The Istituto Poligrafico Zecca della Stato (IPZS) has released new €10 silver Proof quality coins (2nd October) that are part of their popular series entitled “Italy of Arts,” which was first begun in 2012. The latest coin features one of the world’s most exquisite structures whose history only enhances its beauty, the Milan Cathedral.
Located in Lombardy, the cathedral is dedicated to the Nativity of St. Mary and is the seat of the archbishop of Milan. It is the largest church in Italy, which means it is also the third-largest in Europe, and the fifth-largest in the world.
Constructed in the 14th century, the Milan Cathedral (or Duomo di Milano, as it is known in Italian) is designed in the style of Rayonnant Gothic, which was prevalent from around 1240 and 1350 and was characterised by a shift in focus away from High Gothic. Due to the allure of the Milan Cathedral’s intricate and detailed facade, it remains one of the country’s most visited landmarks. It was during the year 1386 that Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo began construction of the cathedral. However, it would not be until the year 1805, and in time for the coronation of Emperor Napoleon of France to be crowned as King of Italy, that the cathedral would actually come as close to completion. The history of the cathedral records that the last details of completion were finished only in the 20th century, with the last gate being inaugurated on the 6th January 1965. This date is considered to be the very end of a process which had proceeded for generations, although even now, some uncarved blocks remain to be completed as statues.
The Cathedral As a Venue for Coronations
The Cathedral was also the setting for some of the country’s most glittering coronations, namely that of Emperor Napoleon. On the 17th March 1805, about a year after the proclamation of empire in France, the Italian republic was formally transformed into the Kingdom of Italy. Although called the “Kingdom of Italy,” the territory in question extended only across Lombardy and to the Emilia Romagna. The rest of the peninsula, mostly made up of independent kingdoms themselves, did not acknowledge Napoleon as its king.
The formal ceremony of coronation was held on the 26th May 1805 at the Milan Cathedral. For the coronation, Napoleon included the Iron Crown of the Lombards, one of the oldest royal insignias of Christendom and a symbol of the Kingdom of Lombardy, in the ceremony. With this gesture, Napoleon had sought to highlight his Carolingian credentials.
Another coronation took place when Ferdinand I of Austria (1793–1875) succeeded his father on the imperial throne in 1835, although interestingly, there was no coronation ceremony in Vienna. However, his coronation as king of Lombardy-Venetia took place on the 1st September 1838. In 1848, Ferdinand abdicated voluntarily in favour of his nephew, Franz Joseph, who was emperor during much of the First World War.
The coins are designed by artisan Luciana De Simoni, who depicts on the obverse one of the most recognised views of the Duomo of Milan, a symbol of the capital of Lombardy, as seen from the Piazza del Duomo in Central Milan. The inscription REPUBBLICA ITALIANA is placed below the primary motif with decorative elements from the rose window of the cathedral seen below the text.
The reverse includes intricate detail from the central stained-glass window of the presbytery of the Cathedral of Milan. In the centre is the inscription MILANO and the value 10 EURO. On the left of the primary design is the letter “R,” denoting the Mint of Rome, and on the right is the year of issue, 2019. Around the overall design is the inscription ITALIA DELLE ARTI. The Milan Cathedral is reproduced courtesy of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano.
|10 euro||.925 Silver||22 g||34 mm||Proof||4,000|
Each coin is encapsulated and housed in a branded IPZS custom case that is also accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity. For additional information about this coin and others available from the IPZS, please visit their website.