San Cristoforo is a lovely, ancient and charming little church situated along the banks of the Navigli.
It is not very well known, in fact it’s one of the smallest churches in Milan, but it has a rare feature: it’s a double church!
The reason for this peculiarity is quickly explained: the first church (the one on the left) is of medieval origins and was rebuilt in 1192 (the other pre-existent one was a small chapel built on an ancient pagan temple), while the right church, called the Ducal Chapel, dates back to the fifteenth century and was erected under the patronage of Gian Galeazzo Visconti as a votive chapel for the cessation of the plague.
The Ducal Chapel was named not only after San Cristoforo, but also dedicated to the saints Giovanni Battista, Giacomo and Cristina, protectors of the Visconti, to commemorate the victory of the Battle of Alessandria on July 25 (feast of St. Christopher) 1391.
On the facade there are two important symbols: the coat of arms of the Visconti family and the symbol of Milan with its red cross on the white background.
From the outside we can still admire the rare bell tower with its cone cusp and monofore: it’s the only one of this type still preserved in Milan.
Inside the church there are few and beautiful Renaissance frescoes worth seeing. Among those there are: the Annunciation, the Crucifixion, the Eternal Father and the four Evangelists, the Blessed Christ (a work done under the Byzantine influence, a rarity in Milan), and the Madonna on the throne with the Child between the Saints.
The latter is one of the rare frescoes of the early Fifteenth Century signed by the author: his name is Bassanolo de Magistris.
There are also three well preserved wooden statues: two of St. Christopher and one of St. Joseph.
Did you know?
Monday to Sunday from 8am to 5.30pm
For more information: +39 02 48951413
Location: Via S. Cristoforo, 3, 20144 Milano
Enjoy your visit 😉