Climbing up to the Duomo rooftop

Now more than ever, I just cannot believe that Milan’s majestic Duomo – the fifth largest church in the world – was built by mankind. I thought that having stepped inside the gothic cathedral and taken a dozen photos outside while scrutinizing the detailed story-telling carvings, that I had ‘seen’ everything there was to see. How completely wrong I was! Believe me when I say that you have not seen the Duomo or the city of Milan until you have walked the spiral staircase to the rooftop and printed the fashion capital’s skyline in your mind’s eye.

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My fear of getting stuck in one of Italy’s claustrophobic elevators meant that I saved 5 Euros and paid 7 Euros for a workout, climbing what I expected to be 170 steps (according to a Google search), but I somehow counted exactly 239 steps from the ground all the way up to the rooftop, excluding milling around on the balcony. What I didn’t expect was having to fight a mild claustrophic panic attack because the climb seemed to go on forever and it was a very narrow flight with two-way traffic!

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Beauty is painful, but in this case, experiencing the beauty of Milan from high up here was every bit worth the aching legs. There was one particular moment that really did take my breath away; just as I exited the stairwell and touched the light of day, what looks minute from down below stared me in the face as sculptures and pathways so intricate and detailed, that I began to wonder if artisans from centuries gone by had divine help to carve this monumental building out of pure marble.

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Almost 80 different architects & engineers and six centuries of construction, the rooftop slopes off to the sides with the Madonnina still standing tall while work continues. I walked the length of the structure to get the best views from every angle.

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The view of the skyline and piazza in front of the Duomo.

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The view of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and La Rinascente’s terrace from the balcony.

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