Milan’s layout, with streets either radiating from the Duomo or circling it, reveals that the Duomo occupies what was the most central site in Roman Mediolanum, that of the public basilica facing theforum. The first cathedral, the “new basilica” (basilica nova) dedicated to St Thecla, was completed by 355. It seems to share, on a slightly smaller scale, the plan of the contemporaneous church recently rediscovered beneath Tower Hill in London. An adjoining basilica was erected in 836. The old octagonal baptistery, the Battistero Paleocristiano, dates to 335 and still can be visited under the Milan Cathedral. When a fire damaged the cathedral and basilica in 1075, they were rebuilt as the Duomo.
In 1386, Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo began construction of the cathedral. Start of the construction coincided with the ascension to power in Milan of the archbishop’s cousin Gian Galeazzo Visconti, and was meant as a reward to the noble and working classes, who had suffered under his tyrannical Visconti predecessor Barnabò. Before actual work began, three main buildings were demolished: the palace of the Archbishop, the Ordinari Palace and the Baptistry of St. Stephen at the Spring, while the old church of Sta. Maria Maggiore was exploited as a stone quarry. Enthusiasm for the immense new building soon spread among the population, and the shrewd Gian Galeazzo, together with his cousin the archbishop, collected large donations for the work-in-progress. The construction program was strictly regulated under the “Fabbrica del Duomo”, which had 300 employees led by first chief engineer Simone da Orsenigo. Orsenigo initially planned to build the cathedral from brick in Lombard Gothic style.
We had the opportunity to stroll around and shop for hours around this beautiful building.
Now if you decide to go there better reserve your entry in the duomo ticket online or you will spend at least 2 hours in a line waiting to get inside.
But if you decide to visit outside which is as magnificent as the inside… You can do that with bird feeding and some pictures.
And after that you can spend days shopping around that area… So enjoy and make sure to bring sun screen and some mosquito repellent for the night walking.