The basilica and the Cloisters of San Simpliciano


Located in a small square alongside Corso Garibaldi in Milan, there’s a less known Church but very important for milanese history: San Simpliciano Cathedral.
Simplicianus was contemporaneous to Ambrosius, the arcibishop with the most influential ecclesiastical figure of the 4th century and patron saint of Milan.
The Cathedral was founded by Ambrosius himself, but the Church we can visit today is the result of several transformations during its millenary history.


Thanks to the archaeologists and to the historicists, it’s possible to date all the architectural changes:
Originally the Church consisted of a single nave and no side chapels. In the Eleventh Century the nave was divided with two series of columns. while in the twelfth the big original windows were closed transforming dramatically the internal light to a medieval dark Church.
Obviously the facade had, as well, a complex development: if the tented roof and the two lateral portals were opened in the nineteenth century, the central portal dates back to the XII century.


Starting from the XV century lateral chapels were added to the original building, resulting in a enlarging of the original body.


The history of this Church is linked to organists. In the picture below there’s an Organ built during 1897 by Vincenzo Mascioni.


The apse is decorated with the ‘Coronation of the Virgin’, a beautiful fresco of Bergognone (1507).


A Votive Chapel recently restored, just next to the church (fifth century), and connected only later to the transept of the basilica, is now used as a sacristy.


The cloisters del capitolo and delle due colonne date back to the fifteenth century, when the church was annexed to the monastery of the congregation Cassinese in 1517.


Pictures © 2013 Rimoldi Marco and by Luca Volpi.

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