Il Duomo di Milano
5 December Dec 2017 1131 one year ago

The Duomo di Milano, "a poem wrought in marble"

Reflections by President of the Veneranda Fabbrica Fedele Confalonieri for the readers of the “Duomo News”

Here below is an excerpt from the article by Fedele Confalonieri, President of the Veneranda Fabbrica, published in the November – December issue of the “Duomo News”, distributed free in the Cathedral and available for download online

«So grand, so solemn, so vast! And yet so airy, so delicate, so graceful […]! An anthem sung in stone, a poem wrought in marble. However you look at the great Cathedral, it is noble, it is beautiful! Wherever you stand in Milan or within seven miles of Milan, it is visible and when it is visible, no other object can chain your whole attention. Leave your eyes unfettered by your will but a single instant and they will surely turn to seek it. It is the first thing you look for when you rise in the morning, and the last your lingering gaze rests upon at night. […]». Rereading these evocative words which the great Mark Twain dedicated to our Duomo in 1869, after having crossed the threshold as the new President of the Veneranda Fabbrica, I am even more profoundly aware of the great responsibility with which I have been entrusted in governing such a complex institution. […]
The first sensation one feels before all of this is one of bewilderment: measuring oneself against this gigantic "mountain" of marble, thought and emotion intertwine and meld together; in Gian Galeazzo Visconti's design one truly recognises a courageous and brilliant "madness", as the Archbishop Monsignor Borgonovo loves to define it. One senses the presence of the many generations that, one after the other, have contributed to carving this challenge, as new as it is old, into stone for the past 630 years.I had already been familiar with the institution of the Veneranda Fabbrica for quite some time, but the self-awareness that comes with a new role is allowing me to rediscover it through new eyes. Visiting the Candoglia quarry, the true source of the Duomo, venturing into the areas undergoing restoration, exploring the rooms of the Museo del Duomo, opening the registries of the Archives, and listening attentively to the voices of the Cathedral Choir, I feel that I am occupying a space in which it is necessary to think in terms that are quite different from the usual. Here, the passage of time is perceived as a continuous flow. […]
Likewise, it is necessary to act promptly before the daily solicitations of a Cathedral which, as the pulpit of the Archbishop and the destination of 5 million worshippers and visitors each year, cannot wait for answers. Every minute is precious, every part of the Duomo is attentively looked after with care and respect. Even with all of the challenges and unknowns that await, it is my intention to never stray from the objectives established for the next three years, which it was my privilege to announce on occasion of the afternoon of study dedicated to the Duomo, The Infinite Fabbrica. 630 years of challenges for the Duomo di Milano, held in the weekday chapel this past 16th of October. We will complete the restorations of the Tiburio, both inside and out, and of the four Gugliotti that surround the Main Spire. Meanwhile, restorations of the interior paraments of the vaults, the two sacristies, and the Cappella iemale; completion of the surveillance and illumination systems and of the electrical system; completion of the terraces' renovations; and restoration of the northern façade, spires 44, 45, and 49, the flying buttresses on the southern side with respective intermediate walls, and the rear spires are planned, all projects that can no longer be postponed.
Reiterating Mark Twain's words, for the Fabbrica the Duomo represents "the first thing you look for when you rise in the morning, and the last your lingering gaze rests upon at night. A mission which we will continue working towards with Lombardian pragmatism, in close synergy and in constant dialogue with the Archbishop and the Metropolitan Chapter, in order to make our Duomo increasingly "noble" and welcoming, renewing its image as a symbol of Milan's industriousness in the world

Fedele Confalonieri
President of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano