The pink veined marble of the cathedral facade glows in the early evening light. Started in 1386 and not finally completed until 1965, the underlying structure of the Duomo di Milano is almost hidden under a forest of up-rushing spires and pinacles.
Architectural critics have found many faults with the cathedral over the centuries, as fashions in architecture have come and gone, but to this casual observer the overall impression is surprisingly coherent with a lightness that belies the building’s massive bulk.
From Wikipedia I’ve learnt that both Oscar Wilde and John Ruskin hated the cathedral but Mark Twain in Innocents Abroad waxed lyrical in its praise.
What a wonder it is! 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!… The central one of its five great doors is bordered with a bas-relief of birds and fruits and beasts and insects, which have been so ingeniously carved out of the marble that they seem like living creatures– and the figures are so numerous and the design so complex, that one might study it a week without exhausting its interest.
I’m with Mark Twain on this one, but I missed the birds and insects. I’ll have to go back for another look!
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