Basilica of San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence Church - Oldest Church in Milan), Milan

Basilica of San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence Church - Oldest Church in Milan), Milan

Founded in the 4th century, Basilica of Saint Lawrence is the oldest church in Milan. Dedicated to Christian martyr St. Lawrence, it was among the largest church buildings in the Europe. Its foundations were laid with the huge blocks taken from other Roman sites and its interior was done is a unique manner with the lower half decorated with marble and the upper half adorned in mosaics.

The current Basilica of San Lorenzo was rebuilt in the 11th century. In the 16th century, it was redecorated and renovated. It has a dome and four towers and its structure is similar to that of Constantinople’s Hagia Sofia. Despite all the renovations, the church has retained the original Byzantine structure.

The church consists of an open central area surrounded by an ambulatory. The plan of the building is a quatrefoil with four semicircular recesses of two storey and five arches per recess. There is a separate gallery for female worshippers now disappeared to some extent. Baroque style was incorporated while reconstructing the original dome. Front of the church is lined with sixteen ancient Roman columns with the church retaining its original octagonal floor plan.

A copy of a statue of Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor, stands elegantly outside the church. The great dome, the highest in Milan, is a 16th century addition. A coffin in the chapel contains the remains of Galla Placidia, sister of Honorius, last emperor of Rome and wife of Ataulf. Behind the altar, a staircase leads to a room that looks like a tomb. It contains the original foundations made from the materials taken from a Roman arena.

The Basilica of S. Lorenzo underwent several fires and renovations. But the basilica maintained many of the ancient structure's elements. A huge quadrangular hall was built by using the materials from the columns of a 2nd century building. Probably built at the beginning of the 5th century, it lies opposite to the Basilica. At present, the columns are all that remains of the monumental hall front.

The chapel has an octagonal structure and is considered to be the most magnificent among the existing octagonal buildings of the Romans. The most precious treasure is represented by the bits and pieces of mosaics once used in decorating the whole place. The Basilica's style has an elementary role in western history of art and architecture, and has been reproduced many times.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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Basilica of San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence Church - Oldest Church in Milan) on Map

Sight Name: Basilica of San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence Church - Oldest Church in Milan)
Sight Location: Milan, Italy (See walking tours in Milan)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Milan, Italy

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Best Shopping Streets and Malls

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Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
City Center Museums and Galleries

City Center Museums and Galleries

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Milan Introduction Walking Tour

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Recognized as one of the world's four fashion capitals, Milan is also a global hub of design and a key tourist destination. The etymology of the name Milan remains uncertain. One theory holds that the Latin name Mediolanum comes from the Latin words medio (in the middle) and planus (plain).

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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Leonardo da Vinci's Masterpieces

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Over the nearly 20 years that Leonardo da Vinci spent in Milan, the maestro created a number of masterpieces of art, of which the incomparable Last Supper mural in the convent of Santa Maria della Grazie and the innovative ceiling fresco of the Sala delle Asse at the Castello Sforzesco are just a few. If you wish to explore these and other spectacular pieces of art, architecture and technology...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Historic Center Walking Tour

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Contained within the area once delimited by the medieval walls, the historic center of Milan encompasses the city's perhaps most famous landmarks and tourist attractions, such as the Duomo (cathedral), Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle shopping arcade and the Teatro alla Scala opera house, to mention but a few. Compact in size and easily walkable, the Centro Storico is just as full of historic...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles

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