// Attraction

25.09.2014 The Milanese and “Madonnina”

The Milanese and "Madonnina"  

Putting the post together was inspired by an Italian website, where I saw how the Milanese “Madonnina”, Madonna statue, atop the main spire of Duomo Cathedral, was jokingly called “this yellow thing atop Duomo” and indignant responses of the townspeople:

“You should never call Madonnina a yellow thing, even as a joke!”

“No irony accepted!”

“Don’t touch our Madonnina!”

Why are the Milanese so touchingly attached to their Madonnina?

Historically the full name of Duomo Cathedral in Italian is Basilica cattedrale metropolitana di Santa Maria Nascente which is translated into English Metropolitan Cathedral-Basolica of the Nativity of Saint Mary (or Madonna)  who is the mother of Jesus Christ. That is why in 1774 the Madonna statue cast in gilt bronze, created by sculptor Giuseppe Perego and jeweler Giuseppe Bini was installed on the main spire of Duomo. Since then “Madonnina”, the way the Milanese affectionately call it, has become the highest point of the city, its symbol and patroness.

Even the official law was issued: no building in Milan is allowed to be higher 108.5 m, the height of the main spire of Duomo together with the Madonnina (the statue height is 4.16 m). The law was broken only in 1956, when Pirelli skyscraper (127 m high) was being built. But in token of respect to the Madonnina, a small replica of the statue was placed on the skyscraper roof, so the Madonnina remains the tallest point in Milan.

Similar to the statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, - the Milanese strongly believe the Madonnina blesses and protects them from above.

Even the streets in the central city are arranged in such a way that the main spire of Duomo with the Madonnina atop is visible practically from any point, and all ever-hastening Milanese just for once a day look up and say hello to the Madonnina. And whenever I, though not being a native of Milan at all, find myself in the central city, I look up, say hello to the Madonnina and believe she protects and brings me luck!

The Milanese and “Madonnina”




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