Milan gets fourth Madonnina

Milan's fourth Madonnina installed on the Allianz Tower.

An iconic symbol of the city – the gilded bronze statue of Our Lady, or La Madonnina, watching over Milan from the highest point of the Duomo – is one of the sights dearest to milanesi.

Now the city has a new Madonnina because tradition demands that she keep her watch from the highest point in Milan, which is now the roof of the Allianz building.

On Monday 23 November a new statue weighing 145 kg was installed on the Allianz Tower, designed by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, 207 metres high, where she now looks out directly towards the Duomo and her original version which was installed on the cathedral roof in 1774 at 108.5 m.

This is not the first time that architectural progress has required a new Madonnina. Two centuries after the first one was installed on the cathedral, it took a specific law to limit the height of two new skyscrapers – the Branca and Velasca buildings – at 108 m and 106 m respectively.

It was the future Pope Paul VI – at that time Cardinal Montini – who blessed the first copy, installed at 127 m on the Pirelli building in 1960. Five years ago Archbishop Tettamanzi performed the ceremony when the Lombardy regional administration building reached the height of 161 m and a third Madonnina was necessary.

The most recent version is 1.5 m high. It was cast in Nola, in Naples province.