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Duomo (English: /ˈdwm/, Italian: [ˈdwɔːmo]) is a term for an Italian cathedral church.[1] The formal Italian word for a church that is now a cathedral is cattedrale; a duomo may be either a present or a former cathedral (the latter always in a town that no longer has a bishop and therefore no longer has a cathedral, as for example in Trevi, Umbria). Some, like Monza Cathedral, have never been cathedrals, although old and important.

Many people refer to particular churches simply as "il Duomo" "the Duomo", without regard to the full proper name of the church.

Similar words exist in other languages: Dom (German), dom (Romanian), dóm (Hungarian and Slovakian), dôme (French), domkirke (Danish and Norwegian), dómkirkja (Icelandic), domkyrka (Swedish), domo (Portuguese), doms (Latvian), toomkirik (Estonian), tum (Polish) and tuomiokirkko (Finnish). Also in these languages the respective terms do not necessarily refer to a church functioning as a cathedral, but also to proto-cathedrals or simply prominent church buildings, which have never been a cathedral in the exact sense of that word. In German the term Dom as in Polish the term tum became the synecdoche, used — pars pro toto — for most existing or former collegiate churches. Therefore, the uniform translation of these terms into English as cathedrals may not always be appropriate and should be used on a contextual basis.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary and the Zingarelli, the word duomo derives from the Latin word "domus", meaning house, as a cathedral is the "house of God", or domus Dei. The Garzanti online dictionary also gives the etymology as deriving from house, but house of the bishop ("domu(m) (episcopi); 'casa (del vescovo)') instead of the house of God.[2]

Italian cathedrals are often highly decorated and contain notable artworks; in many cases the buildings themselves are true artworks. Perhaps the best known Duomo is Milan Cathedral, but other well-known cathedrals include the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome and those of Alba, Piedmont, Ancona, Mantua, Parma and Florence Cathedral.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Giacomo Devoto, Gian Carlo Oli, Il Devoto–Oli. Vocabolario della Lingua Italiana, edited by Luca Serianni and Maurizio Trifone, Le Monnier.
  2. ^ "Garzanti Linguistica". Archived from the original on 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2012-08-15.