Basilica di Sant'Eustorgio

Price guide: Budget

Piazza Sant'Eustorgio 1, Milan, 20122

Price guide: Budget

Portinari Chapel, Basilica di Sant'Eustorgio
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#19 of 20
expert-rated things to do in Milan
Expert overall rating:4.5 out of 5
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Recommended for:
Backpackers / Students, Couples, Culture vultures, Families with teenagers, Seasoned travellers, Art, Design and architecture, History

Expert review of Basilica di Sant'Eustorgio

Immerse yourself in tales of saints and martyrs from Roman to medieval times.

Although it is primarily a 12th-century church dedicated to Sant’Eustorgio (elected 9th Bishop of Milan in 343 and now buried in the crypt), this beautiful basilica stands on a much older church. St Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, supposedly built the first church here to house the remains of the Three Magi, brought back with her ship-load of Christian relics from the Holy Land. Frederic Barbarossa stole them in 1162, but some of the bones were returned in 1903. They now live in a small side chapel in an urn on the Altar of the Magi. 

Next to the church a separate entrance leads through to the cloister of the former Dominican convent and the Museo Diocesano. From here, steps lead down to the paleo-Christian burial site, once outside the city walls. The graves date back to the early 4th century, just before Constantine converted to Christianity, and belong to those martyred for their faith.

Another room off the cloister houses the church treasures, but the great highlight is the fabulous early Renaissance Portinari Chapel, designed by Michelozzo (1462-68) and painted by Vincenzo Foppa between 1455 and 68. A rainbow dome of painted scales soars above the elaborate marble tomb of St Peter the Martyr.

Price advice: 

Entrance to the church is free; entry to the museum costs six euros, three euros concessions.

Expert tips: 
There is a pink building to the left of the church as you enter. This is supposedly the sight of the spring used by St Barnabas to baptise the very first Christians to convert in Milan in the first century.

More information on Basilica di Sant'Eustorgio:

Price guide:
Architectural site, Historic site, Religious site
Piazza Sant'Eustorgio 1, Milan, 20122
02 5810 1583
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Church open Mon-Sun 7.45am–5pm. Museum Mon-Sun 10am–6pm.

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