BASILICA OF SAN LORENZO, COLUMNS AND EXTERIOR

Audio File length: 2.37
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, I'm James, your personal guide. Together with MyWoWo, I'd like to welcome you to one of the wonders of the world.

Today I'll take you on a tour through San Lorenzo.

The Basilica of San Lorenzo is one of the oldest monuments in Milan!

 

If you've done a bit of shopping in the boutiques of Via Torino, you must have been impressed by the imposing Roman colonnade that suddenly appears when you turn left onto Corso di Porta Ticinese. These are the Columns of San Lorenzo, the most important archaeological remains from ancient Milan, Mediolanum, which remind us that the Palace of the Roman Emperor stood right near here many centuries ago.

 

These sixteen elegant white marble columns are about eight meters tall and were transported here around the fourth century AD, perhaps from an even older pagan temple. The columns gave access to a vast rectangular colonnade that led to the Basilica of San Lorenzo. Porta Ticinese, one of the city's six major gates, is near the columns; this area is also one of the favorite meeting points for Milanese youth thanks to the various trendy bars in its surroundings.

 

A newer statue rises before the church reminding us of the famous edict "di Milan" that Emperor Constantine would use to grant religious freedom to the Christians. The church's façade was rebuilt at the end of the 1800s.

San Lorenzo is a monument of fundamental importance in relation to architectural history: its octagonal shape is copied all over Europe, and you'll see it repeated in the Basilicas of Ravenna, Constantinople, and Aachen. The Church is even more moving if you look at it from behind, which you can do from Basilicas Park, where San Lorenzo will look like a great, busy complex of chapels and bell towers grouped around the colossal central body.

The garden that connects the Basilicas of San Lorenzo and Sant'Eustorgio is one of the most charming places in Milan: unfortunately, you won't be able to enjoy the view of the ancient brick churches from there until 2020 because of the metro construction site blocking it.

 

FUN FACT: the columns of San Lorenzo ran a big risk in the sixteenth century when the King of Spain was visiting Milan. The king's court had to enter the city from these parts, and someone proposed to demolish the columns to widen the passage, since after all they were just old ruins... Fortunately common sense won and the columns were saved!

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