Milan, a city steeped in history and culture, boasts a captivating blend of modernity and tradition. In this article, we embark on a virtual tour of some of the most enchanting spots in the historic center of Milan. From Piazza San Fedele to the ancient ruins along Via Brisa, each location tells a unique tale of the city’s rich past.
Piazza San Fedele
The historic Piazza and Church of San Fedele in Milan are steeped in fascinating tales. The adjacent Church of San Fedele, dedicated to Saint Fidelis of Como, boasts a stunning front and is renowned for its Jesuit influence.
One intriguing aspect is the mysterious sundial on the church’s exterior, believed to have been designed by renowned mathematician Giovanni Angelo Sala. The square itself is home to an ancient stone labyrinth, providing a unique and contemplative experience for visitors.
In the center of the square stands a statue of Alessandro Manzoni, one of the fathers of the Italian language: he fell on the steps of San Fedele Church, causing a head injury that unfortunately was fatal to him.
Piazza e Palazzo Borromeo
Milan’s Piazza and Palazzo Borromeo offer a glimpse into the city’s opulent past. The square, dating back to the 14th century, while the Palazzo Borromeo, an elegant Renaissance palace, stands as an architectural masterpiece. One notable curiosity is the hidden courtyard within the palace, adorned with stunning frescoes depicting mythological scenes. The palace also houses an impressive art collection, including works by Italian masters. Piazza and Palazzo Borromeo weave together history, art, and culture, inviting visitors to explore the rich tapestry of Milan’s heritage.
Piazza Affari, in the heart of Milan’s financial district, is a hub of economic activity with intriguing stories to tell. Home to the iconic Palazzo Mezzanotte, the square has earned the name “Borsa Italiana” for its role as the headquarters of the Italian stock exchange. An interesting feature is the famous L.O.V.E. sculpture by artist Maurizio Cattelan, which symbolizes both love and conflict; in fact, the meaning of the work is twofold: on the one hand it could be related to a critique of absolutisms, and on the other hand it could refer to the 2008 stock exchange crisis.
Roman Ruins - Via Brisa
In the midst of modern Milan lies a hidden gem: the Roman ruins on Via Brisa. This archaeological site unveils a piece of the city’s ancient history, with remnants dating back to Roman times. Visitors can explore the well-preserved ruins of a residential complex, complete with mosaic floors and evidence of intricate frescoes. Remarkably, these historical treasures were unearthed during construction work in the 20th century. Via Brisa’s Roman ruins offer a captivating glimpse into Milan’s past, reminding us of the city’s enduring connection to its classical heritage.
San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, a hidden gem in Milan, is a treasure trove of artistic and historical wonders. Often referred to as the “Sistine Chapel of Milan,” the church boasts remarkable frescoes that cover every inch of its interior, transporting visitors to the Renaissance era. What makes it truly unique is the adjacent Benedictine convent, once home to noblewomen. Intricately decorated choir stalls and a splendid organ further enhance the monastery’s allure. As a lesser-known marvel, San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore offers a serene retreat and an immersive journey into Milan’s
Santa Maria alla Porta
Santa Maria alla Porta in Milan is a historical and architectural gem, rich in fascinating history. The church was built in the 12th century, and in the 16th century it was rebuilt and the mural painting behind it was found; a legend says that a person working in the church during the renovation who had problems with his legs, cleaned the mural with an apron and was able to walk again, so it was agreed to celebrate the Virgin Mary of the Apron. It was decided to build a chapel around the mural, but it was destroyed during the bombing of World War II, but the mural remained intact.
Sant'Ambrogio e Università Cattolica
Sant’Ambrogio, one of Milan’s oldest and most revered churches, is a treasure trove of history and spirituality. Dating back to the 4th century, it houses the relics of St. Ambrose, the city’s patron saint. The church’s intricate mosaics and Romanesque architecture attract visitors from around the world. Adjacent to Sant’Ambrogio, the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, founded in 1921, stands as one of Italy’s leading institutions. Notable for its beautiful campus and academic excellence, the university has played a crucial role in shaping Milan’s educational landscape.