Half Day in Milan - Duomo di Milano & more.


After getting to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa without anyone around early in the morning, and after roaming around the town a bit, I boarded the noon train at Pisa that reached Milan by around 3:30PM. The next day early morning, I had my return flight, so all I had was 3:30PM till about 9PM in Milan (since I'm not much into the nightlife of Milan)!

Getting off the intercity train, I headed right to the metro station and got the 1-day pass, and headed to Milan Duomo. It’s the largest church in Italy (considering St.Peter’s Basilica is in Vatican Nation!). It was about 4pm by the time I reached Milan Cathedral. It was open till 7pm and so was the Archaeological Area and Terraces. However, the Crypt was only till 5.30pm and Museum was only open till 6pm. However I did was to go to the terrace first, so that I could enjoy the place before it gets too dark!
Half Day itinerary in Milan Italy | visit Duomo di Milano and its rooftop

Half Day itinerary in Milan Italy | visit Duomo di Milano Rooftop

Half Day itinerary in Milan Italy | visit Duomo di Milano Rooftop

Half Day itinerary in Milan Italy | Spires in Duomo di Milano Rooftop

Half Day itinerary in Milan Italy | Sculptures in Duomo di Milano Rooftop

Half Day itinerary in Milan Italy | Madonnina Sculpture in Duomo di Milano Rooftop

Since I had opted for ascent by lift, it was quick..... or rather that’s what I thought. The lift actually takes you through half the distance. Beyond that, anyways, you’ve gotta climb up. It is somewhat similar to the climbing needed in Copenhagen Spire or Basel Munster, just that, here the whole bits and pieces of staircases are all outside, in the open air. A short walk, small staircase, change direction, short walk, small staircase, change direction, repeat…….. But all that is totally worth it. The view is excellent, but what’s more mesmerizing is the ability to get to see the sculpture up and close!!!

If you’re an architecture student, this is your heaven! Flying Buttresses everywhere, support the spires atop them which is the signature look of the Milan Duomo. Even from a distance what makes Milan Duomo so spectacular are its spires. And climbing up the terrace and seeing them up close was even better. Each of these is 17m tall. In some places, the sculptures were too unbelievable!!!  There were some sculptures that were fitted within 3 columns and that’s just splendid! Of course, they are not monoliths and construction is not as complicated as a monolith, but still, it is a visual delight. There are 135 spires with over 1800 statues!

The construction of the Duomo began in 1386. Its construction happened bit by bit over the next few century. The fa├žade that we see today as well as the stained glass work was made in 1800-1900. The Madonnina sculpture atop was made in 1650-1800. The sculptor was Giuseppe Perego and he designed and made this in wood. Later goldsmith Giuseppe Bini added copper plates over the wooden model and iron rods were inserted into the wooden model. Recently while restoration, the iron rod was replaced with stainless steel. Madonnina stands tall today at 4.16m.

After enjoying the terrace (not that it is enough, but I had to see the rest of the Cathedral as well!), I went down and entered the Cathedral. It has a high ceiling, and stained glass windows plus the gorgeous flying buttress, this is the perfect symbol of Neo-Gothic architecture!

Sculptures of Duomo di Milano: The entire church was filled with so so many sculptures. Especially the exterior is unbelievable. In total, there are more than 4000 sculptures including the ones on the spires, outer walls, interior pillars, etc!  

Top Things to do in Milan Italy | Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) Interiors & Sculptures

Top Things to do in Milan Italy | Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) Interiors & Sculptures

Top Things to do in Milan Italy | Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) Interiors & Sculptures

Top Things to do in Milan Italy | Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) Interiors & Sculptures

Top Things to do in Milan Italy | Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) Interiors & Sculptures

Top Things to do in Milan Italy | Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) Interiors & Sculptures

Stained Glass windows & Archaeological Area of Duomo di Milano: The church is massive with several stained glass windows! There between the 2 doors, close to the entrance, is a tiny door that leads to the underground Archaeological Area! With a controlled temperature and humidity, it was altogether a very different place. It was a bit eerie inside to some extent.
Traces of the original cathedral of 4th C CE can be found here. After that, there was one more cathedral built here in the 8th C. The central octagonal altar is pretty clear and just at one portion, even the ancient frescoes are intact!!! Some of the cement tiles are also still intact. In the center of this octagonal altar was an octagonal pool from which waterways had been created to reach various parts of the Cathedral and places around it.
This had also served as a burial site and several remains have been unearthed here. These are in various museums all over Italy. The in-house museum has the precious stones that were used for the making of mosaic works in the church. Some intact mosaic works are also on display. 

  • If you have a bad knee, you may not want to try climbing the terrace!
  • The security is really heavy, so be prepared for an airport-styled security check to enter the Cathedral! My power bank was examined thoroughly before letting me in!!!
  • Large backpacks & luggage are not allowed inside the Cathedral. There is luggage storage at Milano Centrale Railway station called KiPoint on the ground floor. This is not a locker but a manned service and is open only from 6AM to 11PM. There are many other services like Nannybag just outside Milano Centrale Railway Station.
  • The best way to explore Milan is by taking the 1-day transport pass. 

Where is Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) (on Google Maps)Duomo di Milano
How to reach Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) is about 3km (30 mins walk) from Milan Central Railway station. The nearest metro stations to Milan Cathedral is Duomo which is connected by Metro line M3.

Updated Feb 2023
Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) Church Tickets: Culture Pass at €10 for access to Cathedral Interiors, Archaeological Area & Museum only (€6 on Wednesdays only because the Museum is closed). This does not include rooftop access.
Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) Rooftop only Tickets: €15 by elevator and  €10 by stairs. This doesn't include Cathedral access.
Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) Cathedral, Museum & Rooftop combo Tickets: €20 by elevator and  €15 by stairs (Duomo Pass Lift & Duomo Pass Stairs respectively) 
All these types of tickets can be purchased on the official website of Duomo di Milano
The tickets are personal, meaning, you have to pre-book a ticket with your name as mentioned in your ID. 
Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) Cathedral Free Tickets: Entry to Duomo di Milano is included in Musei Lombardia annual pass

Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) Timings: 
Church - 9:00AM to 7:00PM all days
Museum - 10:00AM to 7:00PM Thursday to Tuesday (closed on Wednesdays)
Terrace access - 9:00AM to 7:00PM all days (last entry at 6:10PM)


By evening the city square in front of Milan Cathedral, Piazza del Duomo, gets a complete makeover. Several people thronged the square in front of the church and it is also filled with a few hundred pigeons, several street-side musicians add the sound of music to the air and that very moment at that very place is the best way to experience Milan.

Finally, from there, I headed to Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper fresco, by about 7:30PM. From there I headed to the much hyped about Fashion District and was very very much disappointed. With all the hype, I had too much of an expectation, but it wasn’t even half the grandeur of London’s Oxford Street or Regent Street!!! If you’ve been to Regent Street, you might as well, skip Quadrilatero della Moda!

Being a major city, Milan is served by not 1 but 2 airports - Milan Malpensa (MXP) and Milan Bergamo (BRG)! Milan Malpensa (MXP) is in fact the largest airport in Northern Italy and all major airlines operate in and out of Milan Malpensa. Milan Bergamo (BGY) is a tiny airport and all the low-cost airlines operate here. 
How to reach Milan city center from Milan Malpensa Airport: Direct trains and shuttle buses are available and the journey time takes about 1 hour.
How to reach Milan city center from Milan Bergamo Airport: Only shuttle buses are available and the journey time takes about 1 hour.

Duomo di Milan Cathedral Travel Guide | Stained Glass Windows

Duomo di Milan Cathedral Travel Guide | Archaeological Area

Duomo di Milan Cathedral Travel Guide | Archaeological Area

Duomo di Milan Cathedral Travel Guide | Archaeological Area & Frescoes

Duomo di Milan Cathedral Travel Guide | Archaeological Area Museum

Duomo di Milan Cathedral Travel Guide | Archaeological Area Museum Mosaics

Visit Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) - the terraces and the interiors of the Cathedral
Do shopping (or window-shopping) at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and/or stroll around the Fashion District of Milan

Morning: Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) - visit the terraces and the interiors of the Cathedral
Noon: Do shopping (or window-shopping) at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Have lunch at one of the restaurants here!
Afternoon: Be amazed at Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie
Evening: Stroll around the Fashion District of Milan (Quadrilatero della Moda) and relax at Piazza del Duomo

Day 1 Morning -Duomo di Milano, 
Day 1 Afternoon - Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore and Santa Maria delle Grazie (Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper) 
Day 1 Evening - Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Day 2 Morning - Visit Palazzo Reale Milano (Royal Palace of Milan) 
Day 2 Afternoon - Visit Sforzesco Castle or Ambrosian Library (Biblioteca Pinacoteca Accademia Ambrosiana) 
Day 2 Evening - Stroll around the Fashion District of Milan

Italy is pretty well connected by railway lines and it is quick and easy to travel across the country by train. Here are some easy day trips and weekend trips you could do taking the train from Milan.
Milan to Turin - Direct train - Takes about 1 hour
Milan to Vercelli - Direct train - Takes about 1 hour 
Milan to Lake Maggiore - Direct train to Stresa and Arona - Takes about 1 hour
Milan to Florence - Direct train - Takes about 2 hours
Milan to Pisa - A high-speed train to Florence and then another train to Pisa takes about 3 hours. Direct train takes about 4 hours. 
Milan to Rome - Direct train - Takes about 3:30 hours
Milan to Vatican - Direct train to Rome and walk or take a metro/bus to the Vatican - Takes about 4:00 hours


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. The Milano Duomo looks spectacular from your photos.The details in the spires and sculptures are incredible; it's hard to believe the sculpture Madonnia was sculpted back in 1650-1800. I always love to visit cathedrals to see these structures up close. I will have to add the Duomo in Milan to my list.

  2. I went to Italy few years back and totally loved it. Milan was love at first sight. Your pictures and vivid description of Milano Duomo reminded me of my time there. The sculpture of Madonnia really looks very impressive.

  3. Those architecture is amazing! I'd like to visit there if got chance..

  4. Duomo di Milano is so beautiful! I love all the pictures you took of the details. And it's been sometime since I've been there so I didn't remember very well the inside.

  5. The duomo in Milan was my favorite part of that city. Looking out from the rooftop is just amazing. And seeing the incredible detail that went into it just blew my mind.

  6. Great post! I went to the Duomo in Milan about ten years ago and I am dying to return. its such a breathtaking architecture piece worth visiting multiple times in a lifetime :) right? Safe travels. - Mariella

  7. It is beyond description as far as the edifice architectural designs are concerned. They are crafted by a genius, by a far-advanced skills. The buildings are exceptionally built. Its structures are well engineered.

  8. That's a really big church to explore. The architecture is so beautiful and complex too. Wondering how long would it take to see every bit of it?

  9. You always feed me with your stunning photos and lovely travel. I haven't been to Italy yet and while reading your post, it seemed like I'm traipsing my feet in Milan, Italy as well. I like all the buildings, it is unique and really a one of kind building that can only be seen in Italy. You look good with what you wear as well. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  10. I'm visiting Milan soon just to see the Duomo, well, maybe the San Siro too. I've not read anything about it so its good to know about visiting the interior. I think I'll go for the €11 ticket and walk to the top. Useful information about buying a metro day pass too, I'll do that.

  11. I have been inside this beautiful church in Milan just a couple of years ago. Too bad we did not have time to go up the terrace. I hope there will be another chance to visit in the future.

  12. Oh wow! Milan! My cousin just got back from and her photos as well are beautiful as yours.. the stairs won't be a problem as long as you can see beautiful view as this!

  13. Wow those pictures look amazing!, i loved Milano, my son and i went to mass and we loved it (even thought we couldnt understand). I would totally go again, my sister enjoyed it very much.

  14. Is that structure call Flying Buttress longback? I'm in awe and it looked like an illusion! I spent quit sometime looking at it!

  15. I loved Duomo di Milano and the Terrace was my favorite part also. I couldn't get enough of seeing those statues and intricate details up close! Definitely a must-see cathedral!

  16. yeap Italy is one of the world beauty! Love Milan

  17. I love the duomo, it's such a beautiful building. The Piazza del Duomo is a great setting for it too. As you say it's absolutely huge and so much to see inside. Love your photos of the staitcase. Must do that next time I go.

  18. Wow, you've captured the duomo beautifully. I'd love to go to church here, if only just for the cultural experience.

  19. I love gothic styled churches and this one is such a beauty. Been to Milan' s airport twice and still haven't visited it... need to change that!!

  20. The architectural terrace is absolutely stunning. I can't wait to visit one day!
    Viola xo | A Piece of Viola

  21. That place is just insanely gorgeous, right? I remember not loving Milan all that much, but when I arrived here, I was just awestruck!

  22. I agree, the cathedral in Milan is amazing, however, it was the only thing I liked about the city. Milan was the most disappointing cities in Italy ever. Comparing to Siena or other towns in the south - it was just a big city with big buildings, without a soul... What did you think about Milan in general?

  23. I visited Milan a long time ago and did visit the very magnificent Milan Duomo, but it was not until reading this post that I realized it is he largest church in Italy! I was simply so awe-struck by the detailed architecture and sculptures that I just missed that very important detail! I will have to reflect a little but on my memory of it's scale and try to put that now in a new perspective. Thank you for helping for my perspective by sharing your experience!

  24. The architectural designs are just breathtaking. The sculptures are so detailed! Milan has always been on top of my list because of its architecture and of course the place it holds in the fashion industry.

  25. The architecture of the cathedral is so spectacular, beautiful details on its walls and the exterior! You made a wise choice by first visiting the terrace :)

  26. This is amazing, I particularly like the second picture you shared. What a huge piece of dedicated art. You are so lucky to be everywhere and see art in these forms.

  27. What a beautiful cathedral with remarkable sculptures and fascinating details. I love old churches for this reason.


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