Milan Cathedral, Milan (must see)
Milan Cathedral, also called Duomo, is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan and the largest cathedral in Italy (fifth largest in the world) covering an area of 12,000 square meters and weighting 325,000 tons. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Mary Nascent and has been a central part of the city's life since 1386. Its foundation was laid by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, who died in 1402, when only half of the cathedral was completed, upon which the construction came to a standstill for almost 80 years due to the lack of both funds and ideas how to finish it. It resumed in 1500 and by 1510 the octagonal dome was completed and embellished with four series of 15 statues representing different characters from the Bible. In 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte forced completion of the façade which overall took another seven years. In honor of his efforts, a statue of Napoleon was erected at the top of one of the spires. Later, Duomo also saw his crowning ceremony. The Cathedral was fully completed only in the 20th century. Inaugurated on January 6, 1965, the completion of the last gate marked the very end of the centuries-long process. A visit to the roof and the Paleo Christian baptistery beneath the west end are part of the Duomo attraction. The rooftop offers a closer look at the intricate details of the spires and the gargoyles which adorn it. You have to climb a huge 201 stairs to reach the top. However, those who wish to avoid the stairs can use an elevator. The view from the top, about 70 meters high, is spectacular with myriads of statues, pinnacles, tracery and flying buttresses. Climbing all the way up through winding narrow passageways is rewarded with a wonderful and breathtaking panorama of the city!