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The cathedral's uppermost spire, the Tiburio, is crowned by the "Madonnina" - a gold statue of the Virgin Mary which has become a symbol of Milan.
This is the third largest Cathedral in the World after St Peter's in Rome and Seville Cathedral in Spain.
Milan Cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Italy and one of the few in Italy inspired by the northern gothic style - in this case the French rayonnant.
Clad in Carrera marble, it is decorated with some 3,400 statues.
In the crypt are the remains of St. Charles Borromeo.
The effort to construct it was beyond the means of local builders, so foreign experts had to be called in. The detailed minutes of these masters' debates provide one of the few documented insights into the thought processes of medieval builders.
The west facade, begun in the 17th century and completed in the 19th by order of Napolean, features details from Classical architecture.
The cathedral measures 520' x 250', with centrral vaults 148' high. It is in the form of a Latin cross and contains 14,000 square yards of space, enough to accomodate 40,000 worshippers.
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