San Bernardino alle Ossa Milan

Image by Matteo Banchi

San Bernardino alle Ossa – Unusual church

This particular church always makes me feel a mix between scared and amazed. The church of San Bernardino was built in 1269, next to a room intended to accommodate the bones from the dall’antistante cemetery. This room later became an ossuary.

The interior walls of the ossuary, a square, are almost entirely covered with skulls and bones that were found in the ancient ossuary, along with those exhumed in cemeteries abolished after the closing of the local hospital, which took place in 1652.

All the bones were placed in niches, on the ledge, adorning the pillars and the doors. Many have suggested that these bones correspond to many Christian martyrs killed by the Arian heretics in the time of St. Ambrose, but the idea does not seem to hold up as they appear to belong to hospital patients who died in Brolo.

In 1738 King John V of Portugal was so impressed by the chapel that he decided to copy it in every detail to make it equal to erect Evora, near Lisbon.

Only for the brave.

💚 Offline Milan tips? 👉 Get our app for iPhone / Android

Details about this spot



via Verziere 2, Milan

Telephone number


Opening Times

08:00 - 21:00 daily


Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)