The Madonnina spire or guglia del tiburio ("lantern spire"), one of the main features of the cathedral, was erected in 1762 at the height of 108.5 m (356 ft), as designed by Francesco Croce. At the top of the spire is the polychrome Madonnina statue, designed and built by Carlo Pellicani in 1774, during the episcopacy of Giuseppe Pozzobonelli who supported the idea to place the Madonnina at the top of the Cathedral.
By tradition, no building in Milan is higher than the Madonnina. When Gio Ponti's Pirelli Building was being built in the late 1950s, at a height of 127.1 m (417 ft), a smaller replica of the Madonnina was placed atop the Pirelli building, so the new Madonnina remains the tallest point in Milan.
In 2010 another replica was placed as well on the top of the Palazzo Lombardia, at a height of 161 m (528 ft), being then the tallest building in the city. In 2015 still another replica was placed atop the Allianz Tower so that the Madonnina still occupies the highest roof in the city, now at 209 m (686 ft).