The name San Marco normally conjures up visions of the celebrated Venetian Basilica, but Milan actually has its own Church of San Marco. Nestled in the streets of Brera, one of the city's most charmingly artistic districts, the Church of San Marco was the cradle of the Augustinians in Milan throughout the late Middle Ages and up to modern times. It was founded in 1254 by Lanfranco Settala, the first prior general of the Augustinians, and now stands upon a site originally dedicated to St. Mark. It was established in honour of the Venetians who had fought with Milan against the fearsome German Emperor Frederick I.
From its glorious past, the church still retains the bell tower and an imposing stone portal, attributed to Giovanni di Balduccio da Pisa (1320), topped with three statues depicting St. Mark, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine.
An informative plaque states that the church has hosted many important guests: at the end of the 18th century the young Mozart resided in the rectory for three months. Click here to discover all the places linked to Mozart in Milano.
The Church of San Marco proudly conserves a wonderful and very ancient organ, built in 1875.
It was restored to its ancient splendour in 2019 and resonated once again, just as it did when Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem Mass, composed in honour of the recently-deceased Manzoni, was performed in 1874 for the first time. The success of the ambitious restoration, which lasted more than a year and was particularly expensive, was in part made possible thanks to donations from the faithful.
For those who love traditional Christmas representations, the Church of San Marco is well worth a visit as it has a unique painted cardboard nativity scene dating back to the mid-18th century.
The Church of San Marco is part of the The churches of Milan... in every sense project: an itinerary for visually-impaired visitors where the interior of each edifice is narrated on a multisensory information panel that integrates visual, tactile and auditory communication thanks to innovative 3D printing techniques and the use of new technologies.