St Ambrogio Basilica
Piazza Sant'Ambrogio, 15, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
+39 02 8645 0895
Milan's first basilicaSaint Ambrose, the first Bishop of Milan, was a lawyer by training, and a diplomat by nature. Legend has it that bees swarmed to his honeyed voice--the patron saint of Milan is also the patron saint of beekeepers!
One of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century, he built the Basilica Sant'Ambrogio on the site of a pagan graveyard. The buildings we see today are practically new, after centuries of expansion, rebuilding--and most recently, destruction by bombing during the Second World War. However, the saint himself is still there, entombed in the crypt below the original basilica.
Sant'Ambrogio, with its "shed façade", towers, and brick construction is a good place to see firsthand several elements of Lombard architectural style, and the last vestiges of the religious complexes that once covered the central southwest district of Milan. Inside, look for Saint Ambrose in mosaic tiles and for the treasure, the church's Golden Altar.
Saint Ambrose's feast day, 7 December, is a major holiday in Milan. Visit then and join in for a street fair!