The name San Marco normally conjures up visions of the Venetian Basilica but, actually,we'd like to reveal that Milan has its very 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 until the modern age. It was founded in 1254 by Lanfranco Settala, the first prior general of the Augustinians, and now stands upon the origins of a building dedicated to San Marco. It was constituted in honour of the Venetians who had fought with Milan against the fearsome Barbarossa.
Of its glorious past, the basilica still retains the bell tower and an imposing stone portal, attributed to Giovanni di Balduccio da Pisa (1320), topped with three statues depicting San Marco, Sant'Ambrogio and Sant'Agostino.
An informative plaque states that the church has hosted many important persons: in fact, at the end of the 18th century the young Mozart resided in the rectory for three months. Click here to discover all Mozart's places in Milan.
The Church of San Marco proudly conserves a wonderful and very ancient organ, dated from 1875.
It was restored to its ancient splendour in 2019 and resonated once again when Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem Mass, composed in honour of the recently-deceased Manzoni, was performed for the first time. The success of the ambitious restoration, which lasted more than a year and was particularly onerous, was due partly to donations from the faithful.
For those who love traditional Christmas symbolic representations, the Church of San Marco is well worth a visit as it has a unique papier-mâché nativity scene dating back to the mid-18th century.
The Church of San Marco is part of the "The churches of Milan... in all senses" 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.