The history of the Duomo

The history of the building can be summed up in the following basic stages:

The beginning of the Duomo of Milan (1386-1387)
Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo made plans for a new Cathedral, to be built on the site of Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente.
The Visconti era (1387-1447)
Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, set up the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo charging it with supervising the work of design, building and conservation of the Cathedral and decided to use Candoglia marble to construct the whole monument.
Architects, sculptors and workers from Central Europe arrived in Milan, attracted by the magnificence of the project.

The Sforza era (1450-1520)
The building of the nave and aisles reached the third from last bay, and the elegant first minor spire sculpted by Amadeo (Gugliotto dell'Amadeo) was built and the most beautiful stained glass windows were installed.
The Borromeo era (1560-1650)
Under the archbishops Carlo and Federico Borromeo the style of the Duomo was influenced by the Catholic Reformation, and examples of this influence are the 'Quadroni' or large paintings of San Carlo and the wooden choir.
17th-18th Centuries (1650-1800)
The crossing was completed with the main spire and the Madonnina statue crowning it.

19th Century (1800-1900)
In this period the facade and the ornamental elements were completed.
The historiated stained glass windows date from this period, but were made using enamel painted glass.

From the 20th century to the present day (1900 to date)
This has been the period of major restoration work, in which the first archaeological excavations were made in the Cathedral Square.

Further information:
- C. Ferrari da Passano, Storia della Veneranda Fabbrica, Milano, 1998, pp. 37-46
- Giulia Benati e Anna Maria Roda (a cura di), Il Duomo di Milano: dizionario storico artistico e religioso , Milano, NED, 2001