After climbing 251 steps, or taking the elevator on the left side of the cathedral, the Rooftop Terraces are revealed in all their majesty. They offer visitors an unmatched panoramic view, and a chance to wander amidst flying buttresses, 135 pink Candoglia marble spires and 3,400 statues, depicting saints and other religious and historical figures.
Between saints and blessed, apotropaic figures as well as animals – including frogs, monkeys and dragons – the innumerable statues in the cathedral compose an incredible mingling scenic apparatus. Lombard, German, Bohemian, French, Tuscan, Venetian and Campionese craftsmen worked on this architectural masterpiece, and there is an overlap of different historical periods – from the 14th century to Neoclassicism and Art Deco. Famous personalities are represented: Dante Alighieri, Arturo Toscanini, King Vittorio Emanuele, but also Benito Mussolini and boxer Primo Carnera.
Then there are fantasy figures or objects such as a tennis racket, an ice axe with a mountain boot, a rugby ball or two boxing gloves. Not to be missed, on the facade of the cathedral is a statue that was the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty in New York, created by Auguste Bartholdi and inaugurated in 1886. The 19th-century statue of the ‘New Law’, complete with torch and spiked crown, is located above the main door, on the left side of the balcony.

There are few things as romantic as admiring a red-tinged sky from a panoramic position as dusk falls. Agreeing with this assumption, the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo offers visitors a chance to access the Rooftop Terraces in summer, with extended visiting hours until 8.30am, 7 days a week. The tour, reserved for small groups of 15 people, also offers visitors a unique opportunity to admire the golden Madonnina close-up, discover the Duomo from a different perspective, and learn about the secrets behind its Gothic architecture from professional guides.

Different ticket options, which can also be booked online, are available. You can either purchase a ticket that only allows access to the Rooftop Terraces or opt for a 90-minute Fast-Track Duomo Tour. This includes a guided tour in Italian, English, French, Spanish or German of the cathedral’s rooftop terraces, its spacious interiors, and the church’s archaeological area, an underground crypt whose original foundations are still visible.

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