• LOCATION 21 | The Mysteries of Milan: From the Duomo to the Royal Palace


    Continue on and veer to the right following the side of the church.

    This is one of four basilicas built outside the ancient Roman walls by the city’s patron Saint Ambrose. The hugely popular Ambrose was the city’s governor and very reluctantly became its bishop. But no sooner was he in office than he warmed to his new calling and was able to indulge in his favourite hobby, building churches and baptistries. This one was to house the relics of the Apostles and Saint Nazarus to whom it’s dedicated. Dating back to 386 it was the first church in the world with a ground plan in the shape of a Latin cross and it’s one of the best surviving examples of ancient Milanese architecture.

    Just before you move on, stop for a few seconds to take in the street to your left called via Pantano. That means marshy road because this was in effect swamp land two thousand years ago. You’ll see the brutalist Velasca Tower dominating the view in the distance. Some people find it ugly and although it might be something of a glaring contrast with the picturesque house at no. 28 this is one of the most iconic views in Milan for me and represents what this city is all about. It was built between 1955 and 1957 by famous Milanese architects Studio BBPR and its striking modernity was a deliberate attempt to create a building that would symbolize the rebirth of a city that was looking to the future after the bombings of World War 2.

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The Mysteries of Milan: From the Duomo to the Royal Palace