Aspire to greater heights amidst dreaming spires.
It looks as if it was spun out of icing sugar. It’s the fourth largest Catholic church in the world (after Rome, Seville and a new upstart in the Côte d’Ivoire). It has 3,500 statues and 135 spires. Best of all, it has a lift which takes you up to the roof so you can walk amongst them. Milan's duomo (cathedral) is, without doubt, one of the greatest cathedrals in the world, a soaring hymn of praise in white marble conceived by the Visconti family in 1386 and only completed 500 years later, when the great bronze doors were hung in 1966. Travellers and writers from Shelley and Tennyson to Mark Twain have been enraptured by the building that is large enough to hold 40,000, and yet still be graceful and delicate. Look up high for the small gold statue of La Madonnina (the little Madonna), the protector of the city.
Inside, in the north transept, is an altogether more gruesome statue of the flayed St Bartholomew, holding his skin. The crucifix supposedly contains a nail from Christ’s crucifix. In the crypt are remnants of the original 4th-century Christian church, the first to stand on the spot, said to be where St Ambrose christened St Augustine.