the Milan Duomo is, without a doubt, the most beautiful building in the city. It is actually the Milan Cathedral. His full name is Cathedral of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin. In short, that if you hear of a cathedral, a Duomo or even a dome, it is the same monument.
And a visit to the Duomo of Milan is essential during a first stay in this city in northern Italy. This is the purpose of this practical guide. We will see in particular that beyond the interior of the place of worship, it is possible to climb on the roof terrace to enjoy a superb view.
On the blog, we are going to talk about what you need to know before going to see the third largest Christian monument in the world! Skip-the-line ticket (reservation online here at the best price), timetables, reservation to visit the cathedral and its terrace, … Indeed, I share here my advice for a successful visit to the Duomo of Milan and its terraces. We’ll see when is the best time to get there to avoid the crowds, if possible…
Duomo of Milan, a cathedral but also a major monument
Milan’s Duomo is the city’s major landmark. But it is also one of the largest Christian buildings in the world:
- it’s here second largest cathedral in the world after that of Seville
- and it is also the third largest Christian place of worship after St. Peter’s Basilica Vatican and Seville Cathedral
To fully understand the impressive dimensions of the Milan dome, here are some figures:
- length: 158 meters
- width: 93 meters
- height of the facade: 56.50 meters
- maximum height: 108.50 meters
The beginning of the construction of the Duomo began towards the end of the XIV century, in 1386 exactly. The construction of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin spread over many decades. And even over several centuries… Later in this article, I will come back to some historical facts about Milan Cathedral.
Due to its construction spread over time, it is difficult to give a precise style to this religious building. It is often considered as Gothic style with some neogothic influences and neoclassical. And you will notice it during your visit.
Geographically, the Duomo is located in the historic heart of the city, in Piazza del Duomo. Its full name is in fact Cathedral of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin of Milan. It can be considered the heart of the historic center.
Practical information on visiting the Duomo of Milan
Visiting the Duomo of Milan is not limited to that of the interior of the place of worship. Indeed, visiting the cathedral goes through the classic discovery of the interior of the place of worship but also through the terraces of the building. And other related sites.
In this part of the article, I tell you about the different visits that are possible with the entrance ticket to the Cathedral and the Duomo of Milan. And I tell you why I highly recommend booking your skip-the-line ticket online.
Milan Duomo ticket
Let’s be clear, the answer is yes. If you are leaving soon and you plan to visit the Duomo of Milan, I highly recommend that you book its access ticket online here. Why ?
Quite simply because Milan Cathedral is, by far, the most visited monument in the city. So, of course, there are people. The wait to enter the monument is quite long but the wait for the entrance to the terraces is endless …
By booking your ticket online, you automatically benefit from skip-the-line entry. This avoids queuing. Both for access to the interior of the religious building and for the climb to the terraces.
Skip-the-line Duomo ticket (which you can buy here) includes admission to the following sites:
- I’Skip-the-line entrance to the interior of the cathedral
- I’Skip-the-line access to visit the terraces of the dome
- access to baptistry and at the crypt
- ticket for the museumto the area of archaeological excavations
- entrance ticket for theChurch of San Gottardo in Corte
When booking the ticket, a choice has to be made and it influences the price:
- climb to the terrace walk
- or via theelevator (4 euros more expensive)
It is also possible to take an audio guide on site, at a cost of 6 euros. However, it is easier to pre-book online.
Prices for the Duomo of Milan
Regarding this ticket, there are therefore several prices depending on the choice made:
- climbing by the stairs or via the elevator
- audio guide or not
Here is an overall summary of the prices of the Duomo of Milan (to book here):
- cheapest ticket, walk up : 16.50 € (9.80 € for 6-17 years old)
- stairs always but with audio guide : 22.50 € (15.50 € for 6-17 years old)
- ticket with climb by elevator : 22 € (12 € for children from 6 to 17 years old)
- rise in lift & audio guide : 28 € (18 € for 6-17 years old)
For children strictly under 6 years old, access is free and does not require a ticket. Note, it is of course possible to book a guided tour in French (here). The latter costs around 50 euros per person and of course covers access to the terraces as well as the ticket and skip-the-line entrance. No supplement to be paid on site.
You should know that the opening hours may vary depending on the site: climb on the terrace, heart of the building, museum, etc.
For these different places of interest included in the ticket, here are the times of the Duomo of Milan:
- interior of the cathedral : 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last entry at 6 p.m.)
- Duomo terraces : 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last entry at 6 p.m.)
- museum : 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last entry at 5 p.m.)
The cathedral and its terraces are open every day of the week. The museum is closed on Wednesdays.
How long is the visit to the Duomo of Milan?
Of course, the time to plan depends on the number of places you are going to visit. As you have understood, the entrance ticket for the Duomo allows access to many places of interest in this monument and the surrounding area.
If you plan to discover all the sites covered by the entry ticket, in my opinion you should plan a visit duration of 2 hours in total for the Duomo in Milan. This time to be spent on the site is to be divided as follows:
- between 1h15 and 1h30 for the discovery of the different sites of the cathedral: interior, baptistery, crypt, terrace
- a half hour to 45 minutes for the Museo del Duomo di Milano and San Gottardo Church
Tour of Milan Cathedral
In this second large part, we will discuss the different places of interest that you can discover with your skip-the-line ticket. Whatever the choice of ticket, only the climb to the terrace differs: on foot or by lift. However, you will be able to access all the monuments or parts of the cathedral.
Discover the interior of the cathedral
First step of the visit of the cathedral of Milan, the church itself. This part of the tour takes approximately 30-45 minutes.
The interior of the building is quite impressive. We clearly feel the immense size of this monument. The main nave is 45 meters high. And there are 52 columns within the monument, with a diameter of 3.40 meters. In short, inside and out, the Duomo is impressive…
Also, in the heart of this major Milanese monument, you can access the Saint Charles crypt. Access is included in the skip-the-line ticket (resa here) discussed earlier in this article.
Please note that the access times to the crypt are different… To be able to go to the crypt of the Duomo, you must therefore visit the cathedral during these times:
- Monday or Friday from 11 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. (last entry to the crypt at 5 p.m.)
- Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry to the dome crypt at 4.30 p.m.)
- Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (last entry at 3 p.m.)
If you go to the church early in the morning, you will therefore not be able to access the crypt.
Climb the terraces of the Duomo in Milan
The terraces of Milan Cathedral are surely the most impressive place in the building. This is the highlight of the visit to the Duomo. Indeed, it is possible to climb on the roof of the cathedral. As for the interior, it takes about 30 to 45 minutes here.
From up there, the view of the city is magnificent. You can clearly see the Piazza de Duomo where the dome reigns. But also the surrounding buildings and those further away as well. We can particularly see the bell tower of a church (on the right in the photograph below). It is the San Gottardo church that can also be seen with the entrance ticket (see next section).
If the weather is clear, you can even see the Alps and snow-capped peaks on the horizon! It really is a must do here. The view from the terraces of the Duomo is magnificent …
On these terraces, you can also see the Madonna. This statue of the Virgin Mary was placed on top of a spire. The statue of the Virgin Mary, the work of Giuseppe Perego, measures just over 4 meters in height and rests at the top of the spire measuring over 100 meters in height…
The cathedral museum, a place to visit too
Discovering the Duomo is not just about visiting a church and visiting the terraces of the dome. Indeed, as I said above, the skip-the-line ticket for the visit of the Milan Cathedral also allows access to two other places of interest:
- the Duomo museum called Museo del Duomo di Milano in Italian
- I’Church of San Gottardo in Corte
These 2 places are very close to the Duomo and Piazza del Duomo, just south of the monument. The museum also overlooks the square while the San Gottardo in Corte church is just behind the museum.
This museum, which is covered by the entrance ticket, allows you to better understand the different (and long) phases of the construction of the major building in the city. In fact, the museum traces the different phases of construction of the Duomo and also evokes its restoration. Very informative and gives a better understanding of the architecture of the Milan dome and its different styles.
Visiting the museum also allows you to see several works from the cathedral: sculptures, original stained glass windows of the building or even tapestries and other religious objects. Indeed, a good part (all) of the original stained glass windows were removed from the monument during the Second World War in order to protect them. These original stained glass windows are therefore now on display in the museum. And it’s interesting to see stained glass up close.
Finally, one of the major works in the museum’s collection is the Aribert’s crucifix dating from the middle of the eleventh century. Not to miss. Allow about 30 minutes to fully explore this museum.
Regarding the church, a few minutes are enough for the interior. It is located just behind the museum.
This article is coming to an end. You will understand, the Duomo is really the place that I appreciated in this Italian city. Moreover, if we had to recommend only one place to see in Milan, it is clearly the dome and its terrace.
I think I have shared all my tips for visiting the Duomo in Milan. However, if you still have questions or queries, feel free to comment on this post. I respond quickly to comments from my readers! And, for sure, our exchanges will be useful to other readers who are planning their stay and planning to visit Milan Cathedral!