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Visit Como cathedral
The cathedral of Como is the most important historic monument in the town of Como, on the shores of Lake Como in the Lombardy region of Italy. Before the current cathedral was built, an earlier cathedral in the romanesque style stood in the same location.
Exploring Como cathedral
Italy This Way comment: the cathedral in Como is certainly the highlight of a visit to the town - the exterior has some very impressive carvings and statues, and the interior conains numerous historic artefacts of interest
Note: the arcaded building attached to the cathedral with stonework in stripes of grey and white and a medieval tower is the original 13th century town hall of Como, called the broletto.
Building work on the cathedral began in 1396. The predominant style of the building is gothic, and although some elements were added later in different styles, it is referred to as the last gothic cathedral to be built in Europe. It is 87 metres long and 56 metres wide, and the dome is 75 metres high (from ground level).
The cathedral follows a very traditional churh layout in the form of a cross, with the nave and side aisles leading to the transept which is underneath the dome.
The west facade is the most impressive part of the outside of the cathedral, and as well as the rose window and statues around the door, there are also columns of statues the full height of the cathedral on either side of the entrance. The two statues next to the door are of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger (his nephew), important dignitaries who were born and lived in the city in the Roman period.
The dome was added later, in the second half of the 18th century. It is beautifully decorated with the top lantern having numerous windows to allow light to enter the cathedral, and the ceilings around the dome painted in gold patterns. This is called the rococo style, and is typical of architecture at the end of the baroque period: it was designed by Filippo Juvarra, who was both an architect and a stage-set designer!
Among the highlights inside Como cathedral you can see many tapestries and paintings, most of them from the 15th-17th century. The most important paintings are those by Bernadino Luini, who worked with and learned from Leonardo da Vinci, and Gaudenzio Ferrari.
There are also numerous statues and scupltures, and altars with still more paintings: the altar dedicated to Saint Abbondio is the best known of these, and the altar of the Cross another important altar. The ceiling is also decorated, with patterns between the ribs of the vaulted ceiling.
The Church of San Fidele on the Piazza San Fidele is another impressive church nearby. For more places to visit in the town near Como cathedral see the guide to Como.
For other highlights around the lake see the guide to Lake Como.