The San Michele Vetere Church is the second most important church in Cremona after the Cathedral. This church was built in the early Middle Ages. Highlights include the crypt, the frescoes in the apse and a triptych by local artist Bernardino Campi.
San Michele Basilica Church Cremona
Address: Piazza San Michele, 3 – Cremona (tel. +39 0372 20962). Opening hours: 08.00 to 12.00 and 15.30 to 19.00. Entrance fee: Free.
History and description
The first documents mentioning the San Michel Vetere Church date back to the 8th century. A document from the 11th century testifies to a dilapidated building and the need to erect a new church. This new version was built in a Romanesque style.
From 1124 to 1190, the church served as the cathedral of Cremona.
The church had three naves. a presbytery and a crypt. Each nave ended in an apse.
In the 13th century, the semi-circular arches of the central nave were replaced by Gothic pointed arches.
The bell tower was built in 1848. A restoration in 1861 attempted to return the church to its original state.
In 1911, the cross vault was restored.
The facade is characterized by semi-circular columns that corrode the nave. There is a small rose window with two biforas.
What to see
The three naves are buttressed by rather thin marble columns. The side naves are flanked by multiple chapels. One of these chapels houses the “Nativity, San Leonardo and Santa Teodora” triptych painted by Bernardino Campi.
Another highlight is the “Christ the Judge” fresco in the apse, which was painted in the 12th century.
The crypt also consists of three naves. The capitals adorning the two rows of columns date from the early Middle Ages.
Near the main altar is a statue depicting “St Michael killing the Dragon”.