- Art & Culture
The Underground Milan – The hidden archaeological areas
Guided visit to the Underground Milan: Baptistery of the Duomo and Crypt of San Giovanni in Conca
A guided tour of Milan’s underground passages, which conceal a hidden city. Descend to a depth of four metres to experience one of the most mysterious and fascinating routes to discover the Underground Milan. From the archaeological area of the Duomo to the Crypt of San Giovanni in Conca, step by step, it will be like walking back in time: among legends, ancient and archaeological symbols, we discover the foundation of the ancient city of Mediolanum.
Piazza del Duomo seen and Milan… from underground!
This guided itinerary, full of mystery and secrets, is below the ground!
Mysterious underground Milan: the sights are all below ground level. There is another city under Milan: archaeological Milan, which in its subterranean depths recounts a thousand years of history and secrets, with crypts, wells, tunnels, canals, tombs and hiding places. The sights of Milan can be seen in the daylight every day but what is left of the Celtic, Roman or medieval Milan? Has everything been discovered or are there still parts to be explored? We took you to the air-raid shelters along the canal of the Martesana. We are waiting to be able to go under the Stazione Centrale. With our guided tour of “Underground Milan”, this time we are going several feet below Piazza Duomo and we can discover immediately that here there were once several basilicas and baptisteries. Underneath the large parvis of the Duomo, about 12 feet below the level of the square, we will find the archaeological complex that represents the oldest nucleus of Milanese Christianity. Near a stretch of Roman road, thanks to our guides, you will be able to imagine the octagonal building of the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Conca, built in the times of St. Ambrose in 386 AD, which then ended up under the foundations of the Duomo. Walking through the remains of the opus sectile floors and a fragment of a 13th century fresco, there will appear the traces of two apses of the Basilica of Santa Tecla, dating back to the middle of the 4th century.
The “important” ruins in Piazza Missori
The guided tour does not end here: after a breath of fresh air, we will once again delve into the history of underground Milan, visiting the Crypt of San Giovanni in Conca. Have you ever passed through Piazza Missori and noticed the semi-circular ruins of an ancient building, scattered in the midst of the city’s traffic? Which historical period do they belong to? When the traffic lights change, the thought has already vanished. These are the remains of the ancient church of San Giovanni in Conca, but are nothing compared to what is hidden under the ground. On this itinerary, the guide will take you under the arches of the only Romanesque crypt existing in Milan: you will be under a cross vault supported by 18 slim columns, with a pool and sarcophaguses. Enjoy this marvellous sight and imagine what one of the most important Milanese religious complexes must have been like. If you happen to be in Via Francesco Sforza…don’t forget to notice the “reassembled” façade of the church before the new Waldensian evangelical church!
Plunged into the history and the past of Milan, looking up and imagining the dozens of people walking above your heads, unaware of what is below them, will make a strong impression on you…