All Churches in Lombardy

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. Discover below one of the most important churches in Lombardy.

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    Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie

    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 [...]

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    Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio

    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 [...]

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    Bergamo Cathedral of Sant’Alessandro

    The Cathedral of Sant’Alessandro is the cathedral of Bergamo, dedicated to Saint Alexander, the patron saint of the city. The cathedral is located in the historical center of the city – Città Alta, in the small but beautiful Piazza del Duomo, near the Palazzo della Ragione and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, a church in Romanesque style was built on this place, on the site of a paleochristian place of worship dating back to the 5th century. The church was dedicated to San Vincenzo (Saint Vincent of Saragossa). Around the middle of the 15th century, the bishop Giovanni Barozzi decided to build a larger church, entrusting the project to the Florentine architect Filarete. On May 3, 1459, the first stone was laid, and in 1467 the first chapel on the left side was completed and dedicated to Saint Catherine and Saint Jerome. However, after a couple of years, the works suffered an abrupt interruption due to the death of Filarete and to the simultaneous election of bishop Barozzi as Patriarch of Venice. In 1561, the Church of Sant’Alessandro in Colonna was demolished for the construction of the Venetian Walls. The relics of Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

    Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located in the historical part of the city – Città Alta, in the small Piazza del Duomo.   SHORT HISTORY According to popular tradition, in 1133, the local people promised to built a church dedicated to the Madonna, if the city will be spared by the plague that threatened the northern Italy. The church was built in 1137 on the site of another church from the 8th century, which in turn was built on a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Clementia. The exterior of the church testifies its construction in two different phases: in the first phase, were built the apsidal area, the northern arm of the transept and the lower part of the southern arm in gray sandstone, with square ashlars, while the remaining parts were built in the second phase, in light ocher sandstone, with rather small ashlars. With the central apse and the transept built, the high altar was consecrated in 1185, and the presbytery and apses on the east side of the transept were completed in 1187. Work slowed down during the 13th century due to economic difficulties. However, the blind facade and the Read more [...]

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    Milan Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary

    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 place 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. For the new church, both previous 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 the apse Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria del Carmine

    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 [...]

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    Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore

    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 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 in 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 of Read more [...]

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    Church of San Lorenzo

    Rich in pictorial and sculptural works of art, the Church of San Lorenzo, dedicated to Saint Lawrence, is one of the most important churches in Brescia.   SHORT HISTORY The first mention of the church can be found in a document dating back to the 11th century, but the place of worship was probably built long before this time. The first important interventions on the ancient structure took place at the end of the 15th century, at the behest of the provost Bernardino Fabio. At the beginning of the 16th century, Girolamo Romani, better known as Romanino, was commissioned to paint the Lamentation over the Dead Christ for the Chapel of the Passion. The painting remained in the chapel until 1871, and then was sold and transferred to various private collections in Italy and England. Today, the work is found in Venice, in the Gallerie dell’Accademia. From this moment on, many other artists worked in the church, including Callisto Piazza, Lattanzio Gambara, Pietro Marone and Prospero Rabaglio. In the 17th century, with the spread of the cult of Saint Carlo Borromeo, the church was enriched with an altar dedicated to him, decorated with an altarpiece by Francesco Giugno. The other Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco d’Assisi

    The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi is a church in Brescia, dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. The church is flanked by an ancient Franciscan convent dating back to the 14th century.   SHORT HISTORY The church was completed in 1265, but it was not frescoed until the early 14th century. In the 15th century, the church was enriched with 5 altars, two of which painted by Moretto (Alessandro Bonvicino) and Romanino (Girolamo Romani), great masters of the early Renaissance in Brescia. In the 16th century, in the left nave of the church, the Chapel of the Immaculate was built in Renaissance style. With the advent of the French in 1797, the church and the adjoining convent underwent a phase of decadence in which archives were destroyed and many rooms were ruined. Only in 1839, thanks to the architect Rodolfo Vantini, the church was the subject of modernization work, taking on some Neoclassical elements. In 1928, the Friars Minor returned to live in both the convent and the church, and thanks to various restorations, they were able to recover a part of the ancient artistic heritage.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, in Romanesque-Gothic style, restored in Read more [...]

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    Brescia Old Cathedral

    The Old Cathedral (Duomo Vecchio), also known as La Rotonda because of its round layout and officially as the Winter Co-Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, is a Romanesque church in Brescia. The Old Cathedral is located near the New Cathedral (Duomo Nuovo), in Piazza Paolo VI.   SHORT HISTORY The history of the Old Cathedral begins with the demolition of the ancient Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore de Dom, an early Christian structure built perhaps in the 7th century. The construction of the cathedral began in the 11th century and was completed in the first half of the 12th century. Towards the end of the 13th century, Berardo Maggi, bishop of Brescia, made an enlargement of the presbytery and had the interiors decorated. Between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, the architect Bernardino da Martinengo extended the presbytery to the east, covering it with cross vaults in Gothic style. Around the same time, the transept was also added, completed with the Chapel of the Holy Crosses on the left side. In this phase of construction, Filippo Grassi, the future architect of the Palazzo della Loggia, also participated. The keystones are the work of Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Andrea

    The Church of Sant’Andrea is a church in Bergamo, located in Via Porta Dipinta 39, in the upper part of the city, known as Città Alta.   SHORT HISTORY In the State Archive of Bergamo, there is a notarial deed dated back to 785, which certifies the existence of a proto-Christian basilica on this place, called Basilica Sancti Andreae. Due to the damage caused by the construction of the Venetian Walls between 1561 and 1588, the old basilica obtained compensation of 300 scudi from the Venetian Republic, thanks to which it was renovated and reconsecrated in 1592. A subsequent reconstruction of the church dates back to 1689, with the laying of the foundation stone on June 23 by Bishop Daniele Giustiniani. In 1805, by a decree of Napoleon Bonaparte, the adjacent parish of San Michele al Pozzo Bianco was suppressed and its territory was annexed to the parish of Sant’Andrea. The ancient church was thus too small for this new territory and for a rather large population, and in in 1829 the architect Giacomo Romilli was commissioned to plan its complete renovation. Giacomo Romilli’s project included a neoclassical building, with a facade marked by pilasters and a tympanum, a small Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Agostino

    The Church of Sant’Agostino is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located near the eastern walls of the Città Alta and the homonymous gate of the city. Since 2015, the church houses the Aula Magna of the University of Bergamo.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of Sant’Agostino was built starting with 1290, on the site of a pre-existing church dedicated to Saints Philip and James. The new church was dedicated to Saints Philip, James and Augustine, and was consecrated on February 11, 1347, by the bishop Bernardo Bernardi. In the early 15th century, the church and the adjacent monastery were in a serious state of decay, and the complex was completely abandoned in 1441. Around the middle of the 15th century, the friar Giovanni da Novara obtained permission to sell some properties of the church, and used the money thus obtained to repair some of the buildings of the monastic complex. During the 15th century, seven chapels were built on each side of the church, for important families of Bergamo, who, in turn, donated the funds needed to repair the buildings. Jacopo Filippo Foresti was the friar responsible for the reconstruction of the church, with the contributions obtained from the families. Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie

    The Church of Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located on Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, near the Porta Nuova.   SHORT HISTORY Saint Bernardino of Siena came to Bergamo in 1419 for the second time to quell the feuds that divided the Guelph and Ghibelline families of the city. Pietro Ondei, influenced by his preaching, gave the saint a piece of land to build a church and a convent for the Franciscan friars. The church was founded on April 27, 1422, by the bishop Francesco Aregazzi. The project of urban reorganization of the city from the 19th century included the construction of a large avenue – Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, which connected the railway station to Porta Sant’Agostino, one of the entrances to the upper part of the city, Bergamo Alta. For this reason, the monastic order was suppressed in 1810, the church was demolished in 1856 and then rebuilt a little further from the original place. The ancient church was dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie, but with the dogmatic proclamation of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1854, the bishop of Bergamo, Pietro Luigi Speranza, renamed the church to Santa Maria Immacolata delle Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Bartholomew and Stephen

    The Church of Saints Bartholomew and Stephen is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located in the modern part of the city, known as Città Bassa, along the famous Sentierone, one of the most important avenues of the town.   SHORT HISTORY A former church dedicated to Saint Stephen was demolished on November 11, 1561, for the construction of the Venetian walls which surrounds the Città Alta. From the numerous friars who lived in the convent, only eight remained as guests in the Church of San Bernardino. On August 14, 1572, the friars moved to the small Church of San Bartolomeo, given to them by the Pope Pius V. The Church of Saint Bartholomew was rebuilt in the first half of the 17th century, more precisely between 1603 and 1642, on a project by the architect Anton Maria Caneva of Como. The church was consecrated on January 19, 1782, by the bishop of Bergamo, Giovanni Paolo Dolfin.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a simple structure, but at the same time elegant and grandiose, measuring 60 meters in lenght and 14 meters in width, without the chapels. The facade, completed at the end of the 19th century by the architect Read more [...]

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    Church of San Fedele

    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 place and dedicated to St. 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 the Teatro alla Scala, the Church of San Fedele took the title of Santa Maria alla Scala in San Fedele, and was Read more [...]