Cultural Italy Blog: Art, Coffee & Love

Milan is ready for Christmas!


Milan is ready for Christmas!

Did you know that Milan has a special day for setting up Christmas decorations? While the rest of the world does it somewhere in late November or early December, northern Italians have the feast of Saint Ambrose, when they pull out Santa, garlands and other winter toys from their dusty boxes. Each year on December 7, Milan’s main Christmas tree switches on along with other thousands of cozy city Christmas lights and tiny home nativity scenes (presepe) that every Italian family gets ready for the Eve.

Saint Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan, was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. The church named after him, Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, is one of the most ancient churches in Milan. Built in 379 -386, it is a unique and perhaps the most precious landmark of Milan both in terms of culture and architecture. 

Visiting the church today is a unique experience. Built in brickwork of different origins, the austere Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio is a breathtaking ensemble of forms and colors. The portico’s arcade supported by massive pillars brings toward the hut-shaped façade with two orders of loggias, completed by the two uneven bell towers. The spectacular Sant’Ambrogio’s patio and the church itself is something you simply cannot miss if you go to Milan. Especially in winter.  

Maria Novozhilova


twitter: @NovozhilovaM