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The Cathedral (Duomo)

The Duomo Cathedral of Milan, bearing the name of Santa Maria Nascente. This Gothic Church was built for nearly six centuries, and today is the fifth largest Cathedral in the world and the largest in Italy. The Duomo is located on the place where once was the center of the Roman Mediolanum, – this is confirmed by the fact that modern streets either radiate from the Cathedral or surround it. Under the building of the Duomo you can see the early Christian baptistery, built in 335, the year, is one of the oldest Christian baptistery in Europe.

In 1386, the year Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo began construction of the Cathedral, which coincided with the coming to power in Milan of Gian Galeazzo Visconti. The first architect was appointed Simone da Orsenigo, which planned to build the Cathedral in Lombard Gothic style. However, Visconti wanted to follow the fashion trends of European architecture, and therefore invited the French engineer Nicolas de Bonaventure, who added the style “rayonnant Gothic” – French style, not common in Italy. He also decided that the brick structure should be marble. In 1402, the year Jan, Galeazzo died – by this time the Cathedral was only half completed, and construction was frozen nearly to the end of the century.

In the early 16th century, during the reign of Ludvikovice, was built the dome of the temple and its interiors were decorated with 15 statues depicting saints, preachers, prophets and other characters of the Bible. The external decoration of the Cathedral long remained without any decoration, except Goletto del Amadeo (“Little spire Amadeo”) – Renaissance element, well in harmony with the Gothic appearance of the Church. Although the Cathedral was not completed, it was actively used during the Spanish rule in Milan. In 1552, the year of Giacomo Antegnati was instructed to build a large organ for the Church choir, and Giuseppe MEDA worked on the decoration of the altar part of the Cathedral. A little later there appeared the famous chandelier of Trivulzio the 12th century.

After became Archbishop of Milan Carlo Borromeo, Duomo have been removed all non-Church elements, including the graves of Giovanni Barnabo and Filippo Maria Visconti, Francesco I and his wife, Ludovico Sforza, and other former rulers of the city. The chief architect was appointed Pellegrino Pellegrini – together with the Archbishop they wanted to give the Cathedral a Renaissance appearance, which was supposed to strengthen his Italian origin, and “suppress” Gothic architecture, which was seen then alien. As the façade of the Cathedral was still incomplete, Pellegrini designed it in a Romanesque style with columns, obelisks and a large tympanum. However, this project never materialized.

At the end of the 16th century, the Duomo was rebuilt the chancel and added new altars and the baptistry, and in 1614, the year Francesco Brambilla produced for the throne of the wooden choir.

In the early 17th century the Foundation was laid of the new facade of the Duomo, the work continued until 1638, the year: there were built the five portals and two Central Windows, and ten years later was made the revolutionary decision to return the Cathedral to its original Gothic appearance. In 1762, the year the Cathedral of Milan has acquired one of its outstanding details is the Madonnina spire, towering to dizzying heights in 108,5 meters. It is interesting that today the inhabitants of the city by the spire determine the weather – if it is visible from a distance, so the weather is good (given the wet climate of Milan, the spire usually is hidden in the fog).

Only in the early 19th-century facade of the Duomo was finally completed – it happened due to Napoleon, who was to be crowned in the Cathedral as the king of Italy. Architect Carlo Pellicani Jr. added to the facade are some neo-Gothic details and a statue of Napoleon on top of one of the spires. Later were added the missing arches and spires, the statues on the South wall, and in the middle of the 19th century the old Windows were replaced with new ones. The finishing touches to the shape of the Duomo were added in the 20th century: 6 January 1965, opened the last gate – this date is considered the official date of the completion of the Cathedral.