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Milan: Duomo and Galleria

Iconic landmarks of the city

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The famous Duomo of Milan will impresses you for its bulk… It is majestic! Gothic style, maybe one of the biggest Gothic cathedrals in Europe. In Italy there are no other examples, it is one of its kind. In order to get the true Gothic style you have to look at the apse on the back side, not just the front. Is the back side better? Yes it is, but tourists don’t know that!

The works for its construction started in 1386, and they started just from the apse. It took more than one century before starting the frontside, made in 1500s! The doors style reminds of Michelangelo, Renaissance, and the pointed arch doesn’t appear anymore here. Fun fact: we can still see the pointed arch on the frontside because Napoleon, who loved the Gothic style, wanted it to appear also ahead. He wanted to be crowned in the Duomo but the church wasn’t finished even for his coronation! Still today, works of building and restoration keep going…

The marble needed for the Duomo comes from Candoglia on Lake Maggiore: it is an exclusive marble, given by the Family Sforza for the Duomo at the end of 1400s. They carried it easily and quickly thanks to the stream of the lake, passing through the river Ticino and then through the Naviglio Grande. But why building such a big cathedral? In this case the answer is given by Galeazzo Visconti, a lord that wanted to exalt himself and his family.

The Gallery

The Gallery has just been renovated. Here I am in 1865: when it was built the Unification of Italy was just declared. The architect Mengoni proposed a part in a Renaissance-style and the upper one made of iron and glass. Even before the Eiffel Tower, Mengoni used iron in architecture. The idea of Mengoni is to celebrate the Unification of Italy and to give an image of markets, greenhouses and functional architectures.

There’s also the celebration of the King Vittorio Emanuele, to whom the whole gallery is dedicated, with the emblem of Turin, which has become a turistic attraction! Apparently it brings good luck if you step on bull’s testicles… Everyone does that, Koreans, Chineses, Indians… They don’t know that this bull is the emblem of Turin! It is hard to recognize the intimate parts to step on by now, there is a hole in there!

Today the gallery is full of important fashion brands like Gucci, Amrani, Vuitton, Versace… Just being there gives you prestige, but let’s remember what really meant the Gallery for Milaneses: it was the place where they were coming to take a coffee! Where now there are fashion stores, once there were a lot of cafés. The gallery was born to link the Theatre La Scala and the Cathedral. Each one of this historical cafés had its group of affectionates: intellectuals, politicians, singers that wanted to be famous.


Cover pic courtesy of Flickr User Andrew and Annemarie

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