• LOCATION 14 | The Mysteries of Milan: From the Duomo to the Royal Palace

    La Madonna dei Tencitt

    La Madonna dei Tencitt on Milan audio tour The Mysteries of Milan: From the Duomo to the Royal Palace

    Stop here at the corner by the dilapidated old building with brown shutters on the right. I want to show you a little curiosity that people pass by without giving a second glance.

    That’s because it’s now hidden out of sight behind this thick hedgerow of plants. So you'll need to go round to the right and venture behind them into the premises of Trattoria Cantina Piemontese or stand back and peek over the top. You'll to see a very faded image of the Madonna and saints behind glass protection on the wall.

    I'll give you a moment to find it.


    Have you spotted it?

    There's a photo of it now on your screen if you're unsure.

    Because this was such a disreputable, sinister neighbourhood, the local inhabitants were convinced that the the only reason the plague had spared them was because spells had been cast by a witch who lived here. In reality, the house was inhabited by the families of the coal porters who used to toil away amid grime and filth. They were known as the Tencitt because in Milanese dialect “tenc” means covered in dirt. The painting was paid for by the Chaplain of their Guild as thanksgiving for the end of the plague of 1630. That killed about 120 thousand people, more than half of the city’s population. It’s been there ever since but was behind closed shutters and only displayed on the 15th August, the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. But then a local Milanese lawyer, having survived a car crash, decided to pay for the restoration and put the painting behind glass so that it’s on view all the time. So there you have the Madonna of the Tencitt.

    Ok let's keep moving.

    Just continue in the same direction you've been going.

    Well if you come to this area when the schools are in you’ll see it brimming with students because this is Milan’s university district and the building on your right is part of its uni. Afterwards you'll have the chance of looking inside the courtyard.

    Keep going. You'll hear from me at the next junction.

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