The Rotonda della Besana is a former baroque church in Milan, built towards the end of the 17th century. A cemetery was built at the same time as the church. In the 18th century it was converted into a hospital and now the building serves as the seat of a museum for children.
Rotonda della Besana Milan
Address, opening hours and ticket price
The address of this tourist attraction is Via Enrico Besana, 12 – 20122 Milano (tel. +39 020202). Tram: 9, 12, 23, 27. Opening hours: Monday: 14.30 – 19.30; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday: 9.30 – 19.30; Thursday, Saturday: 9.30 – 22.30. Entrance fee: 6 Euro (discount: 4 Euro).
History and description
Originally there was a cemetery here, for people who had died in the nearby Ospedale Maggiore. This hospital was housed in the Ca’ Granda.
Construction of the cemetery started in 1695. The architect Attilio Arrigoni started building the church in that same year. He made a simple brick building with a floor plan in the shape of a Greek cross. In 1713 the church, dedicated to San Michele, was completed.
Between 1719 and 1731, Francesco Croce built an arcade in the shape of a flower petal around the church. He also renovated the church.
In 1783, the Rotonda della Besana was closed. It stood empty for a while before becoming a hospital where people with contagious diseases were nursed.
In 1808, the Viceroy of Italy, Eugenio di Beauharnais, planned to turn the Rotonda into a kind of Pantheon where the greatest figures of the empire would be buried, but this did not happen because of the fall of Napoleon.
The church is now secularized and is only used for exhibitions and other cultural events. The garden is especially crowded on Sundays. Since 2013, the building houses the MUBA Museo dei Bambini di Milano.
There is an as yet unknown number of crypts under the portico surrounding the building.