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Visiting the Milan Duomo: Tickets + Tips [2021]

Visiting the Milan Duomo: Tickets + Tips [2021]

Planning to visit the Duomo in Milan? Check out this comprehensive guide- it includes the best skip the line Milan Duomo tickets.

Milan is often overlooked in favor of Florence, Rome, and Venice, and while I can agree that it might not be as unique as these other Italian destinations, it definitely deserves a visit and a spot in your Italy itinerary.

Maybe you’re on a packed Northern Italy road trip or on a 2 weeks in Italy itinerary! If you have limited time in Milan, my advice would be to try and visit the Duomo, La Scala Theater, and see The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci. Finish then your visit with an aperitivo (happy hour) in the Navigli area. Voilà – you’ve got a mini Milan itinerary ready!

Today though, I want to talk to you in detail about visiting the Duomo Milan, how to plan your visit, and what are the best tours and tickets to the Milan Duomo to skip the line.

A Short Introduction to the Duomo in Milan

Fun fact: many people believer that St. Peter’s in Rome is the largest church in Italy, and while yes, the Vatican is very much part of Italy, it’s technically not on Italian grounds, so the record goes to… the Duomo of Milan! The Milan Cathedral is in fact imposing.

But that’s not the only record of this Cathedral. Just to give you some numbers: the Duomo Cathedral is the third largest church in Europe after St. Peter’s Basilica and the Cathedral in Seville, and the 4th largest in the entire world! The Duomo Milan is also the largest Gothic church in the world.

One last fun fact as I don’t want to bore you: the Milano Cathedral features more statues (3400+) that any other building in the world, and it has more gargoyles (135) than Notre Dame in Paris!

Construction of the Milan Cathedral in Italy started as early as 1386, commission by the Duke of Milan Gian Galeazzo Visconti. But it took over 600 (!!) years for the construction to be finished – it was Napoleon who finally finished the facade in the 19th century. The church is definitely Gothic, but you can see various styles mixed together as it took so many years for the Cathedral to be built. The Cathedral is made of a white and pinkish marble, which becomes even more beautiful at sunset time.

When you visit the Duomo, you’ll want to admire the facade from the outside, see the stunning Milan Cathedral interior and – my favorite part – climb up to the top of the Duomo rooftop where you’ll be able to walk surrounded by gargoyles and pinnacles. Incredible.

Before Visiting Milan Duomo

Duomo Milan Opening Hours

The Duomo Cathedral is open daily from 8 AM to 7 PM, with last admission one hour before closing time. However, the Duomo Terraces open later, from 9 AM to 7 PM daily (last admission one hour before closing time).

If you’re planning to visit both and don’t mind getting up early, I suggest visiting the Cathedral right when it opens at 8 AM, so you’ll be able to line up for the Terraces before 9 AM and you’ll be one of the first ones to go up.

How to Get to the Duomo in Milan

 The metro station Duomo is serviced by the 1 and 3 metro lines and the trains arrive and depart very regularly. There are also several tram lines that go to the nearby stops of Torino (Duomo) – serviced by trams 2,3,14, the other stop is Dogana (Duomo) – Serviced by tram 24. 

Is it Free to Visit the Duomo of Milan?

This is pretty confusing for a ton of visitors, as some websites will list the Duomo Milan as free to visit. It used to be free, but things have changed over the last few years.

Technically, the Cathedral is free as a place of worship. If you are going to the Duomo to pray or attend a mass, you won’t need to buy an entrance ticket.

However, if you’re planning to visit as a tourist and you want to take pictures, you’ll have to buy an entrance ticket. If you are looking to visit the Duomo Terraces, you’ll have to buy another ticket or a combo ticket that grants access to both.

The Best Milan Duomo Tickets & Tours

I want to spend hours of my precious vacation time queuing up… said no one ever. Milan might not be as popular as Florence, Rome or Venice, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to wait in line at the Duomo unless you plan your visit in advance! Especially if you’re visiting Milan during high season or in the weekend, you might find pretty long queues at the ticket booth. But luckily you can wave bye bye to everyone waiting in line and go straight to the entrance if you buy your tickets or book a Milan Duomo tour in advance.

I personally use GetYourGuide whenever I want to book a tour or ticket anywhere in the world rather than using the official sites. This platform not only lists very high-quality tours and activities, but offers a 24-hour cancellation policy (you can cancel up to 24 hours before the tour).

With the current situation this is more important than ever, and it allows you to plan your trip without worries. I trust this company, so you’ll find options from their platform on this post.

These below are in my opinion the 3 best options, but let’s see them in detail.

Duomo di Milano Tickets (Self- Guided Visit)

It is possible to buy Duomo Milan tickets directly at the ticket booth, but I don’t recommend it because of the queues. You can easily skip the ticket line by buying your entrance tickets in advance.

➤ You can buy your entrance ticket to the Cathedral and Duomo Terraces here. It also includes access to the Church of St. Gottardo and the Archaeological area, and an audio guide if you select that option when you book your ticket.

➤ If you’re only interested in visiting the Terraces, you can buy a Milan Duomo Rooftop ticket with no church access. If you have time though, I recommend visiting both the Cathedral and the Duomo di Milano roof – you won’t regret it!

Best Tours to the Milan Duomo

The Fast-Track Milan Cathedral and Terraces Guided Tour is the highest rated tour on Get Your Guide and a real safe choice. On this tour you’ll get to skip the ticket lines and visit the Cathedral led by an expert guide, before heading to the Terraces by elevator. Finish the experience by visiting the Duomo Museum and the Archaeological area.

➤ If you prefer a private tour, check out this private fast-track Duomo Milan tour to the cathedral and terraces. It’s pricier, of course, but you’ll get skip-the-ticket-line access and an official, dedicated guide for your group that’ll be able to answer as many questions as you’d like.

➤ If you have limited time, you can also check out this tour to just the cathedral or this one just to the rooftop. Both tours allow you to skip the lines which will save you considerable time. If you have to choose, I would honestly choose visiting the terraces, but of course it’s up to personal taste.

Combo Tickets: Milan Duomo + Other Milan Attractions

Unless you have just a short layover in Milan, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to see more than just the Milan Duomo while you’re in town. Am I right? If that’s your case, you might want to look into a combo ticket or a full day tour that include access to multiple of the main attraction in Milan.

➤ The Best of Milan Tour is a small group tour which includes skip-the-line access at both Milan Duomo and Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’. Not only, you’ll get  15-minute private viewing of ‘The Last Supper’, for just your group – say bye to the crowds! Please note that this tour includes access to the Duomo Cathedral but not the Terraces.

Save Time & Money with the 48-Hour Milan Pass

Spending two days in Milan or more? Then you should check out this 48-hour Milan Pass.

This pass includes access to a multitude of attractions and activities for a one-time fee, and if you plan your visit well and take advantage of the pass, you can save a ton of money.

Included in the pass you’ll find some of the most important attractions such as:

  • Access to the Duomo Cathedral Rooftop terraces (by lift)
  • La Scala Museum and Theatre
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Ticket
  • 48-hour ATM public transport ticket & more.

What to Visit at Duomo Milan

The Duomo of Milan is not your regular church, as there are different areas you can (and should!) visit. Let’s see them.

Visit the Milan Cathedral – Inside & Facade

First of all, stop outside the Duomo and admire its stunning facade with its pinnacles and spires. If you know a little bit about art, you’ll be able to see that while the lower part is built in Renaissance style, the upper part, that was built later on, is in Gothic style. The Milan Cathedral doors were sculpted in the 19th century and feature stories from the life of Mary.

It’s hard not to be left with your mouth hanging open when you enter the Duomo Cathedral in Milan. The Cathedral is massive, and this feeling of grandeur inside the Duomo is exacerbated by the extremely high ceilings and the 5 long naves.

The Duomo Milan interior is elegant, with its stained glass windows and large marble columns. On the walls you’ll find paintings depicting Christian scenes and statues. Make sure to also look for the statue of St. Bartholomew the Apostle.

When you enter from the main entrance, look down. On the floor you’ll find a sundial, which works with a ray of sunlight coming from a hole on the opposite wall. It’s incredibly precise, so it’s the right occasion to set your watch.

In the dome behind the altar, look for a red light bulb which marks the spot where one of the nails used for the Crucifixion of Christ was placed. You won’t be able to see the nail itself, though, as it’s only displayed once a year in September with an intricate ceremony.

Visit the Milan Duomo Rooftop Terraces

Visiting the Duomo Terraces was the highlight of my visit to Milan, and I’ve heard many other travelers saying the same thing. It’s just a completely different experience! You’ll find yourself walking surrounded by pinnacles, spires and gargoyles and some incredibly elaborate stone carvings. There are over 3000 sculptures and spires decorating the terraces!

You can go up to the rooftop terraces either by taking the stairs or the elevator. Keep this in mind when buying your ticket since going up by elevator costs a little bit more and you’ll have to buy a different ticket.

The stairs are made of 250 steps, and it’s a pretty nice climb. On your way up you’ll already enjoy some great views, which allows you to take a break and a photo or two before you keep going up. I’d say that the climb isn’t very challenging but if you are claustrophobic or have difficulties walking, you should take the elevator.

From the top, you’ll find great views over the Piazza del Duomo, one of the most stunning squares in Italy. And when the sky is clear, you can even see the Alps with their snow-capped cones in the distance. How beautiful!

When you’re up here, make sure to also check the Madonnina, a golden statue of the Virgin Mary which is the symbol of Milan and is popularly known as the protector of the city. It’s placed on the highest spire of Milan Duomo, and the best place to see it is from the Terraces.

This 4-meter tall statue used to be the highest point of Milan, but then buildings higher than the Duomo were built in Milan and it has since lost this record. That’s why a replica of the Madonnina has been built on the top of a few skyscrapers in Milan, so that the Virgin Mary can keep protecting over the city.

Duomo Museum & Archaeological Area

Once you’re done visiting the Cathedral and the Terraces, don’t leave yet. If you’ve bought a combo ticket, you’ll also have access to the Duomo Museum, the Archaeological area, and the Church of San Gottardo in Corte.

The Duomo Museum in Milan, located right in front of the Duomo, is where you can learn more about the history of the Duomo. Here you’ll find over 200 pieces such as statues, terracotta models, paintings and tapestries.

You’ll also find an Archaeological area underneath the Cathedral itself. In fact, as you can imagine, quite a few buildings had to be demolished in order to start the construction of this enormous church. Visiting the archaeological area will give you a fascinating insight into the past of the city of 600+ years ago.

The Church of San Gottardo in Corte is right next the Museum and deserves a quick visit if you have time. Its bell tower is beautiful!

Tips for Visiting the Duomo Milan

Accessibility: The Duomo is accessible to wheelchair users, although some areas inside the Cathedral cannot be accessed due to stairs. The Terraces are generally accessible to wheelchair users via elevator only up to the first terrace, but they’re currently not accessible due to renovation works.

Visiting Duomo Milan with Children: Kids will generally love a visit to the terraces of the Duomo. Walking on the rooftop and seeing the gargoyles is pretty exciting! However, I would definitely try and skip the lines so they don’t get bored, and buy a ticket with access via elevator. The stairs are narrow and can be dangerous for small children. Keep in mind also that accessing the Terraces with push-chairs is only allowed if folded.

Duomo Milan Dress Code: Please remember that the Duomo is first of all a place of worship. A modest attire is mandatory to be able to enter the Cathedral, which means shoulders and thighs have to be covered. No shorts allowed, although bermuda shorts are generally ok.

If you’re visiting during the summer, bring a scarf so you can cover yourself. I’ve been told that there’s no dress code if you just want to visit the Duomo Milan terrace, but I would err on the side of caution and bring a light scarf anyway.

Please also wear appropriate footwear if you’re visiting the Terraces as the ground can be slippery.

Best Time to Visit the Duomo in Milan: If you haven’t bought a skip the line Duomo Milan ticket in advance, you should try and visit as early as possible in the morning in order to avoid the queues. Especially if you want to visit the Terraces, try and queue at the entrance before 9 AM. The queue goes pretty slow so you really want to make sure you are one of the first ones to get in.

If you’re into photography, though, I recommend visiting right before sunset where the warm light colors everything of orange and pink. Really photogenic!

Frequently Asked Questions

When is Duomo di Milano open?

The Duomo Cathedral is open daily from 8 AM to 7 PM, while the Duomo Terraces are open from 9 AM to 7 PM.

Do you have to pay to go in the Duomo Milan?

It’s free to enter the Duomo in Milan only to pray or to attend a mass. For visiting the Cathedral, you need to buy an entrance ticket, and to visit both the Cathedral and the Terraces you should buy a combo ticket. You can also buy separate Duomo rooftop tickets (with no access to the Cathedral).

How much does it cost to get into the Duomo in Milan in 2020?

At the time of writing, a regular Duomo Cathedral ticket costs 3 euros at the ticket booth for the Cathedral only, 10 euros for the Milan Cathedral roof by stairs, 14 euros by elevator.

Do you need to book Milan Cathedral tickets in advance?

No, you can buy your tickets directly at the ticket booth. However, I do recommend booking your tickets online in advance to skip the line – Milan can get crowded, especially if you’re visiting during the high season.

What’s the best way to see Duomo di Milano?

I recommend making Duomo reservations in advance and visiting the Duomo Milan with a guided tour to learn about its history from an expert guide. Otherwise, consider booking a skip-the-line ticket in advance to avoid the (sometimes long) queues.

Where can I buy Milan Duomo tickets?

You can buy your tickets online in order to skip the queue or at the ticket booth inside Palazzo Reale (right in front of the Duomo, where the Duomo Museum is located).

What do you wear to the Duomo in Milan?

You have to respect the Duomo dress code (modest attire) when visiting the Duomo. Shoulders and thighs have to be covered at all times so avoid short dresses, tank tops and shorts (bermuda shorts for men are usually ok).

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you book something through one of my links I might get a commission, at absolutely no extra cost to you.


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