The Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary, better known as Duomo di Milano, is the largest church in Italy, and the fourth largest in the world. The Cathedral, which took almost six hundred years to complete, is the most important tourist attraction in Milan and the most famous symbol of the city. SHORT HISTORY Once, on the site where the Duomo stands today, there was the ancient Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Basilica of Santa Tecla. After the collapse of the bell tower of the cathedral, the Archbishop Antonio de’ Saluzzi, supported by the population, proposed in 1386 the building of a new and larger cathedral. To make room for the new church, both churches were demolished. In January 1387, the foundations of the pylons were laid. The chief architect was Simone d’Orsenigo, who, in 1388, began the perimeter walls. Between 1389 and 1390, the French Nicolas de Bonaventure was commissioned to design the windows. In 1393, the first capital of the pillars was sculpted by Giovannino de’ Grassi, who was the main architect of the work until his death, in 1398. In 1400, Filippino degli Orgi took his place, who focused on the construction of Read more [...]
Italy has many churches, and all of them are beautiful and full of spectacular works of art. The main church of the city is referred as Il Duomo, but you will find churches that are named Basilica, Chiesa or Cattedrale, depending on their size and importance.
Some of the most beautiful churches in Italy are the Basilica di San Marco and the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, the Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary and the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Orvieto and the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore in Verona.
Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio is a beautiful church in Milan, located in Piazza Sant’Ambrogio. One of the oldest churches in the city, it is traditionally considered the second most important church in Milan, after the Duomo. SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this place between 379 and 386, at the behest of the bishop of Milan, Ambrogio, in an area where Christians martyrs of the Roman persecutions were buried. For this, it was dedicated to the martyrs and called Basilica Martyrum. Ambrogio wanted to place here all the relics of the holy martyrs Vittore, Nabore, Felice, Vitale, Valeria, Gervasio and Protasio. In 397, he was also buried here, and the church was later renamed in his honor. In the 9th century, the bishop Angilbert II added a large apse to the church, preceded by a room with a barrel vault, under which the liturgical functions took place. In the same period, the apse was decorated with a large mosaic, the Redeemer enthroned between the martyrs Protasio and Gervasio, with the archangels Michael and Gabriel above. The basilica received its current shape between 1088 and 1099, when, at the behest of Bishop Anselmo III da Rho, it was radically Read more [...]
Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore is one of the oldest churches in Milan, and together with the Columns of San Lorenzo, located a few meters away, is considered an important Roman monumental complex. The church is dedicated to Saint Lawrence, one of the seven deacons of Rome, who was martyred in 258 during the persecution of the Christians by the Roman Emperor Valerian. SHORT HISTORY The church dates back to a period between the end of the 3rd century and the beginning of the 5th century, and was built on the remains of a temple dedicated to Hercules by the Emperor Maximian. The church was damaged by fire in 1071 and 1072, its dome collapsed in 1103, and it was destroyed again by fire in 1124. The church was then rebuilt in Romanesque style, maintaining the original internal layout. During the Middle Ages, the basilica remained a symbol of the Roman heritage of Milan, and a privileged burial place for the city’s bishops. In 1573, the dome of the church collapsed once again during a liturgical celebration. Given the importance of the building, Cardinal Carlo Borromeo comissioned the architect Martino Bassi to rebuilt the dome according to the tastes Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is a church in Milan, located in the square of the same name. The church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famous for housing Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, which is located in the refectory of the convent. SHORT HISTORY In 1460, the Congregation of Dominicans in Milan received a piece of land from Count Gaspare Vimercati. On this land, there was a small chapel dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie (Holy Mary of Grace), where the Dominicans decided to built a new church. On September 10, 1463, the first stone was laid, and the work began under the supervision of the architect Guiniforte Solari. Thanks to the patronage of the Vimercati, the convent was completed in 1469. Simultaneously with the construction of the convent, the building of the church began. The project was for a basilica with 3 naves, with ogival vaults and a gabled facade. Terracotta was used for the walls, while granite was used for the columns and capitals. In 1492, the new Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, also known as il Moro (the Moor), decided to rebuilt the cloister and the apse of the church. The apse is Read more [...]
The Church of San Carlo al Corso is a Neoclassical church in Milan, located in the homonymous square, along Corso Vittorio Emanuele. SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Carlo al Corso was built to replace the medieval Church of Santa Maria dei Servi, the Milanese seat of the Order of Servants of Mary since 1290. The new church was built as a sign of gratitude for the end of a cholera epidemic, and dedicated to San Carlo Borromeo, the great Milanese bishop. The project of the church belonged to the architect Carlo Amati from Monza, also the author of the final design of the facade of the Duomo. However, the construction site was led between 1838 and 1847 by the architect Filippo Pizzagalli. Today, the Church of San Carlo al Corso is still officiated by the Servites. ARCHITECTURE The Church of San Carlo al Corso is a fine example of the Neoclassical style, inspired by the Roman Pantheon, with significant similarities to the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola in Naples. The structure has a circular plan, preceded by a porticoed square and introduced by a pronaos on 36 large monolithic Corinthian columns, placed on a wide staircase. Read more [...]
The Church of San Fedele is a church located in the heart of Milan, between Palazzo Marino and the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery. The church was built in the 16th century by the will of the archbishop Carlo Borromeo, to house the Society of Jesus, and is dedicated to Saint Fidelis of Como. SHORT HISTORY An ancient church located on this site and dedicated to Saint Fidelis of Como is mentioned in a bull of Pope Eugene III of 1147. In 1567, the structure was entrusted to the Jesuits, shortly after their arrival in Milan. The Jesuits started some restoration and enlargement works. In 1569, the archbishop Carlo Borromeo entrusted the construction of a new church to the architect Pellegrino Tibaldi, who completed the building in 1579. The consecration of the church took place in the same year. After the suppression of the Jesuit Order in 1773, the church was entrusted to the priests from the nearby Church of Santa Maria alla Scala. After the demolition of Santa Maria alla Scala in 1776 to make room for Teatro alla Scala, the Church of San Fedele took the title of Santa Maria alla Scala in San Fedele, and was enriched Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Maria del Carmine is a beautiful church in Milan, located in Piazza del Carmine, in the Brera district. SHORT HISTORY In 1268, the Carmelites settled near the Castello Sforzesco, where, starting from the 14th century, they began to build their convent and an adjoining church, which was destroyed by fire in 1330. The current church was built beginning with 1339 on a project by Fra Bernardo from Venice. The works were completed in 1446 by the architect Pietro Antonio Solari. As soon as it was finished, the vault of the church collapsed and, only three years later, the restoration work began. In the 17th century, the presbytery was radically restored in Baroque style and assumed its current conformation. The current facade, built in 1880, is the work of Carlo Maciachini. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church overlooks the square of the same name. Built in 1880 in a rich neo-Gothic style, it is the work of Carlo Maciachini, famous also for the design of the Monumental Cemetery of Milan. The facade is divided by large pilasters, each surmounted by a Gothic canopy. Above the central portal, there is a mosaic lunette with Read more [...]