From Realtà Mapei International n° 69 - 7/6/2018

Mapei flies high on Milan Cathedral

Mapei has adopted a spire on Milan Cathedral to keep an age-old tradition going.

The 'Adopt a Spire' campaign has another important sponsor: Mapei, which, thanks to the Squinzi family’s generosity and keen interest in art, has decided to sculpt its own name in Milan Cathedral’s marble in response to the appeal made by the Veneranda Fabbrica to raise support for restoration work on the Cathedral. Lots of work is currently underway: from major restoration work on the dome’s lantern and apse to the completion of the lighting system. The Veneranda Fabbrica has to cover the costs of approximately 30 million Euros a year and so we need patrons, who – like Mapei – are willing to offer their experience and expertise to help carry out the construction work. We plan to set up a working partnership between Mapei’s Research Laboratories and Veneranda Fabbrica to identify and experiment with new materials that may turn out to be more suitable for the Cathedral and its specific needs. On a par with fundraising, this is another way of supporting the Cathedral and helping the Fabbrica set about the tricky task with which it is faced: a modus operandi that has been etched into its gene pool down the centuries, since the people of Milan have always lent their support to this building, gladly donating their skills and expertise. We only hope that other companies, particularly businesses in Lombardy, will follow Mapei’s example.” This is what the President of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano, Fedele Confalonieri, had to say on this matter.


It was officially announced at a press meeting held on the 15th May that Mapei joined the Golden Donors of Milan Cathedral (which is called "Duomo" in Italian) and exclusive Spires Club, so that its own corporate history may be further associated with Milan’s most symbolic landmark.

Mapei has decided to get involved in a project organised by Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo called: “Get your Spire. Carve your name in history”. This is an important fundraising campaign set up in 2012 to try and get all the local inhabitants - ordinary people, businesses, associations - involved in supporting restoration and repair work on Milan Cathedral’s 135 spires, whose history has always been linked with the generosity of important families and illustrious patrons.



“This is a day I will always remember with pride: as somebody from Milan I am delighted to have become part of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo. For my family, the city’s most important landmarks - so Giorgio Squinzi told us, CEO of the Mapei Group - have always been Duomo Cathedral, La Scala Theatre, Vigorelli Velodrome and San Siro Stadium, but at the moment it is the Cathedral and La Scala Theatre that really boost our city’s reputation”.


By becoming part of this project, Mapei intends - once again - to underline its Milanese identity ready to be exported worldwide. The Duomo is a cathedral but, above all, it is the church of the people of Milan. But that is not all: it is the symbol of Milan worldwide and the driving force behind the city in terms of tourism, culture and religion. The figures speak for themselves: 80% of visitors (over 2.2 million tourists a year, plus regular worshippers) come to Milan to visit the Cathedral, which - so it is estimated - contributes 82 billion Euros to the overall value of the Milan brand, estimated to be worth 400 billion Euros.

Closely tied to Milan’s economic and cultural fabric - its products keep on being used for the most important projects in modern-day Milan - Mapei is once again underlining its love for the city where it was originally founded.

The company’s involvement with Milan Cathedral is one of its latest business enterprises aimed at supporting the city’s most symbolic building. In actual fact, its products and technology have already been used here in the past for repairing masonry, waterproofing and sealing on the Cathedral terraces and help protect all facade decorations.

As well as donating 150,000 Euros, Mapei will provide its know-how and Research and Development Laboratory to find just the right product to slowdown the ageing of the Cathedral’s Candoglia marble. When subjected to atmospheric agents and thermal stresses, this particular marble expands and shrinks allowing water to get in. Mapei’s Corporate R&D Centre in Milan is, therefore, working on “inventing” a new cement-free product that can penetrate into the marble to make the stone impermeable and longer lasting.



The spires are amongst the most fragile architectural features of the Cathedral and require constant care and intricate operations, so that they can continue to tower up in the skies of Milan in complete safety. Milan Cathedral can boast one hundred and thirty-five spires: they are located not only on the perimeter buttresses but also on the dome lantern, where they are arranged in a crown shape around the main spire at the top with the famous “Madonnina” statue perched on it.

In the end, it was decided to adopt a spire on the Cathedral’s Central Terrace, over on the north side. At the top, there is a statue of a young-looking saint, most probably dating back to the mid-19th century. Its face, rotated three quarters in relation to its body, is extremely expressive. Dressed in a robe revealing his chest and back, his arms are placed across his chest and he is barefoot.

This statue has also been chosen because it is located over on the north-west side of the building as if facing Milan but pointing towards Mapei headquarters. “It is no coincidence that we chose to adopt this statue – so Adriana Spazzoli told us - it is the company’s duty to look to the future and the decision to choose a young saint, who is looking out towards the north-east, embodies this concept nicely: offering opportunities to young people and looking ahead”.

A plaque made of Candoglia marble was bonded (with KERAPOXY ADHESIVE) at the foot of the spire with the name Mapei engraved on it, so that visitors can see just how committed the company is to this monumental complex.

After the press conference, the guests went up onto the terrace where the plaque at the base of the spire adopted by Mapei was unveiled by Marco Squinzi and Pasquale Zaffaroni from Mapei SpA. The plaque was bonded with KERAPOXY ADHESIVE in its white color shade.


The presentation conference on the 15th of May was attended by Giorgio Squinzi, Fedele Confalonieri, President of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo (top left), Mons. Gianantonio Borgonovo and the engineer Francesco Canali, the Fabbrica’s Site Director (at the table for the official speakers)”.




The Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano is the famous old organization in charge of conserving and enhancing Milan Cathedral. It was originally set up by Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti in 1387, who at the time ruled over the city of Milan, for the specific purpose of designing and construct the monument. For over 600 years the Veneranda Fabbrica has been working with a great sense of civic duty and responsibility on conserving and architecturally-artistically restoring and repairing Milan Cathedral, keeping its religious services running smoothly, and enhancing and promoting the extraordinary wealth of art, culture and history of Milan’s most symbolic landmark.

Both in the past and the present day, the Cathedral has always relied on the generosity of the city’s inhabitants to enable the Fabbrica to overcome the everyday difficulties it encounters and continue with its work.

Back when it was first set up, the General Assembly, now the Board of Directors, was composed of members representing the Duke, Archbishop, city magistrates, clergy, the most prestigious families and all the inhabitants of Milan.

Today Giorgio Squinzi is a member of the Board of Directors of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano, which is chaired by Fedele Confalonieri. His position on the Board of Directors underlines the very close bonds between the company and Veneranda Fabbrica, which grow stronger year by year, proving just what a keen sense of civic duty Mapei shares with all the inhabitants of this big and increasingly beautiful city.

Milan Cathedral is not just a place of worship, it also stages important cultural events, like grand concerts, and has its own museum and library.

Facts and Figures


internal surface area



the number of hours it is open to the public



Duomo's contribution to the Milan brand (billion euros) 


the overall weight
of the statues (tons)


made of
Candoglia marble


total volume (m3)





'adopted' spires 


the outside width of the Cathedral (meters) 


a-year tourists


the height above the ground of the Madonnina statue (meters)


the actual height of the Madonnina statue (meters) 


the outside
length of the Cathedral (meters)


the number of pipes in the Cathedral organ, the biggest in Italy              

> 3,600

the characters depicted on the 55 stained glass windows

Products mentioned in the article

Two-component epoxy adhesive with no vertical slip for ceramic tiles and stone material. TECHNICAL DATA: Pot life of mix: 45 minutes. Open…
Realtà Mapei Tags: #research #commitment #theworldofmapei

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