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Duomo (English: /ˈdwm/, Italian: [ˈdwɔːmo]) is an Italian term for a church with the features of, or having been built to serve as, a cathedral, whether or not it currently plays this rôle.[1] Monza Cathedral, for example, has never been a diocesan seat and is by definition not a cathedral. On the other hand, the city of Trevi no longer has a bishop, although it once did, and the erstwhile cathedral of Emilianus of Trevi is now a mere church. By contradistinction, the Italian word for a cathedral in sensu stricto is cattedrale.

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 also


  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". Garzantilinguistica.it. Archived from the original on 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
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