It is impossible to imagine Milan without the Duomo, just as it is impossible to imagine the Duomo without its city.
The Duomo has been renowned worldwide for centuries as the cradle of architectural and sculptural masterpieces, and, even more, as the most iconic and recognizable symbol of the City of Milan. The Duomo is one of the largest open-air collection of sculptures in the world, both for the number of elements and for their variety.
With approximately 5 million visitors every year, it is also one of the main cultural and tourist attractions of the whole city.
The spires are some of the most peculiar and fragile architectural elements of the Duomo which has 135 spires and over 3,400 statues, which require constant care and complex interventions in order to remain stable and soar in Milan's sky.
It was Gian Galeazzo Visconti, duke of Milan, who decided to replace traditional milanese bricks - cotto milanese- originally chosen for the construction of the Duomo, with marble. On October 24th 1387, he granted the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo the exclusive use of the Candoglia quarries. The transportation of the marble was to be free of charge too, along the water ways of the Ticino River and the Navigli designed by Leonardo da Vinci himself.
The Duomo is the only monument in the world to have direct access to a quarry for the supply of its construction material.
The conservation of the Duomo is an ongoing endeavour, given the nature of marble itself, which requires constant and renewed tending to. Over the centuries, chemical, physical, and biological agents have damaged the Duomo's spires, as with any element made of the marble of Candoglia, therefore continuous restoration interventions are necessary.
The restoration aims to ensure that future generations can enjoy the Duomo di Milano and take part in the values of faith and art which were at the very heart of its construction.
The Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo supervises the entire course of restoration of the Duomo. They begin with the excavation of the marble in Candoglia's quarries, supervise its manufacturing in the marble workers' site, and end by positioning the architectural and decorative elements in the marble workers' site.
Today, the marble workers' site of the Veneranda is a laboratory where scientific research, technological innovation, and tradition are woven together.
People from all over the world have always helped finance the construction of the Monument with donations of goods and money, thus participating to a great challenge towards the future.
Today the Duomo, thanks to International Patrons of Duomo di Milano, aims to involve American citizens that have always loved and took care of the Italian artistic heritage in this challenge.
Centuries before the advent of the Internet, the Duomo di Milano was an extraordinary example of crowdfunding. Everyone was involved from the humblest person to kings and emperors, from the artisans to the great artists, from believers to non-believers, from the Milanese to the travelers coming from every corner of the Earth. Artists, craftsmen, church men, nobles and common people have transferred knowledge and emotions onto it.
Writers, sculptors, poets, and musicians have been enchanted by the Duomo and have left a mark on the history of this monument, a center of the cultural international landscape.
Read more about the Duomo:
The Duomo di Milano: a success model for cultural management