Building up a Cathedral
Until the mid-nineteenth century, the Milan clocks were regulated by the Cathedral sundial. A hole in the ceiling caught a ray of light falling on the floor: when the light marked noon this gave a signal so that the bell of the Cordusio, near Piazza Mercanti, sounded. All business activities were regulated on the midday of the Duomo. Perfect since ever for a city like Milan, where activities are intense, people is hard-working and time is never enough! In fact, the time in Milan has an extreme value. We are always in a hurry, managing to be punctual for appointments with great difficulty, because the activities and the frenzy of doing persecute us and crowd our days, both for work and pleasure. Milan always works with incessant rhythms, and this is feasible because one of the main Milanese skills is the ability to fit everything, taking advantage of the days to their fullest.
The Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo was founded in 1387 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, at that time ruler of the city, to oversee the construction of the new cathedral, whose foundation, strongly desidered by the city of Milan, was supported and promoted by Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo. More than 100 years to build it, so that when a job is prolonged in Milan we usually exclaim: 'But then this is the factory of the Duomo!'.
The choice of the marble and the will to achieve a cathedral with a strong connotation of International Gothic did flock to Milan secure experience workers, then after 1415 the site became predominantly Lombard. The Fabbrica was interested that the yard would become school, place of training of the workforce, where to train and develop talents. One aspect that Milan has maintained over time, international openness and professionalism education from all over the world in many sectors.
I have been seeing it since ever with a crystal clear memory of having climbed to the top in one far away last day of school, yet still passing by, is never trivial for me. It is an impressive cathedral - the third in Europe for size- it is beautiful, it is whiter than my skirt - thanks to continuous restoration and cars banned from Corso Vittorio Emanuele, since many years. The Cathedral and its spires that can be glimpsed through the fog in the evening lights give a very romantic vision, and it is gorgeous on a sunny day reflected by Candoglia marble. Like today, an amazing winter day, the kind of day when the Madonnina, placed to dominate Milan one year after the conclusion of the works, is shining with its pure gold leaf coating.
Just as the bracelets on my wrist.
This cathedral has not only represented a huge improvement for a city of that time - and even now - but also for the flow of people, carrying pilgrims or tourists. The yard of the Duomo in Milan was immediately a huge resource for the city: it secured thousands of jobs, it was a place for technological innovation, and import, from every region of Europe, of knowledge and professional skills unknown until then in Lombardy. It forced then to develop the infrastructure such as shipping canals for the transport of marble, which allowed the great commercial takeoff of the city of Milan. So the people of Milan, while building the Duomo, contributed to the economic life and cultural identity of their community.
Antoni Gaudi, architect of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, speaking of his work said: "While I build the Sagrada, I build myself."
Is this not an extensible thought to all of us? While we run industrious and busy we contribute to elevate ourselves, to grow, to evolve and to build the best cathedral of ourselves.