Milan and the lost churches: FLR supports the excavation of San Dionigi in Milan


The Luigi Rovati Foundation supported the research project of the Soprintendenza Archeologia belle arti e paesaggio for the metropolitan city of Milan for the continuation of archaeological excavations in the area of the public gardens of the bastions of Porta Venezia related to the project "Ambrosian Churches: San Dionigi, the missing church."


A historical, archival and archaeological study with the execution of targeted excavations, aimed at deepening the knowledge of extra-mural churches of Ambrosian foundation, particularly the complex of the lost church of San Dionigi.

The aim is thus to investigate their stratigraphy, architectural typology, symbolic and identity significance, cast, in particular, in the imago urbis. The church of St. Dionysius was one of the four founded by Ambrose, bishop of Milan from 374, who together with St. Nazaro, St. Ambrose and St. Simplician formed a quadrilateral or, according to others, a cross. The churches were strategically located outside the walls and near the city gates. Next to the surviving Ambrosian basilicas of St. Nazaro, St. Ambrose and St. Simplician there was a fourth church, that of St. Dionysius. Its location was identified, thanks to excavations undertaken in October-November 2017, near the ramparts of Porta Venezia (present-day Giardini Montanelli).

Additional excavations were conducted from March 26 to April 8, 2019, which not only fixed the location of the church but also allowed the rediscovery of wall structures dated to the 4th century and reused brick masonry dated to the 9th century (Carolingian age), probably to be related to renovations.