At the centre of the Piazza del Duomo stands the Duomo di Milano. This cathedral is a genuine Gothic masterpiece with more than 3,500 statues of saints, animals and monsters, and 135 towers stretching towards the heavens. Construction of this immense place of worship took some 600 years and work was still being carried out on the uppermost sections and portals as recently as 1950.
It was Bishop Antonio da Saluzzo who first commissioned the construction of the cathedral in 1386. The building work was a European co-production during the early years, with the project leadership changing hands between French, German and Italian master builders. This inevitably led to delays as they all had different visions for the cathedral’s construction. Around 1400, work began in earnest but the cathedral would take centuries longer to complete.