The complete guide to Milan Cathedral (Duomo Milano)

Milan Cathedral

Just taking a little break from the India posts for this week, hope you enjoyed a flashback to Milan! 

When we first booked our flights to Milan, I knew this was a must visit sight in Italy. It is the only sight I know in Milan and I remembered that it is the biggest church in all of Italy. Even bigger than the St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

We spent our first day in Milan in Lake Como, but the second day I knew the Duomo was the place I needed to go. We knew there was a lot to see, however, we didn’t know we would spend the whole day there!

As I walked up from the metro station, up those stairs and was greeted by this beautiful sight!


Milan Cathedral

The square surrounding Milan Cathedral is mayhem in July, with many of the people there operating the ‘bracelet scam’. If you want to read more about this scam, read about it here on this website. To avoid it, just keep your hands and wrists especially to yourself! Some of them are very well mannered if you say no, but it is something to be aware of!


Milan Cathedral

Getting there


Milan has both a metro and a tram system, and the easiest way to get there is by metro. We got there via the metro and exited at the Duomo stop. It is served by lines M1 (red) and M3 (Yellow).

You can also get there by buses being served by these bus routes.

From further afield, you can get trains to Milano Centrale get there via the metro. Also, you can get there from the airport using the trains.



Tickets and prices


DUOMO PASS by lift
€ 16.50
“DUOMO PASS” by stairs
€ 12.50
“Terraces by lift” ticket
€ 13.50
“Terraces by stairs” ticket
€ 9.50
“Cathedral+Museum” ticket
€ 3.50
“Cathedral+Museum+Baptistery” ticket
€ 7.50


Milan cathedral

Ticketing on the day


The Ticket Office

The ticket office isn’t actually in Milan Cathedral (Duomo). From the main square, facing the Duomo you need to walk around to the right and follow the big posters to the ticket office.

When you go in, you need to collect a ticket from the touch screen machines and then wait for your number to be called to a desk. They don’t do a student discount, but you can get the different tickets depending on whether you walk the stairs or get the lift.

We obviously got the stairs ticket, and I was surprised because it wasn’t as many steps as I thought! (After climbing the Eiffel tower)

We then joined the queue, around lunchtime. At this point, I was in the Italian mindset and had assumed everyone would be at lunch. What I forgot was that tourists aren’t necessarily Italian. So the queue was fairly busy and it took us around 30 minutes to get through security.


Dress code


I wrote about this in my respect in churches post, but the Duomo enforces the below the knee and shoulders rule for clothing. It was a hot day so I brought along my boyfriend’s scarf in the bag to cover my shorts.

Here I am modelling this amazing look!

Milan cathedral


I had no problems being allowed in and I was glad that they were strict. Places of worship should be a respectful place!


The museum


This is on the way back from the ticket office to the queues. We explored this area first, hoping the queues would die down. I was very surprised, there was so much detail inside about the cathedral and how it was built.

The styles change all the way through, the architecture is a crazy mix of gothic, renaissance and neo-gothic.

This museum also explains why the interior is ‘roman’ style rather than a continuation of the exterior. It gives detail about the facade that existed for a while as fashions changed and how the 120 spires were built before the rest. 

Milan cathedral


This is definitely the right way around to do the museum and Milan Cathedral (Duomo), as you end up knowing more about the whole cathedral and its history.

It is a beautiful building, but a little chaotic due to the hundreds of architects that were involved in the 600 years it took to complete!




This was another issue we found, both needed the loo before going into the cathedral. There are toilets outside the cathedral, but you have to pay a fee of 50 cents.

** If you carry on past the museum and into the Palazzo, towards the tower we found some toilets that were free to use.**


Or just off the square, there is the gleaming beacon of consumerism known as McDonald’s. They also have toilets to use if you are a customer. McCafe anyone?

Milan cathedral

The Interior

The interior is Roman in style, with some beautiful stained glass windows and some stunning paintings. After seeing so many churches in Italy last summer,

**We admired the whole of the inside, sat on a pew and paid our respects. Then both got up, thinking the other one was in possession of our bag. We explored the tombs, and then it suddenly dawned on me that in this very secure cathedral, with dozens of police we had left our bag and walked off. You can see how this would probably end up being misinterpreted! Thankfully, when we raced back to the pew, it was still there and we both did the biggest sigh of relief. (Also so we could have some water!)**

Milan cathedral

History of the Duomo


The Crypt of St Charles

Milan cathedral
This is a replica of the statue on the roof!


The tombs were also really interesting, but I can’t find any more information about it so you may have to read about it when you visit.

Almost like the ones we saw in Sofia at the train station which was uncovered by mistake. 

The Roof  


This was the star of the show for me. The interior of Milan cathedral is beautiful, but not in the same style as the exterior it was completed in a Roman-style rather than the gothic and neo-gothic style of the exterior.

Milan cathedral

The roof has 250 steps to the first level, and it was so beautiful – completely worth it. We could have spent hours up there looking at so many different statues. The views from the roof across the city were lovely.

Milan cathedral


However, you were separated on each side depending on whether you have the stairs or lift tickets. So I think the view was better on the other side (the grass is greener). We looked at all the parts of the building and the beautiful detail in this roof.

Milan cathedral


We were in awe. So much of this detail that can only be seen from the roof. All these carvings can’t be seen from the ground level.


The upper level was rather hot by this point in the day. We enjoyed the view, but we had run out of our water and started to feel a bit at risk of dehydration. The top level had limited shade and we decided it was time to stop admiring this beautiful building and be sensible. ( By this point the scarf was now a headscarf and my boyfriend was using his hat as a fan!)

Milan cathedral

It was beautiful and worth all the money!


My top tips are –

  • Wear longer clothes or bring a scarf
  • Pay to visit the roof, it is worth it!
  • Don’t abandon your rucksack
  • Go either early or late to avoid the crowds (and the heat)
  • Plan for the visit to be at least half a day!


I hope you enjoyed this post about Milan Cathedral,

Until next time,

The Great Ambini


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