late 11th-early 12th century (dating is debated)

Entrance into atrium and front facade

Like early Christian basilicas, this Romanesque church has an atrium or colonnaded court in front of and attached to the church. It has a two-story narthex, or entry porch, with arches on both floors. Many Lombard churches, like this one, are built of brick; the clay in this region fires to a deep red. Lombard churches are also characterized by tall square belfreys. The south tower (right), the Old Monk's Tower, dates to the 10th century whereas the taller north tower, the Canon's Tower, is dated in the 12th century. The huge gable over the nave and aisles is also characteristic of Lombard churches.

The north, or Canon's Tower, is typically Lombard. Tall and square, it has pilaster strips and corbel tables (horizontal projections resting on corbels) and is divided into five registers above the eaves of the church. The top register, with open arches, is for the bell.


The atrium and octagonal crossing tower


Late 15th century additions

In the late 15th century Bramante designed three cloisters for Sant'Ambrogio and its adjacent monastery. The Porta della Canonica was designed in the 1480's-90's.

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Copyright Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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