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The Duomo lights up in splendour

The new lighting of the Cathedral

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13 February Feb 2019 1125 13 February 2019

Thursday, 20 December 2018 - 6.45 pm, the Duomo, the symbol of Milan in the world - and with it the entire city - writes another chapter of its story of light, anxiously waiting for the Cathedral’s new outdoor lighting system to be switched on.

In fact, after completing the new internal lighting system of the Monument that was inaugurated on 1 May 2015, and of the Madonnina, of the façade and of the stained glass windows, which was completed for Christmas 2016, the time has come to switch on the lighting of the perimeter and of the top part of the Duomo, including the roof and the spires. This final part of the remarkable and complex work carried out by Veneranda Fabbrica in recent months will reveal surprising details, enhancing the whole square with splendour and restoring brightness to the entire top part of the Monument that has been concealed to date.

The project, assigned by Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo to Eng. Pietro Palladino from Studio Ferrara Palladino e Associati, and approved by the Superintendence of Fine Arts and Landscape of Milan, was the outcome of an agreement defined jointly on 1 February 2018 with the Municipality of Milan and A2A to underscore the Cathedral’s outdoor lighting.

Veneranda Fabbrica accepted the entire responsibility of purchasing the new lighting fixtures of the system, with an investment of more than one million euro. The choice of devices, specially produced by ERCO for the Cathedral, was based on efficiency and respect for the environment, privileging LED technology.

Veneranda Fabbrica accepted the entire responsibility of purchasing the new lighting fixtures of the system, with an investment of more than one million euro. The choice of devices, specially produced by ERCO for the Cathedral, was based on efficiency and respect for the environment, privileging LED technology.

The project was officially presented this morning, 13 December 2018, at the Archive of Veneranda Fabbrica, with speeches by Fedele Confalonieri, President of Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano, by Marco Granelli, Councillor for Mobility and Environment of the Municipality of Milan, by Valerio Camerano, Managing Director of A2A, by Pietro Palladino, Designer of the Duomo’s new lighting system, by Andrea Nava, Managing Director of ERCO Illuminazione, and by the Archpriest of the Duomo, Mons. Gianantonio Borgonovo.

«A new outdoor lighting system for Duomo di Milano is the gift Veneranda Fabbrica has chosen to give the Milanese and millions of tourists who every year come to the city to visit the Monument for Christmas. The project created by Veneranda Fabbrica with an important agreement signed with the Municipality of Milan and A2A required the Institution to use considerable resources, but we are sure that it will be appreciated. It will contribute to restoring beauty and brightness to the whole square. From 20 December, even the top part of the Monument with its unmistakeable spires, the symbol of our fund raising campaign, will not be surrounded by darkness anymore. They will glow in the Milanese night with the Madonnina», says Fedele Confalonieri, President of Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano.

«In the forthcoming days, many occasions will light up the heart of our superb cathedral and the words of prophet Isaiah will often be sung during celebrations: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined". The Duomo’s new outdoor lighting system will impressively enhance the meaning of the Christmas liturgy. For our city, we want to be the pulsating heart and radiating light that witnesses the presence of God amongst us in the Lord Jesus, so that we might be―on work days, along with all the other citizens―the builders of a world of peace and justice», says Mons. Gianantonio Borgonovo, Archpriest of Duomo di Milano.

«We are happy that in a few days the Duomo will be attired in new light, a lovely gift for the city. This innovative system has a much lower environmental impact. All the lighting systems of Milan are based on LED but the work to increase and optimise the city's lights is ongoing, and so is the work of Fabbrica del Duomo. We are particularly committed to implementing widespread interventions in the suburbs of the city to enhance everybody’s safety», says Marco Granelli, Municipal Councillor for the Environment.

«Our Group considers having contributed to enhance the value of Milan’s artistic and cultural heritage with new LED lighting for the city’s iconic monument a reason for great pride», says Valerio Camerano, Managing Director of A2A. «From today the Duomo rightfully represents a virtuous “model” also in terms of environmental sustainability and innovation. The connection to the remote heating network has enabled us to eliminate the use of fossil fuels. Indeed, the new lighting system undoubtedly makes the Duomo one of Europe’s historical monuments with a very low environmental impact. The intervention at the Duomo follows those implemented throughout Milan, the first leading Italian city to make this choice, which reduces the yearly consumption of electricity by 52%, avoiding 23,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and saving 9 tonnes of garbage».

«The new outdoor lighting system of Duomo di Milano has been created with premium quality materials. The result is a sober and characterising light that perfectly merges with the Cathedral’s architecture. Details, friezes and statues present genuine plastic features. The colour nuances of the Candoglia marble are beautifully highlighted. The new lighting system uses specially made LED fixtures: compared to the previous one, it provides more lighting with an approximate 40% reduction in consumption. The presence of active construction yards in some areas of the roof has prevented the installation of all the projectors established by the project. Hence, certain areas of the top part of the Cathedral are not lighted up today. The gradual completion of restoration works will allow to complete the installation of the fixtures with “step-by-step” interventions», says Pietro Palladino, designer of the Duomo’s new outdoor lighting system.

«It is extremely rewarding to have participated in this project dedicated to the Cathedral that, besides being the symbol of Milan, is a world renowned iconic monument. The colour temperature of the LED light (4000K° neutral white), chosen by the designer Eng. Palladino to enhance the huge Candoglia marble surface, must be perfectly homogeneous, without blurring the colour. We achieved this by specially designing lighting fixtures with the ultimate technology available, with dedicated power and lenses to cover remarkable distances (up to 135 m), with unprecedented precision in terms of orientation. The special projectors designed according to specifications defined by Eng. Palladino have been produced with the technological devices and technical precision required to ensure their long-lasting operation for the Duomo without uncertainties even in extreme weather, also minimising maintenance times and costs. However, the satisfaction of completing such an important and complex project is nothing compared to the awareness of having contributed to enhance the value of one of the most famous and renowned monuments in the world», says Andrea Nava, Managing Director of ERCO Illuminazione.

A video produced by ERCO was officially presented on this occasion.


The project for the new outdoor lighting system of the Duomo, which includes the entire perimeter of the Cathedral, the roofs and the spires, requires the 378 non-LED fixtures that were previously installed to be replaced with 574 LED projectors, 368 of which are located on the Terraces of the Duomo, and 206 are distributed on lighting poles and surrounding buildings.

As a result of the Agreement signed for a 4-year period, A2A has installed the lighting fixtures provided by Veneranda Fabbrica and will provide both ordinary and extraordinary maintenance of the lighting system installed along the Monument’s perimeter areas. A2A has also installed the dedicated meters of the new lighting system, helping to coordinate all actors involved in the project.

Moreover, Veneranda Fabbrica will provide, at its own expense, the ordinary and extraordinary maintenance for the lighting system installed in the section of the Duomo.


Zero hour arrived at 6.45 pm of 20 December, when the Cathedral was attired in light and the doors of the Duomo were thrown open to welcome both Milanese and tourists for the traditional Christmas concert offered to the city by Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo and by the Milan Municipality, sponsored by Assolombarda.

The concert, which offered free admission until all seats were taken, delighted the almost 4,000 people who crowded the aisles of the Duomo with excerpts from the Messiah by Händel performed by laBarocca, the Orchestra Verdi‘s ensemble that specialises in 17th-18th century music. The ensemble was conducted by Maestro Ruben Jais, alongside the vocal ensemble directed by Maestro Gianluca Capuano and four solo voices.

The celebration was also a significant moment to tell the story of the Cathedral’s lighting adventure to the crowd with a LED wall that, created through the partnership with Clonwerk, initially welcomed guests entering the Duomo for the concert, and transmitted the event live on streaming, sharing the good wishes for the festive season with all the citizens.