Of course, if you say San Marco, the first thing that comes to mind is Venice and the well-known and hyper-photographed square. But what if we are in Milan instead? In the Brera area there is a small jewel of architecture and history: the Church of San Marco which overlooks the small square that every year hosts, among others, the famous Floralia event .
San Marco church history and architecture
San Marco is among the most important Milanese churches thanks to the artistic and historical richness that distinguish it. It was founded in 1254 by friar Lanfranco Settala , prior of the order of the Eremitani di Sant’Agostino, on the same spot where a building dedicated to San Marco once stood in honor of the Venetians who had fought alongside the Milanese Barbarossa .
The church combines different artistic styles. The first that catches the eye is on the external facade built by Maciachini according to the neo-Gothic canons but enriched by the medieval portal and the statues of the saints. Continuing the path outside, you will find the Roman style on the right side and the transept and the Gothic bell tower.
Entering the church of San Marco you notice that here too there is a riot of different styles scattered along the three naves and in the presbytery area. The church, which from the outside would seem small, inside reveals itself to be very large, striking for its size (96 meters in length).
Paintings and frescoes have been made over the years by artists such as Vincenzo Foppa , while Legnanino who created the altarpiece depicting San Marco.
Finally, in the church there is the crib of San Marco which was attributed to the Londonio and dates back to the eighteenth century . The particularity of the work is its construction technique: it seems that it is in paper as per the traditions spread in the seventeenth century with oil paintings on papier-mâché then glued onto the wood.
Curiosities in San Marco: from art to Mozart to Verdi
The church of San Marco offers several curiosities, first of all its being full of surprises. For years, in fact, moving furniture or for natural events such as plaster falls, other artistic treasures have been discovered. In fact, it seems that the loss of plastering in the third chapel on the left has brought out the Madonna with Child and San Giovannino which for a long time was attributed to Leonardo but which, more likely, was made by Bernardino Luini .
The Church of San Marco is also known for having hosted a young Mozart in the nearby rectory for three months. But this living room is not the only important and well-known musical detail. In fact, it seems that Verdi performed his Requiem on May 22, 1874 on the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of Manzoni.
Church of San Marco: visiting hours
The Church of San Marco is located in the homonymous square, a stone’s throw from Brera at number 2 and can be visited every day from 7 to 12 and from 16 to 19 . Masses are held on weekdays at 7.45, 9.30 and 18.30, while on holidays and Sundays at 9.30 to 12 and 18.30.