Milan Cathedral – How to make the best of your visit

Milan Cathedral – How to make the best of your visit

Milan Cathedral | Milano di Duomo | Italy

Milan Cathedral is a mesmerizingly beautiful masterpiece standing in Piazza del Duomo.

Milan Cathedral, Italy - How to make the best of your visit
Milan Cathedral, Italy | © mytimelessfootsteps | Photo: georgina_daniel

Its white and pink marble façade glistening in the autumn sun was a sight to behold and the one landmark that should not be missed. This amazing piece of architecture is located in the heart of the City of Milan

45°27’30.59″ N 9°11’17.40″ E

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Visiting Milan, Italy

As a visitor to Milan, you will note that it is a City that is easy to get to, both by air and land. Exploring Milan will undoubtedly require a few days, or multiple visits. A weekend getaway is just as good. My planned visit to this City was a brief one – a little shopping, a little exploring and a little adventure. Above all, if there was one thing I wanted to do in Milan, it was to visit the iconic landmark – Milan Cathedral | Duomo di Milano. The Duomo took centuries to build and I wanted to experience the magical Walk on the Rooftop of the Duomo.

If you are planning a visit to Milan Cathedral while on a trip to the City of Milan, then this is the best guide for you. I have listed the main attractions within the Cathedral so you don’t miss them. As well, the various choices on how to get the best value for money tickets for a memorable and timeless visit.

How to make the best of your visit to Milan Cathedral

There are many reasons to visit this masterpiece and there are so many interesting and fascinating “spots” to explore and to delve deeper in this Cathedral of over 600 years old but I limited my curiosities to the ones listed in this article – Top 10 Highlights. I hope my list below will inspire you to visit this iconic building (if you haven’t already) and act as a guide to make the best of your visit to Milan Cathedral.

Before I take you through the highlights, here are some factual information to the Cathedral which may guide you to make the best of your visit here.

Some factual information on Milan Cathedral

1 | Milan Cathedral is the fifth largest Cathedral in the world

Standing at 515 ft (157 metres) long and 302 ft (92 m) wide in Piazza del Duomo, Milan Cathedral can house up to 40000 people. It is the fifth largest Christian church in the world following 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 in the centre of Piazza del Duomo
Milan Cathedral in the centre of Piazza del Duomo | © timelesstravelsteps | georgina_daniel

This large Cathedral has seen a lot of history pass her by because it took almost 600 years to complete this masterpiece. Construction began in 1386 and the final pieces laid in 1960s but seeing the scaffolding on the roof of the Cathedral, something tells me that the work is not quite complete yet! The construction of the Cathedral involved many thousands of workers (as one can imagine!) and a new canal system in its many waterways to transport the special marble from Val D’Ossola. During its construction, many architects, sculptors and artists contributed to its fabric, making it an international creation, creating a unique and an impressive piece of architecture, merging the Gothic and the Romanesque style.

The main entrance to Milan Cathedral, Italy
The main entrance to Milan Cathedral, Italy | © timelesstravelsteps | georgina_daniel

2 | Milan Cathedral is a unique majestic structure

The Cathedral’s splendour of white and pink marble (sourced from the Candoglia quarry in Val D’Ossola) can be admired from many corners of the City. Its roof is covered in openwork slender pinnacles and spires crowned with almost 2000 sculptures that overlook the city. Apparently, this Gothic Cathedral has the most statues than any other building in the world! On the highest spire of the Cathedral, you will find the Madonnina, a gilded bronze statue of Mary, which was sculpted by Giuseppe Perego in 1774. I understand that over the years the Madonnina has become the symbol of Milan.

The Milan Cathedral, standing stall in the glistening sun. The white and pink marble facade is a sight to behold
The Milan Cathedral, standing tall in the glistening sun. The white and pink marble facade is a sight to behold | © mytimelessfootsteps | Photo: georgina_daniel
Madonnina-Symbol of Milan
Madonnina-Symbol of Milan | © mytimelessfootsteps | Photo: georgina_daniel

From the floors of Piazza del Duomo, looking up to this majestic structure, Milan Cathedral’s forest of one hundred and thirty-five spires seem to touch the sky and I felt a tingle of excitement and amazement as I approached this imposing Cathedral. Its rich decorations are a sight to behold and truly gave meaning to what Mark Twain had said of this wonder back in 1867:

“What a wonder it is! So grand, so solemn, so vast! And yet so delicate, so airy, so graceful! A very world of solid weight, and yet it seems in the soft moonlight only a fairy delusion of frostwork that might vanish with a breath! How sharply its pinnacled angles and its wilderness of spires were cut against the sky, and how richly their shadows fell upon its snowy roof! It was a vision! —a miracle! —an anthem sung in stone; a poem wrought in marble!”

MARK TWAIN, INNOCENTS ABROAD

However, not all may agree with me or Mark Twain! For even back then in 1875, there were differing opinions on the Duomo. Oscar Wilde visited Milan Cathedral and wrote of his disappointment on the Cathedral to his mother in June of 1875. He described it as “an awful failure”. Here’s the extract I found:

“The Cathedral is an awful failure. Outside the design is monstrous and inartistic. The over-elaborated details stuck high up where no one can see them; everything is vile in it; it is, however, imposing and gigantic as a failure, through its great size and elaborate execution.“

OSCAR WILDE

I shall let you make up your own mind whether it is a beautiful structure or a failure – in the meantime though, please read on and find out what it is really like on the outside and inside of Milan Cathedral.

3 | Other facts that you may wish to know

There are about 3200 to 3400 statues in total, both inside and outside of the Milan Cathedral but no-one really know the exact figure;

The central porch of the Cathedral dates back to 1800 and was sculpted by Ludovico Pogliaghi

Top 10 highlights of Milan Cathedral

Inside of the Cathedral is spectacular as you will see from the highlights below. The rooftop terraces are even more so, given the incredible views it offers over the City of Milan. Walking on the rooftop of the Duomo was an experience I longed to cherish, and I was very happy to be able to tick that experience off my list. Catching the sunset when I visited, well it was the icing on the cake, an exquisite experience that will last a lifetime, an experience which I strongly encourage you to go for if you can. Have a look at both the videos below on my rooftop experiences.

Outside Milan Cathedral

1 | Walking on the rooftop of Milan Cathedral | Duomo di Milano

The rooftop, without a doubt is the highlight of the Cathedral’s experience. There are two ways to access the terraces of the rooftop of Milan Cathedral – by stairs and by lift.

If you wish to take the stairs, there are about 250 steps, not many but they can be narrow. If you wish to take the lift, and avoid climbing altogether, you need to purchase a ticket that includes this option.

The changing hues as the sun sets over the City of Milan_4
Sunset from the rooftop of the Duomo | © mytimelessfootsteps | Photo: georgina_daniel

Purchase your tickets to the rooftop experience here

The rooftop offers an incredibly beautiful, slender pinnacles of intricately carved marbles holding a saint or a statue. There are so many towers, spires and statues that you would be totally lost in counting them if you tried! There are 135 spires and 2000 decorative marble statues on the rooftop alone. The close-up of the spires is an impressive sight. Looking at the statues and spires just made me wonder at the incredible talent of the masons to carve something so intricate and beautiful.

I was totally taken into the distant views of the snow-capped mountains of the Alps – I was fortunate as the day was clear and sunny, although the autumnal chill and the breeze on the rooftop saw me with my coat and scarf all the time.

Watch these videos and you will see what an amazing sight and experience it can be.

The changing hues during a sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo | © mytimelessfootsteps | georgina_daniel

View post in its entirety on The Best of Milan-Sunset on the Rooftop of the Duomo

Inside Milan Cathedral

From the outside of the Cathedral, though huge, I did not really feel how mega-huge it is until I stepped in. Inside of Milan Cathedral is vast and elegant. The marble floor is captivating from the moment you step in. There are three aisles.

NB: Dress Code – Shoulders and knees must be covered to enter the Cathedral.

2 | The uniquely designed marble floor of Milan Cathedral

The marble floor just rules the Cathedral! You can set your watch by it and it has a legend. So here goes…

Uniquely designed marble floor rules the Cathedral
Uniquely designed marble floor rules the Cathedral
Uniquely designed marble floor rules the Cathedral

Uniquely designed marble floor rules the Cathedral | © mytimelessfootsteps | Photo: georgina_daniel

2.1 | Sundial on the floor of Milan Cathedral

Along the left wall runs a long-gilded brass strip broken up by the twelve zodiac signs. It is a watch and a solar calendar – you could set your watch by it. The brass strip is the meridian and is also a sundial. Sunlight from a hole on the ceiling allows the sun to shine through and leave a mark on the zodiac sign., the bronze strip on June 21st (the summer solstice), and on December 21st (winter solstice), the sun reaches the Meridian which is on the opposite wall. At one time, Milan’s City’s clock was set by it and the Italians also used it as the prime reference for their astronomy. This ancient meridian and sundial were placed in 1768 by astronomers from the Accademia di Brera.

The Meridian at Milan Cathedral was the astronomical reference for the Prime Meridian until it was replaced by Greenwich Meridian, England in 1884.

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London | © mytimelessfootsteps | georgina_daniel

View article on The Royal Observatory, Greenwich

According to the Cathedral’s resources:

“Being a watch and a solar calendar perfectly working, it had required over centuries of several checks and restores. One of these was made in 1827 and it was necessary because of the lowering of the floor plan.

A second test was made in 1929 by astronomer Louis Gabba on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Observatory of Brera.

The last check was made in 1976 as the excavations of the first subway line and the lowering of the phreatic aquifer caused a further lowering of the Cathedral floor. The gnomic hole, site at the first vault of the first bay of south aisle, was also widened.”

DUOMO DI MILANO

Unfortunately for me, the sundial was presently not working because of work being carried out on the roof of the Cathedral. The use of scaffolding blocked the sunlight coming through the vault.

2.2 | The legend

Although the Cathedral is dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente (Saint Mary Nascent) and associated with Christianity, legend has it that it was also associated with pagan spirit which explains the unusual find of zodiac signs in a Christian place of worship.

3 | The marble columns of Milan Cathedral

Milan Cathedral has large sculpted marble columns or pillars if you prefer, that reach the ceiling. There are fifty-two columns, one for each week of the year and they are very high. Really high. Majestic, impressive and somewhat portrays a stately feel.  Looking up, the columns seemed to lead to heavens above!

High, very high pillars inside Milan Cathedral
High, very high pillars inside Milan Cathedral | © mytimelessfootsteps | Photo: georgina_daniel

4 | Paintings on the wall

There are large paintings on the walls, representing scenes from the bible.

Large paintings all around on the walls of Milan Cathedral that tells the stories from the Bible, both Old and New Testament
Large paintings all around on the walls of Milan Cathedral that tells the stories from the Bible, both Old and New Testament | © mytimelessfootsteps | georgina_daniel

5 | Private Chapels and places to reflect

There are private chapels where you can have a sit and reflect. Very quiet, peaceful and a sense of calmness all around.  

6 | Stained glass windows at Milan Cathedral

Walking around the Cathedral, there are large, rich stained-glass windows. Each has a history associated with it such as the historical moment or the artists who created them. The Cathedral is lit-up by sunlight seeping through these stained-glass windows that gives a sort of enlightening charm. The windows are also lit from the inside to aid visitors to appreciate the details that these windows depict. The larger windows are located at the oldest part of the Cathedral.

The central stained-glass window depicts the scenes of the Apocalypse. The side windows tell the stories from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

Pro Tip: When you are in the middle aisle, marvel at the central window in all its glory with the mysterious sun that seems to illuminate the nave and the enlightening charm will have you in awe.

Large stained-glass windows behind the altar
Closer look at the stained-glass window in Milan Cathedral

Stained-glass windows on the left and right side of aisles that depicts stories from the Old and New Testament of the Bible in Milan Cathedral | © timelesstravelsteps | Photo: georgina_daniel

Stained-glass windows on the left and right side of aisles that depicts stories from the Old and New Testament of the Bible in Milan Cathedral

Large stained-glass windows behind the altar | © timelesstravelsteps | georgina_daniel

You may wish to know: Stained glassmaking is an art that developed along with the Milan Cathedral over the many centuries that had taken to complete this majestic structure. It began in the early 1400s and the most recent stained-glass window at Milan Cathedral was made in 1988.

7 | The statue of Bartholomew the Apostle, patron saint of the tanners

You will find him behind the altar. Saint Bartholomew is depicted with his skin hanging off his shoulders as a reference to the martyrdom he suffered.

8 | Home to one of the precious objects in Christianity

I learnt that the Cathedral is home to one of the most precious objects in Christianity and it is situated in the dome above the altar. The spot is marked with a red light bulb. This is where one of the nails used during the Crucifixion of Christ is placed. The public can only see it once a year, on the Saturday closest to 14 September when the nail is exhibited at the altar until the Monday after evening prayers.

Pro tip: If you want to see this precious object, Plan your travels around the Saturday closest to the 14th September. Also, to bear in mind, it will be one of the busiest times at the Cathedral.

9 | Crypt

You will find the crypt through a mini stairway and it is in the Chapel of Saint Charles Borromeo, where his remains are buried since 3rd November 1584.

Photography was not allowed here, understandably but I did find the ceiling of the entrance to be rather attractive. I was allowed to take photos of this.

The ceiling of the main hall in the Crypt of Milan Cathedral
The ceiling of the main hall in the Crypt of Milan Cathedral | © mytimelessfootsteps | Photo: georgina_daniel

10 | The Baptistry

I did not see the Baptistery. I am informed that visitors can climb down under the Cathedral to the archaeological remains to see what is left of the Basilica di Santa Tecla and the ruins of a Christian baptistery from the fourth century. Legend has it that Saint Ambroise baptised Saint Augustin in 387 in the large octagonal baptismal font which is in the centre of the building.

My conclusion on Milan Cathedral

I think you know what I think of Milan Cathedral by now! It was an incredible visit and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Cathedral at a reasonable pace. Though it was off-season, it was still busy with visitors. The 10 highlights or “spots” that I have listed above are the ones that you should not miss when visiting this iconic structure. If you were to ask me, what’s the one highlight that stood out, then it is without a doubt is the Sunset on the rooftop of Milan Cathedral. May I also add, that the one landmark that should not be missed when in Milan, this must be the Milan Cathedral | Duomo di Milano.  

Travel tips and Practical information when visiting Milan Cathedral

1 | Opening hours of Milan Cathedral

The Cathedral and the Rooftop is open Everyday.

Cathedral – 8 am to 7 pm | Rooftop – 9 am to 7pm | Last entry is at 6pm

For further details on their daily activities and prayer times, please check their official website here.

For Accessibility information, click here.

2 | Dress code

When visiting/entering Milan Cathedral, ensure you are dressed in a manner where Shoulders and knees are covered.

Shoulders and knees must be covered to enter the Cathedral. You may be refused entry if not appropriately dressed even if you have fully paid ticket.

3 | Duomo Museum

The Duomo Museum is located next to Milan Cathedral. The Museum showcases three exhibitions that tells the story of the Cathedral of over 600 years.

4 | Ways to experience Milan Cathedral

There are more than one way to experience Milan Cathedral for memories that will last a lifetime. If its worth exploring, you will find them here – below are your choices:

Milan Cathedral, Italy - How to make the best of your visit

The Fast-Track Milan Cathedral and Terraces Guided Tour offers you a complete tour of Milan Cathedral, with skip-the-line entrance and access to the terraces. The ticket includes access to the archaeological area under the cathedral. Afterwards, you can explore the Duomo Museum as well. This tour comes with a full money-back guarantee if you do not enjoy the experience. Check T & C and

Buy your Fast track ticket to Milan Cathedral

Spires and statues on the rooftop of the Duomo

To experience all areas of Milan Cathedral plus the terraces, museum and the archaeological area, take a look at Milan Cathedral and Rooftop Ticket which gives you the opportunity to explore at your leisure. This ticket is valid for 3 days. Includes audio guide. Non refundable. Buy your ticket here.

Sunset over Milan viewed from the rooftop of the Duomo

If you don’t have much time and your visit to Milan is a hurry, you still visit Milan Cathedral Terraces by Elevator Fast-Track Options – this fast-track ticket save precious time and you can ride the dedicated elevator to get stunning views from the Milan Duomo terraces.

Learn more on this option and buy your ticket

Beautiful architecture awaits you when you reach the terraces of the Duomo

There is yet another option for you to skip the line and experience a tour of Milan Cathedral and Terraces

Buy your skip the line ticket for a tour of Milan Cathedral and Terraces

There are more combination of choices which you may wish to have a look at and consider.

Learn more of your options and combination of tickets available for your visit

5 | Getting to Milan Cathedral / Duomo di Milano

From Milano Centrale Station:

To get to the Cathedral, you will need the Piazza del Duomo. The distance between Milan’s Central Station and Piazza del Duomo is 2 miles / 3.2 km. There are Three ways to get to Milan Cathedral from Central Station. I took a taxi and it was 10 Euros. Have a look at the following and you can decide what suits you.

If you are looking for the quickest way to get from Milan’s Central Station to Piazza del Duomo is to take a taxi. It takes 7 to 10 minutes depending on traffic. It costs around 10 Euros.

If you are considering the cheapest way to get from Milan’s Central Station to Piazza del Duomo, then it is the line 3 subway which costs 3 Euros and takes 15 min. It is located right in the Piazza del Duomo.

You can take a direct bus departing from Central Station m2 m3 and arrives at via larga. It is about 7 to 9 minutes walk to Piazza del Duomo, The bus services depart every two hours, and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 13 min. Costs 3 Euros.


How to get around Milan on public transport

How to get around the City of Milan is the ultimate resource to everything you need to know about public transportation in Milan. The article includes information on the best tickets to purchase to supplement your moving around the city.


6 | Planning your trip

Here is all you need in this 6-step guide to create a stress free vacation Your Way!

When planning a trip to Milan, I use the following 6-step guide for a stress free vacation – I am sure that you will find them useful as well to enhance your travel experiences.

6.1 | Find the Best Flight Deals by navigating to this page – there is a list of trusted partners offering the best prices for both long-haul and short-haul flights.

If you intend to Train Travel, I have you covered as well. Go to Interail EU to peruse options and buy your travel passes. Along with this, learn all about train travelling in the UK Trainline and Unique experiences

View post: Train Travel UK – A quintessential odyssey | Best 8 UK scenic train journeys

6.2 | Find the perfect hotel room in booking.com with flexible dates and last-minute cancellations. There are 5669 hotels and accommodations in Milan and I am certain you will find one to suit your needs – you can access booking.com here. Along with the huge options available to you, peruse also the carefully selected 12 hotels and aparthotels according to neighbourhoods in Milan. Learn more about which area is good for families and which of the accommodations made the pick for central Milan.

View article: Beautiful places to stay in Milan

6.3 | Find great day tours on Get Your Guide for a seamless and hassle free, skip the line experiences – do a search and have a look at Get Your Guide here .

6.4 | Never leave home without Travel Insurance – always a helping hand and you never know when you need most. Search for the best and most suitable for your travels by navigating here.

6.5 | If you want to take the hassle of planning and researching for best places to stay and best flights, then consider doing a package holiday – you get great protection – ATOL, ABTA and Financial – when buying a package holiday compared to booking a vacation by yourself. Learn more about the 10 benefits of package holidays that you will love here.

6.6 | Finally, book your trip!


Learn more and take advantage of offers by navigating to Travel Resources-All in one place.


You may also be interested in reading about my experiences in other parts of Europe – Amsterdam, | Geneva andLondon.

What do you think? Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to Milan Cathedral? If so, please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

My sincere hope is that the travel tips offered in this blog will help you plan your memorable visit to Milan Cathedral.

Happy discovering Milan Cathedral

Georgina xx

Updated January 2021

February 2021, Update

If you choose to #travel, travel safely | #staysafe #stayinspired | Read now to #travel later. For latest on Covid-19 go to: CDC.GOV | WHO International


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Milan Cathedral - How to make the best of your visit
Milan Cathedral - How to make the best of your visit
Milan Cathedral - How to make the best of your visit
Milan Cathedral - How to make the best of your visit

I look forward to connecting with each of you


A detail guide to maximising your visit to Milan Cathedral without missing the important "spots". via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/A detail guide to maximising your visit to Milan Cathedral without missing the important "spots". via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/

The Best of Milan – Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo

The Best of Milan – Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo

The Gothic Cathedral of Milan, famously known as the Duomo, is a glorious marble structure with slender pinnacles rising everywhere. Above all, it is the golden Madonnina, that stands high above over Milan which gives this iconic Cathedral its glorious and majestic beauty. You will find this City at the following GPS code.

45.4641° N 9.1919° E

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links including Amazon LLC. This means that I earn a commission, from qualifying purchases at no cost to you, if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here or get in touch with me via Contact form if you have any questions about any of the companies. You could also take a look at our Trusted Partners

The Best of Milan – Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo

Milan is the One Place where you shop till you drop, take a journey through Roman ruins, meet architecture of centuries gone-by sitting next to modern skyscrapers,  experience amazing mouth-watering dishes which only the Italians have the “know-how” and enjoy a cocktail or two from terraces across the spectacularly amazing Duomo – yet the Best experience for me was walking through what seemed like a forest of towers and spires and watching the sunset from the rooftop of the Duomo, a sight to behold which should not be missed. Come with me and enjoy this splendid experience.

1 | The rooftop of the Duomo – a sight to behold

If you have very little time in Milan, the one experience that I would highly recommend is to catch the sunset from the terraces of the Duomo. I was totally lost in the moment and overcome with a sense of calmness when I exited the lift and saw the views over Milan.

Best of Milan - Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo
As the sun reflects on the Duomo | Photo: georgina_daniel
Best of Milan - Sunset on the rooftop of the DuomoViews over Milan from the rooftop of the Duomo
Stop for a moment and marvel at this grand intricate architecture which blows you away at times | Photo: georgina_daniel
Best of Milan - Sunset on the rooftop of the DuomoViews of Milan from the rooftop of the Duomo
Views of Milan from the rooftop of the Duomo | Photo: georgina_daniel

The views from the top are amazing and you can see the mountains in the distance on a clear day. Below, is the Piazza del Duomo and literally the whole of Milan under your feet! This magnificent Duomo is a true wonder! We spent over an hour at the rooftop, just taking in the sights, far, near and below.

Best of Milan - Sunset on the rooftop of the DuomoViews of the Piazza del Duomo
Views of the Piazza del Duomo | Photo: georgina_daniel

Play the video below to immerse in the atmosphere of the best of Milan – sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo

Video of the atmosphere on the rooftop of the Duomo during sunset | By: georgina_daniel

2 | Walking through a forest of spires and statues on the rooftop of the Duomo

We walked through a forest of one-hundred and thirty-five towers and spires, and over two-thousand decorative marble statues. The close-up of the spires was an impressive sight and will have you in awe in more times than once.

Best of Milan - Sunset on the rooftop of the DuomoAnother spectacular view of the forest of spires and statues on the rooftop of the Duomo
Another spectacular view of the forest of spires and statues on the rooftop of the Duomo | Photo: georgina_daniel
Spires and statues on the rooftop of the Duomo
Spires and statues on the rooftop of the Duomo | Photo: georgina_daniel

We explored the rooftop via interconnecting stairways. walked the perimeter of the Cathedral, all four sides and further up to the highest possible point to have the closest view possible of Modonnina, the symbol of Milan. We stopped every few minutes to take in the view, and along with other tourists were in total awe, total strangers talking to each other and sharing this one love of wonderment. There were moments of silence too, for such moments need not be outwardly expressed. Each moment was remarkable as we witnessed the changing colours of the clear blue skies to yellow, gold and orange hues.

3 | The changing hues of the sunset over Milan from the Duomo

No words needed here…have a look at the video below – the changing colours over the City of Milan.

Changing hues of the sunset over the City of Milan from the rooftop of the Duomo | georgina_daniel

4 | The velvety night sky

The rich hues of the sunset gave way to the velvety dark of night as the sun sank lower draining the light of day away. You can see the star-like lights in the distance and the bright-lights from the square. The evening landscape that surrounds the Duomo was unique as it represents the old and new combined, somehow perfectly complementing each other and not being out of place. The evening drew a slight breeze, giving a chill in the autumn evening which added to the magical moments of this sunset over Milan from the rooftop of the Duomo.

The Best of Milan – Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo |Star-like lights in the distance on this clear blue skies
Star-like lights in the distance captures your imagination on this evening of clear blue skies | Photo: georgina_daniel
The Best of Milan – Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo |Evening images from the rooftop of the Duomo
Evening images from the rooftop of the Duomo | Photo: georgina_daniel
The Best of Milan – Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo |The spires and statues gives a different look altogether in the evening light
The spires and statues of the Duomo gives a different look altogether in the evening light | Photo: georgina_daniel

5 | Madonnina at the Duomo – Symbol of Milan

To get the closest view possible of the Madonnina, walk all around the perimeter of the roof and around a corner, there is a stairway that leads further up to the highest possible point. The stairs leads you to the highest rooftop and it is from here, where you will have the closest view possible of Modonnina – the picture below.

Madonnina-Symbol of Milan
Madonnina-Symbol of Milan | Photo: georgina_daniel

georgina@timelesstravelsteps suggests: The rooftop is at a gradient and can be slippery. Please use appropriate footwear.

6 | My conclusion on the rooftop of the Duomo

The rooftop offers spectacular views over Milan. You will be totally amaze walking through the what seems like never ending paths through a forest of spires and statues of all and every kind that makes the Duomo unique. Like I mentioned earlier, if there be one thing you do in Milan, and you want it to be the Best in Milan, make it the Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo.

I know what is “Best” to individuals may differ and you may not be a fan of cathedrals or rooftops, but for those who are on the same page as I, give the rooftop of the Duomo a go at sunset and return here to share your experiences or tag me on Instagram when you post your pictures. I look forward to connecting with each of you.

I was fortunate to experience this on a sunny day because the day before and day after rained cats and dogs! Plan well and choose your day. Purchase your tickets before visiting.

7 | Travel tips and Practical information when visiting the Duomo di Milano

7.1 | How to get to the rooftops of the Duomo

Access to the rooftop is around the back of the Duomo. You need a ticket.

There are two ways to get to the rooftop – by staircase or an elevator. If you do the Fast-track or the Skip-the-line option, you can take the lift. I highly recommend that you opt for this option because it saves you a lot of time. Moreover, this ticket is valid for 3-days and an audio-guide is included.

Have a look at the various choices you have and get your tickets here or here

You will find that there is a queue, regardless of whether you are on the Skip-the-line track or the not. When I visited last week, there was only one line and I purchased the Fast-track / Skip-the-Line ticket. It wasn’t a very long queue.

Though I did not expect to wait the fifteen-minutes or so as I had literally walked into the Duomo without a queue and I expected the same with the rooftop access. It was understandable under the circumstances as there is only one operable lift, that takes about six people at a time.

Georgina suggests: The price difference between taking the stairs and the lift is not much. You can check the difference here. If you are into fitness, then take the stairs. However, if you are limited in time, take the lift and enjoy the views.

Give yourself at least 1 to 1.5 hours to really enjoy the rooftop experience

7.3 | Opening hours

The Cathedral and the Rooftop is open Everyday.

Cathedral – 8 am to 7 pm | Rooftop – 9 am to 7pm | Last entry is at 6pm

For further details on their daily activities and prayer times, please check their official website at Duomo di Milano.

For Accessibility information, click here.

7.3 | Getting to Milan Cathedral/Duomo di Milano

From Milan Central Station:

To get to the Cathedral, you will need the Piazza del Duomo. The distance between Milan’s Central Station and Piazza del Duomo is 2 miles / 3.2 km. There are Three ways to get to Milan Cathedral from Central Station. I took a taxi and it was 10 Euros. Have a look at the following and you can decide what suits you.

If you are looking for the quickest way to get from Milan’s Central Station to Piazza del Duomo is to take a taxi. It takes 7 to 10 minutes depending on traffic. It costs around 10 Euros.

If you are considering the cheapest way to get from Milan’s Central Station to Piazza del Duomo, then it is the line 3 subway which costs 3 Euros and takes 15 min. It is located right in the Piazza del Duomo.

You can take a direct bus departing from Central Station m2 m3 and arrives at via larga. It is about 7 to 9 minutes walk to Piazza del Duomo, The bus services depart every two hours, and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 13 min. Costs 3 Euros.


Planning your trip?

Everything you need is in this 6-step guide >> 6 step guide to an awesome vacation

As well, take a look at the following services to enhance your travel experiences. I use them when planning my own travels and I am sure you will find them useful too.

Find the perfect hotel room in booking.com with flexible dates and last-minute cancellations. There are 5669 hotels and accommodations in Milan and I am certain you will find one to suit your needs – you can access booking.com here. Alternatively, stay at one of the 12 carefully selected beautiful places in Milan – hotels and aparthotels according to neighbourhoods

Find great day tours on Get Your Guide for a seamless and hassle free, skip the line experiences – do a search and have a look at Get Your Guide here Along with the choices afforded by Get Your Guide, take a look at the 19 bucket list items which you should not miss when visiting Milan.

You may also be interested in reading about my experiences in other parts of Europe – Amsterdam, | Geneva and London.


Finally, is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to the Rooftop of Milano di Duomo? If so, please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Have a lovely time exploring the Rooftop!

Georgina xx

February 2021, Update

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Best of Milan – Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo
Best of Milan – Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo
Best of Milan – Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo
Best of Milan – Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo

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Walk through a forest of towers, spires and decorative marble statues and be in awe in more times than once as you watch the changing hues of the sunset over the majestic City of Milan. A detailed guide including videos. #milan #duomomilano #sunset #bestofmilan #bestofmilano #bestofitalia via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/Walk through a forest of towers, spires and decorative marble statues and be in awe in more times than once as you watch the changing hues of the sunset over the majestic City of Milan. A detailed guide including videos. #milan #duomomilano #sunset #bestofmilan #bestofmilano #bestofitalia via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/

Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan

Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan

Himeji is a City in the Kansai region of Japan, in the Hyogo Prefecture. It is easily accessible from Kyoto or Osaka (see below) and makes a brilliant day trip. My ultimate 1-day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan covers castles, gardens and temples – just three places which should be in any visit list to this region.

You can find Himeji using the following GPS coordinates.

Himeji

34° 50′ 13.19″ N
134° 41′ 22.79″ E

Himeji Castle - a white castle on top of a hill. It is said to appear like a bird taking flight! Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan
Himeji Castle – it is said to appear like a bird taking flight!

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What to see and do | Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan i

The are three places which you should not miss when visiting Himeji. These are:

  • The popular Himeji Castle;
  • The traditional Edo-style garden called Koko-en;
  • The Engyoji Temple at Mount Shosha;

All within easy reach of each other.

1 | Himeji Castle | Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan

Himeji Castle is a hilltop landmark, a 17th century castle. Often called Hakuro-jo or Shirasagi-jo which means “White Egret Castle” because of its white façade and its appearance as a bird taking flight.

Himeji Castle - a white castle on top of a hill. It is said to appear like a bird taking flight!Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan
Himeji Castle – it is said to appear like a bird taking flight! | Photo: georgina_daniel

Himeji Castle was one of my highlights in Japan and I hope you will find the following to be as fascinating as it was for me that made my visit very special.

1.1 | Himeji Castle is UNESCO World Heritage Site

Himeji Castle was constructed on an existing fort in 1601 under the order of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan from 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu ruled Japan with a mission to unify  the country. He built one castle in each province and good defences to stave off attacks.

This white castle has not seen a battle since it was built and had stood strong throughout the years, despite the bombings during the World Wars and earthquakes in Japan. The Castle is a National Treasure of Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. It is one the few original castles from Japan’s feudal period that has moats, passageways and cherry trees.

Himeji Castle has beautiful landscaped gardens and moats that surrounds the Castle. Great photo opportunity here!Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan
Himeji Castle has beautiful landscaped gardens and moats that surrounds the Castle. Great photo opportunity here! | Photo: georgina_daniel

The Castle is visible even as you begin your walk from Himeji Station. As you approach the Castle, there are various beautiful spots that make great photo opportunities. When you arrive, enter through the Otemon Gate, purchase your tickets and walk through the passageway to the Main Keep.

Entrance to Himeji Castle Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan
Entrance to Himeji Castle is over the bridge and through the Otemon Gate | Photo: georgina_daniel
Winding walled passageways takes you to the main entrance of Himeji Castle.Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan
Winding walled passageways takes you to the main entrance of Himeji Castle | Photo: georgina_daniel

1.2 | The Main Keep and Interior of Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle has six floors and the Main Keep of the top floor offers spectacular views of the castle grounds and across the city itself, surrounded by beautiful mountains in the distance.

Spectacular views from the top floor of the Keep of the Castle grounds, view of the City and the mountains beyond.Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan
Spectacular view from the top floor of the Keep of the Castle grounds, view of the City and the mountains beyond | Photo: georgina_daniel

The Main Keep is the largest structure of the Castle and there are six floors. The staircases are steep, and it gets steeper and narrower as you climb higher. The climb to the top floor is one long queue, so take your time and try and capture the views of the castle grounds.  Also, take note of the loopholes used by the archers to defend the Castle during attacks.

1.3 | Gardens surrounding Himeji Castle

When you have completed the Main Keep, make time to explore the gardens surrounding the Castle. This vast ground offers great photo opportunities. I visited Himeji Castle towards the end of the cherry blossom season and was fortunate to capture the beauty the season brings to Japan. The sight of cherry trees planted in a long line with pink and white petals against the blue sky is simply awesome! There is an area of cherry blossom trees which serves both as a picnic and resting area offering shade.

Cherry trees in a line surrounds Himeji Castle. Cherry blossom season in Japan
Cherry trees in a line surrounds Himeji Castle | Photo: georgina_daniel
Peaceful and serene - gardens within Himeji Castle grounds.Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan
Peaceful and serene – gardens within Himeji Castle grounds | Photo: georgina_daniel

1.4 | Meeting with talented artist at Himeji Castle

During my visit, I was fortunate to meet an incredibly talented gentleman called, Pierre, who is an artist/sketcher. His passion is to sketch every temple, every castle in Japan and China. He had been doing this for five years already. His book of sketches was beautiful, he captured every detail of the architecture and its history seamlessly.

Pierre's sketchbook Himeji Castle. Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan
Himeji Castle | Pierre’s Sketch Book – Isn’t this awesome! | Photo: georgina_daniel

Pierre did inform me that he lives in Paris. Unfortunately, Pierre does not have a website or a blogsite where he showcases his work and I want to mention him here, in this blog because his work and his passion should be merited (I do have his consent to mention him in my blog). I hope that one day, Pierre will find himself reading this blog! 😊

1.5 | Travel tips and Useful information on Himeji Castle, Himeji

Useful information:

  • Give yourself anything between 2 to 4 hours;
  • Entrance fee: 1000 Yen
  • Hours: Generally, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Summer (Apr 27 to Aug 31) 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

            Last entry is an hour before closing. As well, the Main Keep is not wheelchair accessible.

1.6 | Getting to Himeji Castle from Himeji Station

Take the North exit at Himeji Station. It is about 1km. It is not far at all when you walk along the Otemae-dori Street, the shops are a good distraction and the sight of the Castle is straight ahead of you.

After visiting Himeji Castle, you may wish to take a break or have a picnic under the cherry blossom tree before making your way to Koko-en Garden.

2 | Koko-en Garden

Koko-en Garden is 3.5 hectares, of traditional Edo-style garden just next to Himeji Castle. It is laid out in nine-themed sections, with water features, pagodas and step-stones projecting tranquillity. You can take as long as you like here and can take up to 2 hours  or more by the time you walk around all nine gardens. It took me almost 3 hours.

Koko-en at Himeji - There are nine gardens here with individual themes. Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan
Koko-en at Himeji – There are nine gardens here with individual themes and it is really worthwhile spending some time here | Photo: georgina_daniel

3 | Engyoji Temple

To the Northwest of Himeji City Centre, lies Mount Shosha which is home to Engyoji Temple. This Buddhist Temple is a Temple of the Tendai Sect and was founded by Shoku Shomin in 966. The well-preserved wooden buildings of Engyoji Temple and its surrounds are over a 1000 years old and has been used as a location for films such as “The Last Samurai” starred by Tom Cruise.

3.1 | Travel tips and Useful information on Engyoji Temple, Himeji

Useful information:

  • Entrance is 500 Yen
  • Opens 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Getting to Engyoji Temple:

  • From Himeji Station, take the bus for Mt Shosha Ropeway and get off at the last stop – takes approximately 25 minutes;
  • Take the cable car to the top of Mt Shosha – takes approximately 5 minutes;
  • The Mountain Pass: No-mo (the gate of Engyoji Temple) and Mani-den (the main temple)

It’s a 15 to 20 minute, walk from the station at the top of Mt Shosha to Mani-den. Along the way, you can see 33 Kannon statues.

There is a bus service from the entrance to Mani-den. A round trip costs 500 Yen

Travel tips and Useful information on Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan

How to get to Himeji

Himeji is easily accessible from Kyoto and Osaka

From Kyoto:

  • Shinkansen: Kyoto and Himeji are connected via the JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen;
  • Hikari Shinkansen-55 minutes journey (Japan Rail Pass is valid)
  • Nozomi trains-45 minutes journey (Japan Rail Pass cannot be used)
  • JR Special Rapid Train: Shin-kaisoku takes 90 minutes.

From Osaka:

  • Shinkansen: Hikari, Sakura or Kodama trains – 40 minutes journey (Japan Rail Pass is valid);
  • JR Special Rapid Train: One hour journey.

How to move around Japan | Transportation

Enjoy unlimited travel around Japan with the JR Full Rail System Pass on all JR lines and bullet trains except Mizuho and Nozomi. You can purchase the Rail Pass to suit the duration of your travel – 7, 14 or 21 days and have it delivered to your home address well before you board your flight to Japan. Take a look here.

Planning a trip to Japan

If you are planning a trip to Japan, how about checking out the following services to enhance your travel experiences? I use them when planning my own travels and I am sure you will find them useful too.

Travel resources at a Glance

Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.

Flights – I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares or Etihad Airways for long haul flights. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays.

Accommodations – My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget.

Unique experiences & tours – My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals.

Travel insurance – Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.

Travel essentials – Never travel without these! I use and fully endorse all the products on this page but especially: High powered wireless power bank, Universal travel adapter and unlimited portable pocket wifi.

You may also be interested in reading about my experiences in Kyoto – the Top 5 Must See in Kyoto and the Ultimate 2 Kyoto Markets which you should not miss. As well, you may also want to look-up my itinerary on Hiroshima and how best to see Tokyo in 3 Days.


Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to Himeji ? If so, please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Have a great time discovering Japan.

Georgina xx

Updated February, 2021

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This iconic castle in Himeji, built in 17th century, aka "bird taking flight" will impress any visitor here with its unique architecture and white facade. Learn more from the Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/This iconic castle in Himeji, built in 17th century, aka "bird taking flight" will impress any visitor here with its unique architecture and white facade. Learn more from the Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Himeji, Japan via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/