The big, beautiful, gothic-style Il Duomo in Milan is the fifth largest Christian church in the world (and this is all according to the Internet, so you know it must be true). Outdone by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil, Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York and Seville’s Cathedral, Milan Cathedral is still one big church! At 109,641 square feet, an entire city block, its size is even more impressive considering it’s the oldest church on that list. I could hardly wait to get inside when we were in Milan in September to feed my love for touring historic Catholic cathedrals.
But the best thing about this magnificent cathedral is that for a fee, you can go to the rooftop and see glimpses of the Alps to the north, enjoy the sweeping views of Milan, look down on the flying buttresses, mingle among the rooftop statues and absorb the architectural details of the edifice. They say there are more statues on this cathedral than any other building in the world. There are 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures that decorate Milan Duomo.
Once up there, I simply didn’t want to leave. Only the relentless September sun drove us down after about an hour climbing around the top of the historic cathedral. Awesome has been reduced to triteness in our lexicon, so I use it sparingly. But let me lavish a word on Il Duomo: awesome.