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Milan’s Duomo is truly gigantic and spectacular in a somber way. The sky above Duomo, if you look up from the piazza, is filled with rows of saints guarding it.

The church was smart to let tourists access to the roof.  One can appreciate the scale of the building and all the ornaments on top. Access by elevator costs two more euros and it was a claustrophobic ride.  Once you reach the top, it does not feel like a roof – it’s more like a public square where people lie down to look at the sky and have picnics.

One can examine the gargoyles up close and personal.  The stones are very colorful too. The roof is full of nooks and crannies. I wonder if the church lets people up there at night.

From the top looking down, the piazza is so full of life.  Tourists, churchgoers, vendors, policemen, pigeons, … This side of the piazza is occupied by Palazzo dell’Arengario and Palazzo Reale, both housing separate museums.

Symbols of Italian’s two most revered institutions – shopping for designer’s goods and the Roman Catholic church – share this piazza in the middle of Milan. The church is taller than the arcade as evidenced by this photo – well, spiritualism triumphs over materialism. Thank god.

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