The Worksites of Milan Duomo

The never-ending Fabbrica

The secular history of the Cathedral flourished as a result of the work within a construction site that has managed to come through a very long period unscathed, almost miraculously.

Patent letters by Gian Galeazzo Visconti (24 ottobre 1387)Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

Since 1387, the year of its foundation, the Veneranda Fabbrica has been in charge of the entire supply chain for marble, and involved in the construction, conservation, and maintenance of the Duomo.

It was the Lord of Milan, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, who granted the Veneranda Fabbrica the use of the marble and serizzo granite present within Visconti territory near Lake Maggiore, exempting it from the payment of duties.

The main Candoglia Quarry (2017)Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The Candoglia Quarry

The marble extraction process still takes place today at the Candoglia Quarry, within the municipality of Mergozzo at the mouth of the Ossola Valley, to the left of the river Toce. The white-and-pinkish-grey marble, the cathedral's unmistakably distinctive feature, gives the monument shades and styles that are unique worldwide, as well as an incomparable range of colors.

View of the Marble WorkshopVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The marble-workers' workshop

Highly skilled sculptor-decorators and artisans work on the marble originating from the Candoglia quarry within the marble-workers' workshop, the cathedral Fabbrica's laboratory located in Milan, within the Certosa district; this is where the blocks become sculptures, and architectural and decorative elements intended to replace deteriorated parts removed from the monument.

Historical view of the Marble Workshop (1960s)Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

A crucible of arts and crafts, the marble-workers' workshop was initially, and until the 15th century, situated near the cathedral, where the craftsmen and workers engaged in construction could operate in close proximity to the monument.

Pyramidine and falconatura decorationsVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

Following the closure of the Santo Stefano Basin in 1886, the laboratories relocated to via S. Gerolamo, present-day via Carducci, within the circle of inner canals, in order to make use of the waterways for the transportation of materials.

Marble Workshop, detailVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

After the canals were covered over, the workshop was moved to two other sites: first to Viale Gorizia, on the dock, and finally into the Certosa district, where it is still fully operational.

Scaffolding and flying buttressesVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The cathedral worksite

At the cathedral, the Fabbrica's craftsmen are tasked on a daily basis with the important activities of maintenance, conservation, restoration, and care of the monument, so that it is accessible to the faithful and to visitors in complete safety. The high scaffolding, inside and outside the monument, restores the image of a working cathedral: like a marble flower, it unfolds before our eyes.

Main Rooftop worksiteVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

A view of scaffoldings and marble pieces on restoration.

Work on the restoration of the tiburio by Ponteggi per il restauro del tiburioVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

Among the greatest challenges of the past few years: the scaffolding above the high altar for the restoration of the lantern, the cupola located at the intersection between the Cathedral's transept and central nave.

ScaffoldingVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

Scaffolding in front of the Aquilonare SacristyVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The restoration of the northern Sacristy, which was completed at the end of 2021, is also of great importance.

Scaffolding and stained-glass windowsVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The restoration of some of the oldest stained-glass windows within the cathedral: the window V25 dedicated to Saint John Damascene, the window V26 dedicated to the life of Saint Charles Borromeo, and the windows within the first few spans along the southern side V01-V02-V03-V04.

Southern organ towards the presbyteryVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The Organ of the Duomo

15.800 pipes, five organ case, five consoles, the Duomo organ is the largest  in Italy and among the biggest in the world.

Main SpireVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The worksite outside the lantern also continues, a structural intervention involving the most deteriorated marble components.

Decorative details and scaffoldingVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The worksite of Gugliotto Vandoni (post 1876, ante 1880) by Icilio CalzolariVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The Cathedral has been forged by the many hands that have cared for the Candoglia marble over the centuries.

Scaffolding and flying buttressesVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

Characters within a story lasting over 600 years and destined to continue.

Spires and falconaturaVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

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