The Duomo di Milano is one of the most famous buildings in Europe. It is a particularly large and elaborate Gothic Cathedral (Duomo ) on the main square in the center of the city of Milan, Italy. Milan's Duomo is the second largest Roman Catholic cathedral: only the cathedral of Seville is larger (as is Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, which is not a cathedral). It is 157 meters long and a total of 40,000 people can fit comfortably within. The great windows of the choir were reputed to be the largest in the world.
The street plan of Milan, with streets either radiating from the Duomo or circling it, reveals that the Duomo occupies the most important site in Roman Mediolanum, that of the public basilica facing the forum. Saint Ambrose's 'New Basilica' was built on this site at the beginning of the 5th century, with an adjoining basilica added in 836. When fire damaged both buildings in 1075, they were rebuilt as the Duomo.
In 1386 the archbishop, Antonio da Saluzzo, began the new project, in a rayonnant Late Gothic style that is more characteristic of France than Italy. This coincided with the archbishop's cousin Gian Galeazzo Visconti's accession to power in Milan, and was meant as a form of reward to the noble and working classes which had been suppressed by his tyrannical Visconti predecessor Barnabo. Before the actual work began, three main buildings were demolished: the palace of the Archbishop, the Ordinari Palace and the Baptistry of 'St. Stephen at the Spring', while the old church of Sta. Maria Maggiore was exploited as a stone quarry.
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