San Nazaro

Piazza San Nazaro (Corso di Porta Romana) • M3 Missori

San Nazaro is one of the churches founded by Sant’Ambrogio in 382 AD: it was damaged by fire in the 12th century and rebuilt in Romanesque style, though preserving the general Paleochristian shape and structure. In about 1520, Bramantino built the “Trivulza”, a chapel dedicated to a family of knights who served both the Visconti and the Sforza dynasties, onto the front, hiding the original facade. The tombs are now empty: later in the 16th century, Carlo Borromeo, archbishop of Milan, decreed that from then on only saints could be buried in churches, and so the remains of the Trivulzios were removed.

Some of the original Paleochristian structures can be seen just inside the glass entrance door that leads from the Trivulza into the church. The single nave is typically Paleochristian. In the right transept there is a painting of the “Last Supper” by Bernardino Lanino, 1550 circa; in the left transept there is an early 16th-century piece of gilded German sculpture dedicated to the Adoration of the Magi.

The Santa Caterina chapel, half way down the left hand side of the nave, is a Renaissance structure with frescoes by Lanino and G. Battista della Cerva, dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Have a look at the apse from outside: it represents the earliest surviving Romanesque architecture in Milan.