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The basilica of San Nazaro in Brolo or San Nazaro Maggiore is a church in Milan, northern Italy.

San Nazaro in Brolo
IMG 5599 - Milano - S. Nazaro Maggiore - Foto Giovanni Dall'Orto - 21-2-2007.jpg
Façade with the Trivulzio Mausoleum.
AffiliationRoman Catholic
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusBasilica
Geographic coordinates45°27′31″N 9°11′33″E / 45.45861°N 9.19250°E / 45.45861; 9.19250Coordinates: 45°27′31″N 9°11′33″E / 45.45861°N 9.19250°E / 45.45861; 9.19250
View of the interior of the church


The church was built by St. Ambrose starting from 382 on the road that connected Milan (then Mediolanum) to Rome. It was originally dedicated to the Apostles, and thus known as Basilica Apostolorum.


As explained by an inscription in the church written by Ambrose himself, the church's plan was on the Greek Cross with apses on the arms, a feature present only in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. In front of the basilica was a porticoed atrium. Under the basilica's altar were housed the relics of the Apostles, which are still present. In 397, when the body of St. Nazarus was discovered, a new apse was created. Serena, niece of emperor Theodosius I, donated the marbles for the sacellum housing the relics and also embellished the rest of the church.

The apse of the right arm has a portal with a false porch. The ceiling of the nave, originally consisting of wooden spans, was replaced by a groin vault during the Middle Ages. The walls are original. Also in this age the Romanesque-style octagonal tambour, featuring a circular loggia with small columns, was added over the arms' crossing.

Starting from 1512, Bramantino built the Trivulzio Mausoleum, which obstructs the Palaeo-Christian façade.


See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Weitzmann, Kurt, ed., Age of spirituality: late antique and early Christian art, third to seventh century, no. 585, 1979, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, ISBN 9780870991790

External linksEdit