San Lorenzo Basilica

San Lorenzo Basilica

San Lorenzo Basilica

The Basilica of San Lorenzo was built towards the end of the 4th century or early 5th century.

It was restored in the 1500s by Martino Bassi after the collapse of the great dome that had swept away a majority of the architectural structures. The current façade dates back to 1894.

The basilica suffered three catastrophic fires, that "of the stork" on March 19, 1071 and other two, respectively in 1075 and in 1121. In 1117 it was seriously damaged by a violent earthquake, which would explain why it was restored by architects in the middle ages.

After you admire the high vaulted archways, frescoed by Carlo Urbini in the late 16th century, be sure to go down to the basement where the stones of the most impressive Roman monument of the city, the Amphitheatre, are concealed.

Another must-see landmark is the Mausoleum of San Aquilino where Milan's oldest and most precious mosaics are found, dating back to the 4th century.

The Columns of San Lorenzo - positioned in front of the entrance to the basilica - are from a previous period but were placed on the site during the construction of the basilica.

In the back of the Basilica is the Park of the Basilicas – known today as Piazza Vetra – which may have been a harbour in the past, but later was used for performing torture, hangings and executions. An 18th century monument was placed here to commemorate a cross that once stood in its place.

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