The Marble of the Milan Cathedral

With its streaked veins of pink, white, and gray, and its iridescent reflections, the marble of the Milan Cathedral is a kaleidoscope of colors that fills visitors with a sense of enchanted wonder.

Originating from the Candoglia quarries in Val d’Ossola (Piemonte), the marble slabs were transported from as early as 1387, the year the first stone was laid, until around 1920, along the water network from Lake Maggiore, through the Ticino River, reaching the Naviglio Grande (large canal), and then through the city canals at the current Via Laghetto, at the foot of the Cathedral. The slabs were marked with the initials A.U.F.O (from the Latin "Ad Usum Fabricae Operae") to indicate that they were for the exclusive use of the factory and thus were exempt from taxation.

Today, the marble used for the restoration of the cathedral is extracted from the same quarry that has been dedicated exclusively to this purpose since the beginning. The Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, founded over seven centuries ago for this very reason, continues to be responsible for the extraction, carving, and transportation of the marble needed for restoration. This meticulous and never-ending work has given rise to the Milanese idiomatic expression “fabbrica del Duomo” to describe a laborious, practically endless activity!

It is estimated that the marble of the Cathedral is about 550 million years old, and like other marbles, the Candoglia marble is the result of a long transformation of limestone rock, through the combined effect of extremely high temperatures and the pressure of the Earth's crust, which have given the marble its crystal structure.

The pure white color and the pink and gray shades give this marble a particular brilliance capable of absorbing light and taking on special hues depending on the angle of the sun's rays and the weather. It is no coincidence that the word marble comes from the Greek root meaning “to shine, to glitter”.

Come and discover this extraordinary monument and let yourself be enchanted by its colors and majesty. Walking around the square, you can admire the over 3,000 marble statues that adorn it. Inside, you will be captivated by the pink marble floors inlaid with geometric designs in red broccatello and black marble. And don't forget to climb to the terraces, where, surrounded by marble spires, you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city!

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