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Basilica of San Lorenzo, Milan

Basilica of San Lorenzo, 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 buildings in the west. 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.

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 room that look 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

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Milan, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Basilica of San Lorenzo on Map

Sight Name: Basilica of San Lorenzo
Sight Location: Milan, Italy
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Milan, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Milan

Create Your Own Walk in Milan

Creating your own self-guided walk in Milan is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Milan Introduction Walk

Milan Introduction Walk

Throughout its 2,000+ year-long history Milan has accumulated an impressive collection of architectural monuments, thanks to some of the best artists and architects this world had ever seen who blessed the city with their presence. Masterpieces like the Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral and the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, housing Leonardo da Vinci’s mural “The Last Supper,” vividly...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.2 Km or 3.9 Miles
Central Milan Souvenir Shopping

Central Milan Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Milan without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Milan, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
West Centro Walking Tour

West Centro Walking Tour

Milan is a city steeped in history, but also a strategic economic center for Italy, as well as an international fashion hub. Thousands of tourists are attracted to the city's striking historic sites, as well as designer shops and other great places to explore. Take this tour and visit the main sites in Milan's Centro Storico.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
East Centro Walking Tour

East Centro Walking Tour

Milan is a city steeped in history, but also a strategic economic center for Italy, as well as an international fashion hub. Thousands of tourists are attracted to the city's striking historic sites, as well as designer shops and other great places to explore. Take this tour and visit the main sites in Milan's Centro Storico.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Core of Centro Storico Walking Tour

Core of Centro Storico Walking Tour

Milan is a city that boasts both historic and modern architecture. It is also a strategic economic center for Italy and is home to the country's stock exchange. Thousands of tourists are attracted to the city's striking historic sites like the La Scala opera house and the famous Duomo, as well as designer shops and other great places to explore.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Religious Sights Walking Tour

Religious Sights Walking Tour

Milan may be a world fashion capital and an European financial capital, but religion, and "the church" in particular, remain a major part of Milanese life. Many of the churches that you see today have undergone reconstruction or renovation, as preserving historic and religious heritage is one of the city's priorities. Take this tour to visit some of the most notable places of...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 Km or 3.5 Miles

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Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Italian Goods Worth Buying in Milan

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