The San Lorenzo Maggiore Basilica is an early Christian church in Milan. Highlights include the “Madonna del Latte” near the main altar and the Sant’Aquilino Chapel. The original church was built in the 4th century, but thanks to numerous renovations, architectural elements of a more recent date can also be seen.
San Lorenzo Maggiore Basilica Milan
Address, opening times and ticket price
The address of the Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore is Corso di Porta Ticinese, 39 – 20123 Milan (tel. +39 0289404129). Bus: 94. Streetcar: 3, 14. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 18:30 and Sunday from 09:00 to 19:00. Entrance fee: Free. Partially accessible for disabled people.
The original San Lorenzo Maggiore Church was built towards the end of the 4th century.As a result of fire damage or having collapsed, it underwent several restorations. The early Christian structure is therefore interspersed with Romanesque and 16th century elements.
The dome (the largest in Milan) had to be restored in the 16th century after it had partially collapsed.
The facade dates back to the 19th century.
The basilica was dedicated to San Lorenzo in the year 590.
What to see
The bronze statue in the church square is a copy of a statue of Emperor Constantine. The sixteen Corinthian columns that also stand in the square date back to Roman times.
The atrium contains fragments of mosaics from the 4th century.
The portal dates back to the end of the 1st century.
In 1573 the dome collapsed. Initially little money was available, but after a sick person had been cured before the effigy of the Madonna del Latte (then in the Piazza della Vetra), donations flooded in and the dome was restored. When, in 1626, all the repairs were completed, the painting was moved to the basilica, and placed near the high altar.
The four bell towers help support the dome. The left tower is partially truncated. The top of the right tower is decorated with triforas. The left tower, seen from Piazza Vetra behind the church, is similarly decorated.
The Cappella di Sant’Aquilino is an octagonal chapel covered entirely in polychrome marble with a loggia and mosaics dating back to the 4th century. This sanctuary is located on the east side of the basilica and is connected to it by a special corridor. The mosaics depict “Christ Surrounded by Apostles” and “The Dishonor of Elijah.” Originally it was an Imperial cemetery, probably built by Galla Placidia, son of Teodosio. The original dome is umbrella shaped.
Other interesting chapels are the Sant’Ippolito Chapel and the San Sisto Chapel. The former was built in the fourth century and is located behind the main altar, while the latter dates back to the sixth century.
A 3rd century sarcophagus can be seen to the right of the entrance.