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Inside the world's largest Gothic cathedral hangs a cross suspended from the chancel roof. Inside this cross is Milan's holiest relic, a nail purportedly from the cross on which Christ died. Except that it doesn't look much like a nail anymore, it looks like the bit of a horsebridle - the Roman Emperor Constantine decided to melt it into riding apparel for his beloved horse.
Once a year the archbishop of Milan floats up to it on a little mechanical cloud. Intrigued? Read on...
Once a year the archbishop of Milan symbolically ascends towards the Heavens (represented by the ceiling of the Duomo di Milano), in a basket painted with clouds, to bring down the nail from the Cross of Jesus, the Santo Chiodo, to the faithful who gather below. An engine set up especially for the occasion puffs away out of sight, on top the cathedral while the Holy Man himself floats down on his symbolic cloud and reveals his treasure, the Holy Nail, to the incredulous crowd below.
Festa della Nivola
Piazza del Duomo