Until September 2022, the Candoglia Quarry opens to visitors. The quarry, located at the entrance to the Ossola Valley in the municipality of Mergozzo (VB) on the left of the River Toce, is where the Cathedral’s precious marble has been extracted for over six centuries.
In fact, the Veneranda Fabbrica is offering exclusive tours to discover this enchanting mountain where it all began, with walks and itineraries that retrace the magnificent journey made by the marble and relive the Fabbrica’s important work.
This initiative is also possible thanks to the valuable collaboration of Mergozzo Council.
It was Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, who decided to substitute brick, the material originally planned for the construction of Duomo, with marble. To this end, on 24 October 1387, he ceded the use of the Candoglia Quarry to the Veneranda Fabbrica and granted free transport of the marble along the waterways all the way to Milan.
The marble’s slender veins make its extraction particularly difficult and costly. This unknown fact, however, has never halted the Veneranda Fabbrica’s momentum, which still today faces the large task of preserving the Monument with responsibility, taking care of the cultivation and maintenance of the Quarry thanks to the work of highly qualified personnel and support from modern technology.
The tours of the Quarry are planned on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays morning at 9.30am and 11.30am, and last around 90 minutes.
You will be able to enter into areas where work takes place every day to extract the pink marble destined for the restoration of the Milanese Cathedral. A tour that encompasses both geology and history, explaining the unique properties of this material, the centuries-old techniques of processing and then transporting the marble along the waterways, the difficulty of life in the quarry, and the evolution of extraction techniques. You will also discover the work of the sculptors and ornatists who still today work on creating the Cathedral’s decorative elements, whose originals are subject to deterioration and thus replaced with copies.
Included in the service are the guided tour and the internal shuttlebus, which will take visitors from the carpark in Mergozzo (Via Giusto Cominazzini, 39 – Fraz. Cadoglia – Mergozzo (VB), overlooking the Veneranda Fabbrica’s offices) to the mouth of the Cava Madre (Main Quarry). If foreign visitors are present, the tour will be conducted in both Italian and English. Tours in German are also possible.
The cost of the visit is €25 (€15 reduced for 12- to 18-year-olds, €12 reduced for 6- to 11-year-olds, and free for children aged 5 and under).
To further broaden the knowledge of the area, every Saturday afternoon at 2.30pm there will be a 150-minute guided tour. At the end of the tour in the quarry, you can learn more about the fascinating history of Mergozzo by visiting the Archaeological Museum, whose artefacts show what life was like in the area from the Stone Age up to the early Middle Ages, and the former Dairy, where a permanent exhibition is held in the Sala Pietra (Stone Room) showing the ancient tools used by the quarrymen.
The cost of this tour option is €27 (€17 reduced for 12- to 18-year-olds, €14 reduced for 6- to 11-year-olds, and free for children aged 5 and under).
For information and booking, go to our official site at duomomilano.it, and visit the Guided Tours and Incentives – Individual Tours section.
For further information:
Duomo Info Point
Piazza Duomo 14/a - 20122 Milano