This is an excerpt from the book “Milan” by Enrico Massetti.

Sant’Ambrogio Photo © Silvia Massetti

An excellent example of the Romanesque-Lombard churches, it was founded between 379 and 386 by Sant’Ambrogio, patron Saint of Milan, as a basilica dedicated to Christian martyrs. Sant’Ambrogio himself was buried there in 397.

The exterior of the church consists of an atrium, called Ansperto’s Atrium, with porticos on three sides, while the fourth is partly integrated into the façade. Underneath the porch is preserved architectonic fragments from the original construction.

It is worthwhile mentioning the two bell-towers flanking the façade, Campanile dei Monaci, and Campanile dei Canonici.

Altare d’Oro
Altare d’Oro Photo ©

In the interior of the Basilica, one of the most exciting works is represented by the famous Altare d’Oro, a masterpiece of Carolingian gold craftsmanship dating back to 836.

Outside the atrium, in the Piazza taking its name after the city’s patron Saint, it is possible to admire the Tempio della Vittoria, an imposing octagonal marble building conceived in honor of the soldiers killed during the First World War.

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