The Columns of San Lorenzo (Colonne di San Lorenzo) is a late Roman monument in Milan, located in front of the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore, near the Medieval Ticinese Gate (Porta Ticinese Medievale).
The Columns have a particular emotional meaning for the Milanese, testifying the history of the ancient Mediolanum, capital of the Western Roman Empire between the 3rd and the 5th century.
The Columns of San Lorenzo were brought here in the 4th century, to form an atrium in front of the ancient basilica. The columns came from various Roman buildings dating back to the 2nd or 3rd century, probably from a pagan temple located in the area of today’s Piazza Santa Maria Beltrade.
Until 1935, in the current square located between the Columns and the Basilica of San Lorenzo, there were old buildings, which were demolished to give greater coherence and monumentality to the basilica.
The new square was subsequently occupied by the tram tracks, which in the 1990s were moved beyond the Columns. In 1937, the bronze statue of the Emperor Constantine was placed in the square, a modern copy of the antique original preserved in Rome.
The Columns of San Lorenzo are sixteen columns built in marble, about seven and a half meters high, with Corinthian capitals that support the entablature, and with an arch surmounted by a cross in the center of the colonnade.
The capitals of the columns come from two different buildings. They are, in fact, different in style and size. A brick thickness was added above the lower capitals to level them with the others. The work was carried out in the Middle Ages, between the 11th and 12th centuries.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest Metro station is Missori, located about 800 meters away, on the Metro Line 3. The closest bus stop is Colonne di San Lorenzo, located about 100 meters away, on the bus Line 94, and the closest tram stop is Carrobbio, on the tram Line 3, located about 130 meters away.