Milan Cathedral

The term “Gothic style“, was devised in sixteenth century Italy, as a pejorative description of the (at the time) new art and architecture movement. The style indeed wasn’t too popular in Italy, and until the dawn of the Renaissance, the main architectural style of the Apennine peninsula was Romanesque. The Gothic architecture in Italy was thus always rendered shy and moderate, always flirting with other, more welcomed styles.

Among the rare examples of imported, Gothic architecture is the Duomo of Milan, the Milanese Cathedral of St. Mary of the Nativity and the second largest temple in Italy after the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

The broad basilica is everything but ordinary high Gothic church.  Built over the course of six centuries, it got improved and embellished by every generation of the architects and engineers working on it, with every generation leaving it’s mark. The five naved basilica thus doesn’t show neither the constructive innovations of French Gothic with flying buttresses nor the illusive form of a Gothic church, but rather restrained, well known rectangular bulky structure, covered with undoubtedly Gothic quadripartite ribbed vaults. On the entrance facade of the building, there are clearly visible elements of classical Baroque architecture, the contribution of sixteenth century artisans.

The building is adorned with over 3000 statues, more than any other building in the world, topping every pinnacle. The roof is guarded with the forest of superbly rich openwork and fretted spires, extremely uncommon for Gothic in Italy.

This massive, solemn Lombard Gothic drip castle is undeniably the first to come into mind when thought about the Italian Gothic.

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