Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
sunlight at various points along its length (depending on the season) at astronom-
ical noon. The device was so precise that all the city's clocks were set by it until the
19th century.
St Bartholomew
One of the more unusual statues is the 1562 figure of St Bartholomew by Marco
d'Agrate, a student of Leonardo da Vinci. It depicts St Bartholomew post-torture
with his skin flayed from his flesh and cast about his neck like a cape. For 16th
century anatomists he was a favourite subject, enabling sculptors to show off their
anatomical knowledge as well as their technique.
The Transept
Bisecting the nave, the transept is especially rich in works of art. At either end
there is an altar decorated with polychrome marbles, the most elaborate being the
Altar to the Virgin of the Tree on the north side. In front of this stands the monu-
mental, 5m-high Trivulzio candelabrum, a masterpiece of medieval bronze work,
its seven branches inset with precious stones.
The Choir
Completed in 1614, the sculpted choir stalls were designed by Pellegrino Tibaldi
and carved by Paolo de'Gazzi, Virgilio del Conte and the Taurini brothers. The
three tiers represent the life of Milanese bishops Anatalone and Galdino at the
base, the martyred saints in the centre and the life of St Ambrose above.
The Nivola
High up in the apse, a red light signifies the the cathedral's most precious relic: a
nail said to be from Christ's cross, stored a 16th-century wooden basket (nivola) .
During the annual Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (Saturday closest to 14
September), the archbishop retrieves it from the roof, and it is displayed for three
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