DoumoMilan’s spectacular cathedral is an iconic view of the city, the subject of countless postcards, web pages and travel calendars. The Milan Duomo spikes heavenward, dominating the cathedral square. It attracts the faithful to worship and pay homage to the luminaries entombed there; and visitors simply to gawk.

For another view, you have to go up–where birds roost (or would, if they could break the mesh barriers and pigeon spikes). Up–with the sentinel saints. Up–where sunset puts on a show of pink and gold. Here are some highlights of our November visit to the Duomo, where despite all the scaffolding, we found Up a great place to be.

Next time you are in Milan, visit the Duomo at sunset, and take home indelible memories.

Piazza Duomo

As shadows overtake Piazza Duomo, then begin to creep up the facade of the cathedral itself, it is time to head around back to the elevator — or if you are truly energetic, a climb up the hundreds of steps to the roof.

DoumoMuch of the roof darkens early, but there is light aplenty for admiring gargoyles and arches.

DoumoDoumoA flock of tourists

DoumoA flight of steps at the front of the cathedral takes you to the sloped roof over the apse of the church, where flocks of sightseers seem to alight in clusters next to stone balustrade splashed with sun, for a look out toward the Torre Velasca. At no obvious signal, they flutter to the other side for a view of mountains.

Single tourists break away and look for a stable place to put a camera for selfies; and for ways to capture intricate carving without including the evidence of ongoing restoration.

In November, the shadows are a little chilly, and as the sun sinks toward the horizon, the singletons re-join the flock. Everyone basks in the glow that begins to the south and glides steadily toward the Duomo. It’s time to settle back and enjoy the display.

Sunset atop the Milan Duomo

DoumoDoumoDoumo DoumoDoumo Doumo12_105050113_600030614_105050415- Statue atop spireNightfall at the Duomo

As the last dash of rose and purple fades, lights come on across the city. On the rooftop, too. Stay there as long as you can. Very likely, the guards will begin to shut the gates behind you as you make your way back to the elevator or stairs.

DuomoDuomoDuomoIf you go

The roof of the Milan Duomo is open during daylight hours, summer and winter, and during church services. Check the Hello Milano portal for more information, including current hours of opening and ticket prices for the elevator to the roof.


Did you know you can contribute to ongoing restoration of the Milan cathedral? Check out the Adotta Una Guglia (Adopt a Spire) page of the Duomo’s website for more information. You may find a description of your favorite spire among those on the web page!

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