Piazza Sant'Ambrogio 15 20123
Founded in the 4th century by Milan's patron saint Ambroggio, this church has been repaired, rebuilt and restored many times and is a hotchpotch of styles. The shorter of the two bell towers dates to the 9th century as does the canopy over the altar inside. The saint himself is buried in the crypt and his body can be viewed in spooky desiccated form.
Ambroggio rose to power rather suddenly, graduating from public servant to bishop in about a week after rowdy Milanese crowds demanded his appointment. Sant'Ambroggio proved to be a quick study and unusually gutsy, a staunch defender of the poor and opponent of Arianism, Lombardy's main religion at the time. For all his successful politicking, he wouldn't sacrifice principle for diplomacy - he demanded that Emperor Theodosius repent for the massacre of 7,000 people at Thessolonica under threat of excommunication.
The church itself is a fitting legacy: the solid brick structure is well grounded, and its purposeful simplicity is truly uplifting. Once inside, your eye may be caught by the shimmering altar mosaics and AD 835 gilt altarpiece telling Sant'Abroggio's life story - but wait until you see the 4th-6th century mosaics inside the Sacello San Vittore in Ciel d'Oro.
Hours: Mon-Sat 7:00am-12:00am & 2:00pm-7:00pm, Sun 7:00am-1:15pm & 2:30pm-7:45pm
Located close to Sant'Ambrogio church, Pusterla di Sant'Ambrogio, built in 1171, is made of a unique tower bordered by two lateral arches.
Up on the central part can be found the statues of Sant' Ambrogio, San Gervasio and San Protasio.
The Pusterla was passing through restoration works but the statues of the saints were not covered.
Built in a typical Lombard medieval style in 379 and consecrated by St. Ambrose in 386, Sant'Ambrogio is one of the oldest churches in Milan.
During the years, different parts of the complex have been added: in 739 the monastery of the Benedictine Monks, in the 9th century the simple right bell-tower, in the 10th century the apse and the presbytery and in the 12th century the aisles, the drum, the entrance and the left bell-tower, known as bell-tower of the canons.
The last part completed was the three-arched loggia finished in 1889.
The facade is flanked on either side by the two bell-towers and is composed of two super-imposed loggias.
St. Ambrogio is the masterpiece of Romanesque architecture in Lombardy, and indeed the prototype of all Romanesque architecture in Italy. The church and a basilica was dedicated to St. Ambrose, the bishop-protector of the city whose mortal remains were buried inside.
The basilica was built on the site of the palace where in 313 the Emperor Constantine issued his famous Edict granting the early Christians the right to freely practice their religion. It was Ambrose himself who desired that the basilica be built over the site of the Cristian burial ground and martyres. The plan of the church consecrated by Ambrose on January 13, 386 had single aisles, no transepts, and a single apse, just as it appears today.
In 789 Archbishop Pietro added a monastery for Benedictine monks along-side the church. Starting from the 9th century, the church went through a slow transformation, first when the apse was lengthened and then when the first belltower (Monks' Tower) was put up. Later on, in the 10th century the second belltower called the Rectors' Tower went up on the left side. By this time the church had taken on the pure Romanesque look it has retained up to this very day, despite Bramante's Renaissance touches in the rectory and cloister.
In Spain we have a kind of sweet which is called "Saint's bones". It is typical to eat them in November. But in Milano, at San Ambrogio, you could see real saint's bones. The crypt preserves the bones of Ambrogio, Gervase and Protase (his disciples). Well, the names seemed funny to us... and it was strange to see those skeletons dressed with pontifical clothes.
En España tenemos un tipo de dulce que se llama "Huesos de Santo". Es típico comerlos en Noviembre. Pero en Milan, en la iglesia de San Ambrosio, podeis encontrar huesos de santo de verdad. La cripta conserva los huesos de Ambrosio, Gervasio y Potasio (sus discípulos). Bueno, los nombres nos parecieron peculiares, la verdad... y fue raro ver aquellos esqueletos vestidos con ropas de misa.
Near Leonardo Da Vinci museum and not far from Castello Sforzesco, this not-so-well-known church is worth a visit. Its early Christian architecture and, most of all, its amazing apse make it a must when visiting MIlan. It was the first time I could see a real Pantocrator, and I admit I was moved. There is also a crypt... but this is matter for another tip.
Cerca del Museo Leonardo Da Vinci y no muy lejos del Castello Sforzesco, esta no tan conocida iglesia bien merece una visita. Su arquitectura paleocristiana y sobre todo, su alucinante ábside la convierten en visita obligada en Milan. Fue la primera vez en mi vida que vi un Pantocrator y debo admitir que me conmovió. También hay una cripta, pero eso es materia para otro consejo
Sant'Ambrogio (St Ambrose), the patron saint of Milan, was said to be so eloquent that bees were said to fly into his mouth, attracted by his honey tongue. As bishop of Milan in the 4th century, he worked hard to avoid a split in the church. This basilica, which he began in AD 379, is mostly from the 10th century. A medieval gateway leads to the bronze doors of the entrance, flanked by two bell towers. Inside features fine rib vaultin and a striking 9th century altar decorated with gold, silver and precious gems. In a chapel off the south aisle, fine mosaics line a stunning cupola (dome).
The facade consists of 5 symmetrical arches under the slanting roof lines. However, mismatched towers adjacent to these arches spoils the symmetry. The Monks' Tower was on the right is shorter than the Canons' Tower on the left. I couldn't quite figure out the reason for the mismatch - probably built at different points in time and the builders had their own ideas ?
Construction of the basilica began in 379, and in 387 it was consecrated by St. Ambrose. Over the centuries the basilica has been modified, enlarged, damaged and even bombed, during the last World War. Despite this it has retained its air of austerity and solemnity, and is still considered one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Lombardy. Inside there are monuments, works of art, and relics bearing witness to sixteen centuries of history. The pulpit, decorated with columns and arches, rests on an early-Christian sarcophagus. The ciborium, with its Roman columns, rises above the golden altar by Volvinio. The apse is lined with a superb mosaic. The votive chapel of San Vittore in Ciel d'Oro dates back to the 4th century and the mosaics inside to the 5th. It is worth a visit the portico of the canons' house by Donato Bramante, the chapel of San Sigismondo and the Basilica Treasure. A few yards from the entrance to the basilica is a 1939 copy of a 14th century postern, which during the Middle Ages was part of the city-walls.
Sant' Ambrogio, a fine court yarded church said to contain the remains of two Milanese early-Christian martyrs. A good Romanesque facade and a pleasing interior.
The famous gold altar was a little distant to appreciate fully. Our search for the Chapel of St. Vittore eventually leads us to the entry to the Treasury.
This, it turns out, is all part of the same area. There is a reduced price for senior citizens of the EU (later places are to be entirely free for the same group) so take great advantage of this. if it applies The man is really helpful, explaining where the gold-domed ceiling can be found and putting on the ceiling light. The tessarae are tiny and the face is rather high & small to photograph with our digital camera - we've found it doesn't do well at lower light conditions.
We must move on the Leonardo, so a quick look at Bramante's cloister that is just outside the door & we cross the road - San Vittore then up to Corso Magenta to Santa Maria.
The church of Sant'Ambrogio honores the patron saint of Milan as a bishop of the city in the IVth century. It was first built in the year 379 although after it was built on Romanic Style on the Xth century.
Just on the inside of the third pier on the left there is a bronze serpent on a short column. Legend has it that the serpent was cast by Moses.