The Cathedral of Milan is the largest and most complex Gothic building in Italy (it can host 40,000 people), made of white rosé marble from the quarries of Candoglia, in Val D'Ossola. It has a length of 157 meters and covers an area of 11,700 square meters. The greater spire reaches a height of 108.5 meters. On the top of the latter is placed in October 1774 the golden statue of the Madonnina (4.16 meters high), by the sculptor Giuseppe Perego. The construction of the Milan Cathedral begins in 1386 on the area where the ancient basilicas of Santa Tecla and Santa Maria Maggiore rise, demolished in later times. Dedicated to Maria Nascente, it is wanted by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, with a dual purpose. Renew, with an impressive building plan, the cult sites in the heart of Milan and celebrate the Visconti domination and its ambitious expansionist policy. The construction work lasted five centuries and during this period architects, sculptors, artists and workers, both local and from all over Europe, alternated in the Fabbrica del Duomo. The result of their work is a unique architecture, a fusion between the Gothic style of the Alps and the Lombard tradition.
Impressive is the abundance of decoration: spiers, pinnacles, an immense heritage of statues (about 3,400, of which 1,100 inside and 2,300 outside), sculptures in the frames and windows, decorations.
The complexity of realization is such that the last part completed was the façade in 1813. Before this date the façade of Santa Maria Maggiore represents the temporary front of the cathedral. The bronze doors date back to different times of the 20th century. The central door is carved in 1906 by Ludovico Pogliaghi with gothic-floral reliefs, the theme is "stories of the life of Mary". The interior has a Latin cross plan, a deep choir and a polygonal apse. The style is predominantly late-Gothic with the addition of classical elements dating back to the Counter-Reformation period, when the presbytery, the high altar, the pulpits and some side altars take shape.
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