Something that doesn’t stop to amaze me is how many humongous churches they have built in Italy. It is no wonder that it is the center of the Catholic Church considering that the Vatican City in Rome is home to the highest priest of the church, the Pope. The Milan Cathedral is located in the city of Milan, Italy and is a church dedicated to Saint Mary of the Nativity. It is also the residence of the Archbishop of Milan. It is also the largest church in Italy, not counting the Saint Peter’s Basilica which is in the Vatican City. It is the 5th largest church in the whole world.
The design of the church is Gothic, with so many intricate details both inside and outside. The cathedral took nearly 600 years or six centuries to complete. It is actually a combination of different churches and chapels joined together to form one big church. There was even an underground section which was used as a baptistery, which still functions to this very day.
The chief engineer who designed the cathedral was the Frenchman Nicolas de Bonaventure. In the 1500’s it was Ludivico Sforza who took over the construction, by then it was about 50% completed. In between the generations there were a lot of times when work had to be stopped due to war and other conditions disallowing the continuance of the construction. By the 17th Century, foundations for the new facade were in place. This time the design of the church was turning into the Renaissance period art prevalent during those times. This explains why there are so many different styles used in the construction, yet they all came pretty well in the final design.
That’s the beauty of the Baroque style of architecture. You can incorporate any elements you can, even make things up as you go along. As long as it ties well with the overall design, then it will definitely work out just fine. In 1649, the new architect Carlo Buzzi wanted to revert to the original Gothic design. Others who contributed to the design were Filippo Juvarra (1733), Luigi Vanvitelli (1745).
When I visited the church, I was immediately awe-struck by the sheer height of the doorway arches and the towers that stood above the doorway were as tall as the church walls. The scale was so grand you would think this was a royal palace and not a church.