Have you noticed, in the stone forest on the dizzying vertical surfaces of the terraces of the Duomo di Milano, a group of small, upward reaching stalks whose ends are decorated with a thousand different fantastical shapes?
These small flowers in a garden of pink Candoglia marble are the crests of the flying buttresses. Arranged in double rows for each buttress, they are a unique characteristic of Milan's cathedral.
The static function of the flying buttresses, which balance the outward push of the façades, creates strong volumes and masses that are softened and lightened by the crests: an artistic/decorative and structural system typical of the Duomo di Milano's Gothic architecture and of which only a few other examples exist in French and German cathedrals.
Two rows for each buttress enclose the channels for collecting rainwater. The crests are formed by an inferior tunnel that depicts a four-leaf clover motif within a chain of circles, surmounted by an inverted trefoil architectural element, in turn decorated at the meeting points by small bows on long stems, with a plant motif: small buds, leaves, whorls of flowers, symbols.
The overall visual and decorative effect is that of a progressive upward "lightening" that further accelerates the Duomo di Milano's frenetic race to the sky.
Come admire them from the breathtaking views of the terraces, open everyday from 9am to 7pm.