Exterior

The architecture of the Duomo is a masterpiece of harmonic mixture of all the historical periods in which it was built. The various architectural styles (gothic, Renaissance, baroque) are magistrally brought together by the wisdom of the architects and the skill of the artisans that contributed to its construction.

There are three gothic naves, with pointed arches and rib vaults, built in the XIV th century, on which three Renaissance apses open, built between the XVI th and the XVII th century, over which, after many discarded projects, a late-baroque dome designed by Filippo Juvara was erected. Just like Milan’s Duomo the name of the architect of the gothic cathedral is unknown.

The first designer officially credited is Lorenzo degli Spazi, an architect from Val d’Intelvi. Working for the construction of Milan Cathedral, he he provided  consultancy to the city of Como. Pietro da Breggia, from Como, supervised the construction of the pillars and vaults. Florio da Bontà (1460-1463), once again from Como, began building the facade with another sculptor from the val d’Intelvi, Aizio de Lurago. Luchino Scarabota, from Milan, finished the rose window and the main spire of the facade.

In 1484, Tommaso Rodari from Maroggia, on lake Lugano, was called in to complete the many statues of the facade.  Three years later he was nominated engeneer of the factory and kept on creating sculptures until his death in 1526, alongside his brothers, Giacomo and Donato, and his apprentices: the sides of the basilica, all the portals with the lunettes depicting the Childhood of Jesus, as well as the astounding Door of the Frog, from the statues of the apostles on the inner pillars, to the main apse, constructed on the modified designs by Cristoforo Solari, “the hunchback”, who introduced the classic architecture, with grooved corynthian and composite-style lesenes, entablature and round arches.

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