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Home> Destinations> Europe> Milan> See> Historical

The Abbeys South of Milan

Updated: 2015-01-28 / (turismo.milano.it)


THEME: Cultural

Itinery Description

Get to know how the old monastic communities lived, alternating working in the fields with prayer, seeking out architectural and artistic masterpieces and making a profit from the sale of various local products.

The proposed itinerary takes you south of Milan and allows you to get a very good idea of the historical and artistic wealth of the monastic civilization. The first stop on the itinerary is the Cascinazza Buccinasco, just a few kilometres from Milan, in the direction of Gudo Gambaredo. A group of Benedictine monks still lives here and, as well as engaging in prayer, they produce home-made beer that can be purchased in certain dealers in Lombardy. Amongst these is the Chiaravalle Abbey, the second stop on our itinerary, a quite impressive complex with its cloisters, monastery and guests’ quarters.

The Viboldone Abbey, situated in the municipality of San Giuliano Milanese, and the Mirasole Abbey, in the municipality of Opera, are also of great interest.

Continuing through the itinerary to the south of the city, it is possible to reach the Certosa di Pavia. It was built between 1396 and 1473 and is considered to be one of the greatest masterpieces of Lombard Renaissance art.


San Pietro e Paolo Community at the Cascinazza - Buccinasco

In this typical Lombard farmhouse, an all-male community of Benedictine monks lives and still carries out daily work in the fields and produces home-made beer according to an old monastic recipe.

Chiaravalle Abbey

The tower, known as “Ciribiciaccola”, is one of the many architectural and artistic attractions of the building. It is one of the most important Lombard Gothic works and was probably erected between 1330 and 1340. The interior of the church is also of notable importance, with its numerous frescoes, wooden choir stands and graffiti by Bramante. The courtyard is also interesting.

Viboldone Abbey

The sober style of the architecture is embellished by the numerous frescoes. Inside the church, there are frescoes that have been attributed to Tuscan painters taking refuge in Lombardy, such as the “Last Judgment”, which is attributed to Giusto de’ Menabuoi. The façade reaches a triangular point at the top and the brickwork is on display. Its bell tower displays a similar style to the chromatic and decorative work on the façade.

Mirasole Abbey

This is an example of farmhouse monastery where the various activities of its community were concentrated and it is divided into the courtyard, church, housing and farming land. The façade of the church is characterized by a rose window and two bass-reliefs in terracotta that date back to the end of the 14th century. The vault of the presbytery is frescoed with the figures of the four evangelists. The Holy Trinity encircled by angels and the Virgin Assumed are some of the frescoes present in the church.

Certosa di Pavia

Located around five kilometres from the city and to the north of the park, it is attached to the castle of Pavia. It was in this location, called “Torre del Mangano” that Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the duke of Milan, placed the first stone of the charterhouse on the 27th August 1396, during an opulent and festive city ceremony. The superb, Bramante-style façade was constructed between 1400 and 1500 and greets visitors with its magnificence. Inside, one finds themselves in front of a large courtyard and on the right, there is the Palazzo Ducale, built in 1625. The internal decorations, the work of Ambrogio da Fossano, also known as “il Bergognone”, Daniele Crespi and Perugino, the sarcophagus of Ludovico il Moro and Beatrice d’Este, the work of Cristoforo Solari, called “the hunchback”, are not to be missed.


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