Best Time to Visit Duomo Milan (and when to avoid!)

June 18, 2024

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The Duomo, Milan’s iconic cathedral, is undoubtedly the city’s most famous landmark and is completely worth visiting Milan just to see it! Whether you’re visiting as a tourist or a new Milanese local, it’s likely the first place you’ll want to see.

However, the piazza in front of the Duomo can often get very crowded, which can be ruin your visit. In this post, I’ll share tips on the best times to visit the Duomo to avoid the crowds, so you can have the best experience!

When visiting this iconic cathedral, check out our Duomo Milan Dress Code guide because the security is strict! Don’t risk being turned away at the entrance.

You may be interested in our two days in Milan itinerary and our one day in Venice itinerary. And, don’t forget to download these best apps for Italy.

In this article, we’ll share the inside scoop on the best times to visit Milan Duomo, its hours for different sections, and when to avoid going.

First, here are the best ticket deals for the Milan Duomo: (yes, you should buy in advance to skip the line!)

The Milan Duomo rooftop terrances are magnificent! It blew us away and we’re so grateful we went at one of the best times to visit Duomo Milan. More on that below.

Best Time to Visit Duomo Milan #1 – Early in the Morning to avoid crowds

Visiting the Duomo early in the morning is beneficial for two main reasons:

  1. Fewer People: Mornings generally see fewer visitors compared to the afternoons.

  2. Beautiful Sunrise Views: The sun rises behind the Duomo, providing a stunning view if the sky is clear.

Even if you’re just spending three days in Milan, I highly recommend visiting the Duomo in the early morning (we loved the Milan Duomo so much, we visited all 3 days). Not only will the piazza be less crowded, but the lines for tickets to enter and access the terraces will also be shorter. Buy tickets in advance from my links above for the best rate.

Sunday Mornings: Sundays are usually quieter, but be aware that due to religious services, some parts of the cathedral, like the area with the replica of the Madonnina, are closed to the public. If you’re only in Milan for the weekend, consider visiting on a Saturday morning to see everything.

Of course, if you’re only in Milan for a few days in August (when many Italians take their vacations for the entire month), there’s no guarantee the piazza will be empty, even at these recommended times.

If you love the Milan Duomo, you’ll also love visiting the Florence Duomo (both Duomos are very unique, different, and stunning)! Save our our guides to places to visit in Florence, and the best day of the week to visit Florence. You may also be interested in the Florence Duomo dress code.

Best Time to Visit Milan Duomo #2 – At Night to Avoid Crowds

Nighttime is another great option to avoid crowds. If you prefer evenings, visiting after 5 PM can be pleasant, and the crowds start to thin out.

If you just want to see the outside of the Duomo Milan, in the winter, the piazza empties around 11 PM. If you can brave the cold, you might feel like you have the city to yourself. In summer, people stay out later due to the pleasant weather. A good strategy is to visit the piazza after a night out, between 2 AM and 6 AM, when it’s almost deserted. The Duomo and the adjacent Galleria look magnificent when illuminated at night.

Best Time to Visit Duomo Milan #3 – During Christmas Time

If you’re lucky enough to visit Milan during the holidays, you’ll love seeing the Duomo di Milano with the Christmas tree in front of it. It’s a beautiful sight!

Follow the earlier mentioned times for the best experience. The festive decorations add a special charm to the Duomo.

Milan is considered to be Italy’s fashion capital, and here are the best places to shop.

Best Time to Visit Milan Duomo #4 – For Pleasant Weather

Check out our Milan in 2 days itinerary for stunning places to visit after Duomo di Milano!

Spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) offer the most comfortable temperatures. These shoulder times are considered to be the best time to visit Italy.

Avoid the summer months (June-August) if you can as it can be very hot, especially in the afternoon.

Best deal for Guided Tour Tickets of Milan Duomo with Fast Track (expert guide + elevator ride to rooftop terraces + skip-the-line + 24 hours free cancellation). We recommend this one!

Best deal for Milan Duomo Tickets (no guide, choose the elevator ride option. fyi, there’s nothing to see in the stairs itself)

Best Time to Visit Duomo Milan #5 – At Sunset on the Terraces for Golden Hour

Although contrary to the advice of avoiding crowds, watching the sunset from the terraces of the Duomo is a breathtaking experience. Late afternoon offers beautiful light for taking photos, with the marble glowing orange and pink.

The sun sets facing the Duomo, offering a spectacular view over the city. This is best done in fall, winter, or spring when the opening hours align with sunset. Try to visit on a weekday to reduce wait times.

Times to Avoid Duomo di Milano

As someone who prefers more peaceful visits without crowds, there are certain times when it’s best to steer clear of the Duomo di Milano:

  • Weekends (Especially Afternoons): Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest times, with large crowds and creating a sea of people.

  • Summer Afternoons: The sunny weather attracts even more people, making it particularly crowded.

  • Demonstrations or Peaceful Protests: Check for any demonstrations scheduled during your visit, as the Piazza del Duomo is a central spot for such events. Most protests are peaceful, however it can get crowded.

Duomo Milan Opening Hours

Duomo Milan Opening HoursTIMINGS
Monday8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Tuesday (Today)8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Wednesday8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Thursday8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Friday8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Saturday8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sunday8:00 am – 7:00 pm

Duomo: 8 AM to 7 PM
Duomo Terraces and RoofTop: 9 AM to 7 PM
Last admission: 6:10 PM
Closed: The Duomo Milan cathedral, Archaeological Area, and the Duomo rooftops are open daily, while the Duomo Museum remains closed on Mondays.

Final Thoughts: Best Time to Visit Duomo Milan

I hope these tips help you enjoy your visit to the Duomo. Remember to book Milan Duomo Tickets for Fast Track and read our Milan Duomo Dress Code guide to learn what you can wear and can’t wear.

If you’re visiting Teatro alla Scala (Milan’s Opera house), also check out our Alla Scala dress code guide.

The Milan Cathedral is a magnificent monument, and with the right timing, you can have a magical (and even spiritual) experience without the frustration of overcrowding.

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