The Chapel of Sant’Aquilino Returns to its Former Glory
Programme: Mon - Fri 8.30 am - 6.30 pm I Sat - Sun 9 am - 7 pm
Tickets: Free admission
Location: Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore
Adresse: Corso di Porta Ticinese 35
“One of the most beautiful churches in the world” - that is how the writers of the Middle Ages saw the Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore, extraordinary witness to the years in which Milan was the capital of the western Roman Empire. We’re accustomed to seeing it from outside, walking through its columns which have become emblematic of the city’s nightlife and, yet, San Lorenzo holds a surprising treasure - the Sant’Aquilino Chapel, having just undergone a complex series of renovations. Architecture, murals and precious mosaics, all compelling witnesses to paleo-Christian Roman Milan. The origins of the Chapel pre-date those of the Basilica, born as an imperial mausoleum, probably thanks to Queen Galla Placidia, it was then dedicated to San Genesio and, then, to the priest and Martyr Sant’Aquilino, whose remains are still held there in a silver and quartz urn. Originally octagonal in structure, broken up by niches, with frescoes in the apse and the stucchi of the dome, visiting the Chapel is like traveling back in time. However, nothing compares to the splendour of the mosaics which originally almost entirely covered the walls with depictions of Celestial Jerusalem, life-size depictions of the Patriarchs of Israel, the Apostles and the Martyrs, among golden pillars lined with gemstones.