Stunning views from the roof of Milan’s Duomo

Milan's Duomo, Italy

Milan’s Duomo, with the golden Madonnina that is the symbol of the city

I was very happy to get back to Milan recently – a city where I lived almost two decades ago.

One of the things I used to do when friends visited me in Milan was to take them to the roof of Milan’s Duomo – the cathedral. From there, there are beautiful views over the city and – on rare, clear days in Lombardy’s capital – out to the mountains in the distance.

Lots of things have changed since my time living in Milan, including the packed lines to buy a ticket for the Duomo and its roof. We wasted a lot of time waiting at this inefficient sales point, so next time I’ll look for ways to purchase online in advance.

Milan's Duomo, ItalyBecause it was December, the higher terrace level was closed due to ice, so we visited the church first, then walked around the city center until the ice – luckily – melted, and we could climb up to the very top.

And a climb it is – 500 steps, to be precise. Of course, you can also buy the elevator tickets, but what’s the fun of that?

Unfortunately, my youngest son, who is the one who sprints up every bell tower, cathedral, watch tower, etc was in his hotel bed with the flu, and missed this adventure. He already told me I need to get him back so he can climb up, so this probably means I’ll be hiking up these 500 stairs again sometime soon.

Milan's Duomo, ItalyIt’s well worth the effort. The view is how I remember it, although the crowds were much bigger than they were decades ago, and I also had the feeling there were more guard rails than when I visited last.

This was certainly an improvement, as I can recall very cautiously exploring the roof in the past. I have no idea how people scared of heights coped back then.

It was a cold but clear day when we were there, but, sadly, no views of the mountains beyond Milan. Still, the hike up, and the views over Milan were as beautiful as I remember them from so many years ago. And with my younger son still grumbling that his fever kept him from seeing anything in the city, I know I’ll have an excuse to get back again soon! Happy urban hiking when you’re next in Milano…

Milan's Duomo, Italy

Milan's Duomo, Italy


  1. Claire 'Word by Word' on January 16, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Amazing what blue skies can do to enhance the day. Beautiful pics. Happy New Year Kimberly!

    • kimberlysullivan on January 20, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Haha! Especially for Milan. Winters are grey and foggy, so I know what a lucky exception it was to have those dazzling blue skies!

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