The magnificent Milanese Duomo – the huge Gothic cathedral and seat of the Catholic Bishop of Milan dedicated to the Birth of Mary – is the largest church in Italy, the fifth largest in the world, and took nearly 6 centuries to complete. After Mark Twain visited the Duomo in 1867 he wrote of it that it was “…So grand, so solemn, so vast! And yet so delicate, so airy, so graceful! A very world of solid weight, and yet it seems ...a delusion of frostwork that might vanish with a breath!... They say that the Cathedral of Milan is second only to St. Peter's at Rome. I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands.” (ch 18 of Innocents Abroad). Perched on the top of the spire 108.5 metres from the ground is perched a huge statue of the Madonna / Mary known as the Madonnina that looks out over the surrounding streets, shops, restaurants and piazzas.
The Duomo is the cultural, historical, touristic heart of Milan with other nearby attractions including the La Scala Theatre - just 300metres away (see Hotel Brunelleschi & Hotel Vecchia), and Sforzesco Castle within 1km. For the dedicated followers of fashion amongst you, the chic fashion boutiques of La Moda di Milano is also in this area and just 800 metres from the Duomo. Some great hotels that really help visitors explore this fantastic area near the Duomo as well as the cathedral itself include:
Galileo Hotel Milan - Recently renovated is just off Piazza Duomo and next to Via del Corso – one of the best shopping areas of Milan. Complete with reception hall, business facilities, gym and spa centre, this luxurious hotel offers FREE WI-FI, air conditioned rooms offering every modern comfort.
Hotel Brunelleschi - Right by the famous Teatro La Scala, this choice hotel has its own renowned restaurant, large business meeting rooms and 128 fine guest rooms.
Hotel Romana Residence - Offering 66 spacious luxury rooms with free Wi-Fi, this 4 star hotel is just 500 metres from the Duomo and is situated at the very heart of old Milan.
Hotel Vecchia Milan - A charming & tranquil oasis, this hotel is a clean and tasteful accommodation in an area with quaint antique stores and art galleries. Close to the boutiques, Duomo and more, it is a great base camp.
Hotel Rio - Just around the corner from the Duomo, this 3 star hotel offers 42 rooms, many of which enjoy balconies with views over the fashion boutiques of Milan.