Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), Milan

Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), Milan (must see)

The gigantic central piazza, milling with people and pigeons, is awe-inspiring, with the Museo del Novecento being a particularly impressive sight. No cafés spill onto it, but the historic Camparino is tucked under the porticoes, created by the founder of the Campari dynasty in 1867. It was here, at the entrance to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, that Verdi used to enjoy a drink after concerts and where, in 1877, Milanese nobility flocked to see the first experiment in electric lighting. It was also here, in this Art Nouveau interior, that stressed Milanese still relax over a coffee or Campari, served with over-sized olives.

The Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) on the south side of the Duomo stands on the site of the original Broletto or town hall, destroyed by Frederick Barbarossa in 1162. It was rebuilt in 1171, then later transformed into the Ducal Palace for the Visconti and Sforza dynasties. On the occasion of Galeazzo Visconti’s marriage to Beatrice d’Este in Modena, their entry into Milan was marked by eight days of festivities at the palace. In 1336 the Church of San Gottardo in Corte was built as the Visconti’s private chapel. You can still see the charming colonnaded campanile rising to the rear of the palace, but the church itself was destroyed when the building was incorporated into the neoclassical palace. In 1412 the church steps were the scene of the murder of Giovanni Maria Visconti; as a consequence, the family decided to reside in the safer environs of the fortified castle. Under the Sforza a theatre was established at the palace, and in 1595 Mozart, who was only 14, performed here.

Another unmissable landmark in the piazza is, of course, Ercole Rosa's 1896 equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II, first king of Italy, who triumphantly entered Milan in 1859.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Milan. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) on Map

Sight Name: Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square)
Sight Location: Milan, Italy (See walking tours in Milan)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Milan, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Milan

Create Your Own Walk in Milan

Creating your own self-guided walk in Milan is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Milan Introduction Walking Tour

Milan Introduction Walking Tour

Recognized as one of the world's four fashion capitals, Milan is also a global hub of design and a key tourist destination. The etymology of the name Milan remains uncertain. One theory holds that the Latin name Mediolanum comes from the Latin words medio (in the middle) and planus (plain).

In 286 the Roman Emperor Diocletian moved the capital of the Western Roman Empire from Rome to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Best Shopping Streets and Malls

Best Shopping Streets and Malls

One of the world's four fashion capitals and, as of lately, that of industrial design as well, Milan is renowned internationally as a top shopping destination, where fashion is the second religion. In a city as rich as this one, dedicated to art and pleasure, there's no shortage of options for those accustomed to upscale shopping and favoring bargains.

Amid the plethora of places to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

Milan may well be a world fashion capital and one of the financial capitals of Europe, but religion, and particularly churches, are an inseparable part of the Milanese life. Indeed, steeped in history, this city has garnered over the centuries a wealth of iconic places of worship.

Among these, the Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano) stands as a symbol of grandeur and faith. This magnificent...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Historic Center Walking Tour

Historic Center Walking Tour

Contained within the area once delimited by the medieval walls, the Centro Storico (historic center) of Milan encompasses the city's perhaps most famous landmarks and tourist attractions. Compact in size, the area is easily distinguishable on the map much as walkable. Here you can find almost everything Milan is famous for, in a close proximity to each other.

The best place to start is...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Leonardo da Vinci's Masterpieces

Leonardo da Vinci's Masterpieces

Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest Renaissance artists and polymaths in history, left an indelible mark on Milan through several of his masterpieces created in this city over the nearly 20 years that he spent here.

One of the notable places where you can explore the maestro's work is the Ambrosian Library (Biblioteca Ambrosiana), which houses a vast collection of his drawings and...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles

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