San Vincenzo in Prato

Milan, Italy

San Vincenzo in Prato is the only church in Milan which has entirely maintained its original Palaeo-Christian appearance. The first church was founded by the Lombard king Desiderius in 770, who dedicated it to the Virgin Mary. Later it was entitled to St. Vincent, when the latter's relics were found in an urn in the crypt, together with those of St. Quirinus and St. Nicomedes (859) and St. Abundius. The name in Prato derives from its location in the 'pratum' (in the field) area owned by bishop Odelpertus.

In 806 a Benedictine convent was added to the church; in the late years of the same century and in the early 10th century the church, in dismaying conditions, was rebuilt, but with similar appearance. The octagonal baptistery on the exterior, on the left, was built by architect Paolo Mezzanotte in year 1932, and includes a column-shaped font called Pietra santa (the Saint Stone) coming from the ancient church of S. Nazaro in Pietra Santa, which was demolished in year 1889 during the construction of the new Via Dante. The convent was suppressed in 1520 and in 1598 the church was restored and turned into a parish.

The basilica measures c. 40 x 20 m, and is in brickwork. The interior is on a nave and two aisles with wooden spans ceiling. The columns are from different ages. The elevated choir ends with a large apse. Under the presbytery is the crypt, which has also a nave and two aisles divided by ten small columns with sculpted capitals.

San Vincenzo lies on the founding of a Roman temple or oratory built along the way to Vigevano probably dedicated to Juppiter, which was located within a Roman necropolis (of which some remains are visible in the external left walls of the church).



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Founded: 770 AD
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Renato Aiminio (2 years ago)
Bella chiesa romanica, da scoprire in un crocevia milanese nel verde.
Antonio Cesare Bernardi (2 years ago)
Bella antica chiesa che, pur rimaneggiata e, in parte, ricostruita nei secoli, conserva la struttura essenziale della basilica romana. Da visitare con più calma includendo, tra l'altro la cripta.
Thomas Ozbun (3 years ago)
A lesser known of the main basilicas in the city it is another one of the oldest churches of Milan. Founded in the 8th century it still presents a typical paleochristian structure and style, probably the only one left in the city still presenting this kind of style which was very common in the city´s early history. Very simple and unadorned it is quite nice to check out especially since there are no tourists around and it feels very peaceful. The crypt is the highlight of the building.
Alberto Allia (3 years ago)
Chiesa in stile romanico essenziale con livello della chiesa situato più in basso rispetto al livello stradale attuale. Anche la cripta è ulteriormente ribassata, l' altare risulta invece rialzato. Decorazioni minimali ma l'atmosfera è d'impatto con vetrate colorate e chiaroscuri di rilievo. L'organo riserva concerti d'eccezione.
Antonio Vergallo (3 years ago)
La basilica di San Vincenzo in Prato è una chiesa di Milano seminascosta in mezzo ai palazzi tra le vie Daniele Crespi, Cesare da Sesto e via Ariberto. Si tratta dell'unica chiesa milanese che conservi un autentico stile paleocristiano, simbolo della semplicità; per l'assenza di sovrapposizioni di altri stili. La prima più antica chiesa fu fondata dal re longobardo Desiderio, nell'anno 770, che la dedicò alla Vergine. Poi mutò dedicazione in San Vincenzo, perché furono trovate le sue spoglie, conservate in urna nella Cripta, assieme a quelle di San Quirino e Nicomede, trovate nel 859, e di Sant'Abbondio trovate nel 1000. Nel 806 fu aggiunto alla chiesa un monastero benedettino, e tra il IX e XI secolo, i monaci ricostruirono la chiesa ormai cadente, ma sullo stesso impianto ed aspetto. Nel 1520 il monastero fu soppresso e nel 1598 la chiesa fu restaurata ed adibita a parrocchia. E' una chiesa molto semplice, senza grandi opere al suo interno, ma molto tranquilla e ben tenuta.
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