starting with the launch of the Duomo’s construction in 1385. The massive new building slowly replaced the existing religious structures. Today, the archaeological remains of this artistically, historically and religiously significant monumental complex form an important part of the itineraries followed by visitors to the Duomo. Such vestiges form uninterrupted ties between the most ancient roots of Christian Milan and the Milanese people, living their faith, culture, traditions and emotions between these walls.
Rediscovering the energy of this story is possible today thanks to visits organised by the Veneranda Fabbrica during the summer months.
“Discover the Cathedral” Planned for 24 July and for 14 and 28 August, this itinerary is a trip inside and under the Duomo, between past and present, exploring the different phases in the life of the monument. Starting at the archaeological area, the visit is dedicated the cathedral, which represented a unique and ambitious project celebrating Milan not just in Italy, but in the world. Precisely for this reason the Fabbrica contracted engineers, architects, sculptors, stone cutters and artists from all over Europe to create the delicate rosy surfaces of its 3,400 statues, 135 spires and 1,700 square meters of stained glass, approximately 800 of which are decorated. The ancient art of stained glass was recreated here by the company Bertini, Brenta and C. starting in the 1830s, replacing coloured glass tesserae with “painting on clear glass” which revealed fabulous patterns and reflections.
Timeless and always-surprising fascination can be found within the walls and naves - and even beneath the floor - of the cathedral. Each year about 6 million believers and tourists make it their destination and take with them, deep inside, an unequalled intimate and spiritual experience.
For more information:
Office of Educational Services – Guided Tours
tel. +39 02 89015321