One of the oldest churches in Milan, originally dating from the 4th century, San Babila was once regarded as one of the most important churches in the city after the Duomo and Sant'Ambrogio.
But little remains of the original church, renovated many occasions over the centuries. The church was completely rebuilt in the Romanesque style in the 11th/12th centuries and whilst this is the style we see today, little of it is much more than 150 years old.
The bell tower dates from the 1920s, replacing the original which collapsed in the 16th century. The main facade was added in the early 1900s, and much of the interior and the main body of the church were renovated and or reconstructed in the 19th century mainly due to damp - although the aisles date from the Renaissance.
Today it sits in the busy San Babila Square surrounded by contemporary offices and, across the road, the entry into the fashion quarter.
The beautiful San Babila church was built on the site of a church dating from the 4th century.
The church passed through many restoration works during the years and this was the place where, in 1785, the famous Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni was baptized.
Today Piazza San Babila looks very different from how it appeared just a few years ago, new buildings have been springing up like mushrooms and the church of San Babila is almost lost amidst them.
The church was built about the end of the 11th century, probably on the site of the pre-existing 5th century basilica founded by St. Lawrence, although it has been considerably altered over the centuries.