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Thursday, February 09, 2023

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If you are in Milan, your itinerary must include a visit to the church of San Bernardino alle Ossa.

To reach it, if you arrive from Via Festa del Perdono (Missori M3), where the headquarter of the University of Milan is located, go straight on and you will get there soon. Alternatively, you can also reach the building from Via Giuseppe Merlo and stop at the number four of the street.

The construction of the church began in the second half of the 13th century and was completed during the 18th century, due to the numerous accidents that occurred over time, which involved several phases of reconstruction.

The particularity that makes this church a suggestive destination is its ossuary chapel, which you will find on your right as soon as you enter. Inside, the chapel is completely covered with skulls and tibias on the walls. Many of them were provided after the closure of the local hospital in 1652, where the University is now located.

Despite the fact that the sight could look creepy to you, it will take your breath away, especially if you look at the marvellous frescoes in the vault made by Sebastiano Ricci (1659-1734) entitled: Triumph of Souls and Flying Angels and Glory of the four saints protectors, realised during the reconstruction of the chapel in 1695.

Your astonishment will be not only for the artistic wonders of this place, but also for what that place will be able to transmit to you, it could be a sense of calm, a tranquility that in few places in Milan you can perceive.

Sit down and look around, you will find it strange as a place of worship, where different artistic periods intersect. A macabre atmosphere pervades the room, where life and death are on the same level. It is a place where you can let your thoughts flow, taking a break from your life just to think and meditate.

For those who like mysteries, this place is linked to a a belief that every November 2nd, the Day of the Dead, a little girl, whose bones can be found near the altar of the ossuary, returns to live dragging the other skeletons in a macabre dance.

The entrance for the chapel is completely free and you can you visit it from Monday to Saturday from 7:30 to 12:00 and from 1 pm to 6 pm.

Copyright photos 1 and 2: Lorenzo Bertini

Copyright photo 3: flawlessmilano.com

L. Bertini
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