December 05, 2006

Milan: Duomo under wraps

Milan's cathedral, the ethereal Duomo, is undergoing a facelift, and the spectacular facade is half-hidden behind scaffolding as restoration work, begun over five years ago, continues. Enough of the facade is now visible to tease (torment) you, and it will likely be a long time before the entire front of the Gothic colossus that Mark Twain called "a poem in marble" is fully revealed again. Building restoration is serious business in Italy, and there are no rush jobs.

In researching a travel article on Milan, I tried to get an idea of when the wraps and scaffolds might be removed. The official Duomo Web site was frustrating and unwieldy, and my e-mails to the folks in charge went unanswered.

So I turned to Roberto Peretta, who runs, a must-visit site for anyone planning a trip to Milan. I asked Roberto how much longer he thought the Duomo restoration would continue.

"I think it will be long," he wrote. "In Milan, the saying, 'lungo come la fabbrica del Duomo' -- 'as long as the building of the Duomo' -- means that something never ends."

(For fairly current reports from people recently back from Milan -- and anywhere else -- check out, where millions of travelers share solid tips, tidbits and reviews. When the Duomo's finally unwrapped, somebody on TripAdvisor will let us know.)