After a €12-million restoration, the museum of Milan’s iconic cathedral has re-opened to the public.
The exhibit’s 27 rooms cover a total of over 2,000 square metres in the Royal Palace, telling the fascinating history of the Duomo since building started in 1386, work which was not to finish until 1965.
It includes marble statues, gargoyles, friezes, capitals, windows and sacred fittings, as well as its half-million archive files; these are being digitalised and should be available on line to researchers within another two years.
Italy’s largest cathedral – and the fifth largest in the world – was built in a number of sometimes contrasting styles, employing almost 80 architects and engineers over several centuries.
“Milan has retaken possession of its history,” said Prof Angelo Caloia, president of the Veneranda Fabbrica which since 1397 has been the organisation in charge of building and maintaining the cathedral. “This is a great gift which we are proud to offer today to the city of the Expo. This moment which the Veneranda Fabbrica is sharing with the city stands for welcoming, opening to the world, to create a network of relations with the millions of visitors we are expecting, speaking the language of our children, to continue to write the never-ending history of Milan and its Duomo.”
Mayor Giuliano Pisapia, attending the opening ceremony, said: “The results of the restoration of the museum have gone well beyond the most optimistic expectations. This new exhibition space is a great gift for all Milanese in the run-up to the Expo.”