AN OVERVIEW OF WHAT IS COVERED IN THIS ARTICLE:
- How to visit the rooftop of Milan Cathedral;
- The best of Milan at sunset from the Duomo Terraces;
- Walking through a forest of spires and statues on the rooftop of the Duomo;
- The changing hues of the sunset over Milan from the Duomo Terraces;
- The Best of Milan: Beautiful velvety night sky;
- The Madonnina at Duomo di Milano: Symbol of Milan;
- A reflection of my experience watching the sunset from the rooftop of the Duomo;
- Is the rooftop of Milan Duomo worth it?
- About Milan Cathedral;
- Tips and Info for your visit to the Duomo;
HOW TO VISIT THE ROOFTOP OF MILAN CATHEDRAL
The rooftop of Milan Cathedral is open to the public but access is not free. There is a small entry fee to visit the Duomo terraces. To visit both the inside Milan Cathedral and the rooftop, you should buy a combo ticket.
You can access the rooftop on foot by climbing the 250 steps or by opting for the lift which takes you to the first level terraces. The lift service works only one way, which is to the first level. Your way back down is via the stairs.
There is a limit to the number of visitors who can access the roof top at any given time and tickets do sell-out quick. If you really want to go to the terraces of Milan Cathedral for that unique once in a lifetime experience, reserve your tickets in advance.
THIS IS HOW TO VISIT THE ROOFTOP OF MILAN CATHEDRAL
The Best way to see the Duomo Rooftops is by Booking any one of these 5 tickets here:
Milan Cathedral Rooftop Only
1 | To go straight to the Rooftop of Milan Cathedral, and no access to the Duomo and other areas, SELECT THIS option. When booking, choose if you want to take the lift to the rooftop or the stairs.
No waiting in line! Fast-track tickets
2 | This combo fast-track ticket is the best value option. Especially so if this is your first time to Milan Cathedral.
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 rooftop by elevator. The ticket includes access to the Archaeological area and the Museo del Duomo which you can explore at your own pace, after the guided tour or with a guide.
Milan Cathedral Only
3 | If you want to see the inside of Milan Cathedral only, with no Rooftop access and other areas, then THIS OPTION is the one for you.
4 | While a guided tour is encouraged, it is possible to explore Milan Cathedral, the Rooftop, Archaeological site and Museum at your own pace by yourself with an audio guide. If you want to do this, BOOK THIS OPTION OF MILAN CATHEDRAL + ROOFTOP WITH AN AUDIO GUIDE. This ticket is valid for three consecutive days, giving you plenty of time to amble through the spires, marvel at the splendour inside and learn all about the Cathedral’s 600-year history.
MILAN PASS: Can it be used for Milan Terraces?
Yes, it can! Milan Pass or Milano Card holders can get admission to Milan Cathedral and the Duomo Rooftop for free. In addition, the Milan Pass is a really good ticket to free tours and free transportation. It includes:
- 8 more of Milan’s most popular attractions including the La Scala Museum;
- 7 free tour experiences;
- free public transportion;
- Hop-on hop-off bus tour;
- Map + Milan guidebook.
Purchase your 48 or 72 hours pass online here before you go. It is valid for 200 days. Exchange it for a physical pass at Milan Visitor Centre.
*If you book any one of the above, and you find that your plans have changed at the last minute, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your visit for a full refund.
THE BEST OF MILAN AT SUNSET ON DUOMO TERRACES
An amble through the cathedral spires at sunset is a unique experience to relish at least once in your lifetime. It is one of the most spectacular things to do when in Milan. The experience offers an amazing view over the city, unbelievable emotions and a splendid ‘dialogue’ with history. From the heights of the Cathedral Terraces, you have full view of Milan city, the Dolomites in the distance and the opportunity for many great photos along with unforgettable memories.
I have visited the rooftop more than once and each time I was totally lost in the moment and overcome with a sense of awe. The one experience that I would highly recommend when you visit Milan is to catch the sunset from the terraces of the Duomo.
Take a quick look at this Instagram reel about one of my rooftop experiences.
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.
Recommended read: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Play the video below to immerse in the atmosphere of the best of Milan — sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo
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 more times than once. Literally spellbinding!
We explored the rooftop via interconnecting stairways. We 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. 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.
THE CHANGING HUES OF THE SUNSET OVER MILAN FROM THE DUOMO TERRACES
No words needed here…have a look at the video below – the changing colours over the City of Milan.
THE BEST OF MILAN: BEAUTIFUL 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 MADONNINA AT DUOMO DI MILANO: 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.
Georgina suggests: The rooftop is at a gradient and can be slippery. Please use appropriate footwear and take care when you climb up.
A REFLECTION OF MY EXPERIENCE ON THE ROOFTOP OF THE DUOMO
The rooftop offers spectacular views over Milan. You will be totally amazed at walking through what seems like never ending paths through a forest of spires and statues of all and every kind that makes the Duomo unique. If there be one thing you do in Milan, and you want it to be the Best of 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.
I was fortunate to experience the rooftop of the Duomo on sunny days in autumn because the day before and day after rained cats and dogs! Plan well and choose your day. Purchase your tickets before visiting.
photos of our sunset experience from the Duomo terraces
IS THE ROOFTOP OF MILAN DUOMO WORTH IT?
I would gladly say, yes. I have not seen a cathedral rooftop that evokes so much emotion. It is probably because of the charming intricate sculptures, perched high above on slender pinnacles, exuding a feeling of power and might look over the city. In addtion, the stunning views of the city, combined with the beauty of the cathedral itself, make for an unforgettable experience. The warm colours of the sunset, reflecting off the surrounding buildings, create a magical ambiance that is difficult to describe in words. Whether you are a traveller or a Milanese, witnessing the sunset from the rooftop of Milan Cathedral is an absolute must-do. The breathtaking views and the peaceful atmosphere will leave you feeling grateful for the moment and the opportunity to witness such a beautiful sight. Experiencing the Duomo terraces at sunset is definitely a life-list activity when in Milan.
ABOUT MILAN CATHEDRAL
Milan Cathedral stands gallantly in the centre of Piazza del Duomo, the heartbeat of the city. The Gothic Cathedral of Milan, famously known as the Duomo di Milano also is an impressive glorious marble structure with slender pinnacles rising everywhere. This behemoth cathedral tells the story of faith, art and architecture spanning over six hundred years. It has been said that the exterior of the Duomo is decorated with 2,245 statues, 135 gargoyles and over 700 statues. Above all, it is the golden Madonnina, that stands high above over Milan which gives this iconic Cathedral its glorious and majestic beauty.
Milan Cathedral is one of the most iconic landmarks in Italy and the third largest church in the world. The gigantic attraction draws thousands of visitors annually to its marvellous architecture and offers a glimpse into Milan’s history and culture.
The inside of Milan Cathedral is impressive and it is worth seeing it. From stunning marble floors, towering marble columns and vaulted ceilings to beautiful stained glass windows, and paintings, with rich history at every corner. Visiting the inside of Milan Cathedral will leave you in awe and wonder at the sheer grandeur of this iconic cathedral.
For a detailed guide to the inside of this grand landmark in Milan, go here for the highlights and the unmissable features to look out for when you visit Milan Cathedral.
Recommended read: Milan Cathedral: How to make the best of your visit.
TIP: Most visitors to Milan find it worthwhile to combine visits to a couple of places with a tour guide. This is especially the case when a visit to Leonardo’s The Last Supper is one their itinerary to Milan. With a tour booked in advance, they are assured of a ticket to see The Last Supper painting at the Santa Maria delle Grazie.
It is a good idea to save time and money by combining two tours in half a day. This particular guided tour combines a walking tour, a visit to Leonardo’s The Last Supper and Milan Cathedral. If this is something you would like to do, take a look at this experience and book in advance of your travel.
Recommended read: A guide to Leonardo’s The Last Supper painting and how to see it.
TIPS AND INFO FOR YOUR VISIT TO THE DUOMO DI MILANO
What time of day is best for the Duomo?
Based on my experiences at Milan Cathedral, I would suggest anytime from 3 p.m. The crowd is less at this time and you don’t have to navigate other visitors to get some nice photos. Also, around 3ish, there is hardly anyone queuing up to see the Archaeological site. After your visit to the inside of the Duomo, the Archaeological site and the Crypt, you can make your way to the Duomo Museum before heading to the terraces, for the sunset.
How to access the rooftops of the Duomo
Ensure you have your ticket ready. There are two ways to get to the rooftop – by stairs or an elevator. If you do the Fast-track or the Skip-the-line option, you can take the elevator.
The stairs are located on the south side of the cathedral. A walk up is not strenuous but the stairs are steep and narrow. There are about 250 steps and this may take anything between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on your fitness level.
If you want to save some time, I’d suggest that you opt for the lift as it takes you to the first level of the rooftop in split seconds.
You will find that there is a queue to the rooftops, regardless of whether you are on the Skip-the-line track or not. When I visited there was only one line and it was not a very long queue but I had to wait fifteen minutes or so. It was understandable under the circumstances as there is only one operable lift, taking about six people at a time.
Schedule at least 1 to 1.5 hours to really enjoy the rooftop experience.
There are about 20 options or ways in which you could experience the Duomo di Milano. I have listed the very best options earlier in this article above, but you can take a look at all the options > here
Reserve well ahead of time so you do miss out on this amazing experience. A limited number of visitors are admitted to the sunset rooftop experience as well as the Baptistery inside the Cathedral.
The Cathedral and the Rooftop is open Everyday.
Cathedral: – 8 am to 7 pm | Rooftop: – 9 am to 7pm | Last entry is at 6 pm.
Dress Code for Milan Cathedral
Milan Cathedral has a strict dress code for everyone. When visiting or entering Milan Cathedral, ensure you are dressed in a manner where shoulders and knees are covered. This means no shorts even in the summer.
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.
Getting to Milan Cathedral
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.
Best places to stay in Milan and an overview of Milan’s neighbourhoods
When it comes to accommodations, my go to place has always been booking dot com. I use them for all of my hotel and aparthotel bookings. Find the perfect hotel room in booking .com with flexible dates and last-minute cancellations. There are 3314 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 beautiful places in Milan – hotels and aparthotels according to neighbourhoods best suited to you.
finally…on the best of Milan, sunset from the Duomo
After experiencing the sunset on the rooftop of Milan Cathedral, it is safe to say that it is one of the best ways to end a day in Milan.
The Milan Cathedral rooftop sunset is a truly remarkable experience and indeed, the best of Milan that should not be missed by anyone visiting or living in Milan.
Have a lovely time experiencing the sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo!
Before you go, take a look at some of my other articles about Milan and the northern region of Italy. These are in-depth articles full of information and tips to guide travellers to explore a destination.
While Milan Cathedral is generally regarded as the highlight of the city, there are so many delightful places to visit. You can visit several places in a day alongside the Milan Cathedral as these are located close to each other. I have written a number of articles about places to visit in Milan which may help you explore yourself and design your itinerary. Take a look:
When visiting Milan, it is really nice to include a couple of destinations near Milan. Bologna, with less than 2 hours by train makes an ideal getaway from Milan. Go here to discover all the amazing things to do in Bologna. Verona is another destination to your itinerary. Go here for my complete guide to Verona which includes some wonderful things to do besides Juliet’s balcony. Go here to my travel page about Verona or you can take a quick look at some of our best read articles about this city. Here are some articles about Verona which you may like to read also:
The Italian Lakes region is another beautiful destination in the northern region of Italy. You can explore Lake Como in a day from Milan but to fully appreciate this paradise, you really need to spend a few days. If you can allocate more time, I recommend that you explore some of the best towns in Lake Como which are worth your time. You can also find the best ways to travel around Lake Como with or without a car to help you figure out how best to explore.
Lake Garda is one of the prettiest places in Italy to visit and is not too far from Milan. Take a look at the following articles and see if you can fit in a visit to this pretty lake.
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The Best of Milan – Sunset on the rooftop of the Duomo was first published at timelesstravelsteps.com and is regularly edited & updated. The last update was on May 3, 2023
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