Colonne di San Lorenzo

    Nightlife in Milan and a vast heritage of history

    The Colonne di San Lorenzo are a row of columns in front of the Basilica of San Lorenzo. Today they are familiar as a focal point of nightlife in Milan, and they can be included in our Milan guided tours. They have a long history, and have been there since about the 4th-5th century A.D. They were originally installed to provide an architectural feature to the front of the portico built in front of the church.

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    San Lorenzo is one of the oldest churches in Milan dating back to approximately 390 A.D. It has the central plan typical of imperial basilicas, a style that reached its height with Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. But it was less fortunate from a structural point of view, and the dome collapsed in 1103, again in 1124, and yet again in 1573. For this reason, from outside, the dome is in late Renaissance style. The emperor Constantine – who granted freedom of religion to the Christians in 313 A.D. – appears in the area between the columns and the church, in a bronze copy of a statue that can be seen in the church of San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome.

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    The columns
    The 16 Corinthian columns have been there since about the 4th century A.D. They were moved to their present position from a Ancient Roman temple nearby.

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    Parco delle Basiliche
    Over the centuries, many houses were built abutting the various structures of the Basilica of San Lorenzo. These were extensively damaged by air-raids during World War II, and their removal opened up a park that provides exceptional viewpoints of San Lorenzo, and enables you to stroll down to another historic church, Sant’Eustorgio. This is famous for its gigantic sarcophagus that once housed the remains of the Three Kings, and the beautiful Portinari Chapel with its Renaissance frescoes by Vincenzo Foppa.
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    Night life Milan-style
    If you are looking for things to do in Milan that satisfy all tastes, the area around Colonne di San Lorenzo is a good choice because it enables you to combine explorations of art and history with forays into Milan’s buzzing nightlife. Here you can try the famous aperitivo and Milan’s happy hour concept, in which you can accompany the city’s classic cocktails – for example, the Negroni, Negroni Sbagliato, and Campari Spritz – with appetizing finger-food and a cool soundtrack. Your Friend in Milan can recommend the best places for the perfect end to a Milan walking tour.