Sant’Ambrogio “under siege”: una voce europea contro il parcheggio

Pubblicato: febbraio 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

Riceviamo dal sito e volentieri pubblichiamo, come espressamente richiesto dagli autori: “Milan is famous for Il Duomo, La Scala and its shopping centres. However, at the outskirts of the medieval town is a peaceful haven, Sant’Ambrogio, which is not to be missed. The church is unfortunately currently under threat due to a plan from 2000 to erect an underground parking facility with five stories, holding 586 parking spaces. The building operations began in 2010 and are currently under way to be completed in 2013. Seen from afar, it seems a good idea. A city like Milan is in need of parking spaces outside the medieval centre and the location is right next to a metro station. Further it will be placed underground, thus securing a minimum of “visual stress”. Finally the result will be a street closed for other traffic with trees and benches framing the portico to the ancient church.

On the other hand the ancient church dating in parts from the 5th century and not least its medieval towers are feared for by a number of engineers and building experts. The church was heavily bombed during WW2 and the rebuilding was not particular robust. And then of course there are three years of rumbling noise and dust from the building site to be reckoned with, destroying a peaceful haven, which should be protected according to a number of historians and artists. Why not just close the street off for traffic, create the park and let the piazza in front of the church at peace, ask the opponents?

As of now, Europa Nostra, has entered the fracas in a bid to get the city council to rescind the building permit. Further the public prosecutor is currently investigating the political process leading up to the permit. The problem of course is that a rescind will end up costing millions of Euro as the private parking spaces have already been sold at €50.000 each, and the building company has started construction.

The church of St. Ambrose is an evocative place. Originally it was one of three churches built by the bishop in 379 – 386 and carried the name “Basilica Martyrum”. Later it was to be his burial place and the church was renamed after him. He still lies in the crypt underneath the altar, which is a magnificent golden shrine commissioned app. 824 – 859. The frontal is covered with images worked in gold and decorated with gems, pearls and multi-colored enamel set with filigree. Unfortunately it is usually impossible for tourists to view the shrine in detail as it is cased in glass and roped off. It is the first of the so-called “Golden Altars”, which later came to be prominent all over Europe.

After WW2 the original basilica was excavated. Surviving foundations indicate it had two side aisles, a marble floor, a semicircular apse, and a four-columned baldacchino over the high altar. The west facade has never been located, but the church had a large west porch on the same foundations as the present one. If so, it was a huge complex of more than 90 meters long and 30 meters wide, larger than contemporary basilicas in Rome.

It is in front of this porch that the current building activities are taking place.

The formal appeal of Europa Nostra

The best virtual experience of Sant’Ambrogio



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