Not many people known that Milan was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire during the reign of Imperator Diocletian, nor that right here emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan that allowed Christianity to become the dominant religion in the Empire. Just bits and pieces remained from this glorious historical period, however, if you try hard enough you may collect all these pieces and try to imagine how Milan once looked like. There are in total 14 ancient sights that are connected to the Roman period and testify of the importance of this city. All of these 14 sights will be covered on this page.
The Basilica of San Lorenzo is one of the oldest churches in Milan and it dates back to the Roman period. Even though the columns in front of it (called Colonne di San Lorenzo) were brought to this place in the midlevel period, the columns themselves are even older than the church. Apart from its historical significance it is also an area where there are a lot of bars and restaurants and it is a very popular nightlife zone.
Basilica of Sant’ Ambrogio or Saint Ambrose is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture with the heritage sixteen centuries old. This basilica was commissioned by Bishop Ambrose and it is one of the oldest religious buildings in Milan. In this basilica one can still see the remains of the Saint Ambrose who died in the 4th century, whilst the Chapel of St Victor is very well known for the golden mosaics which date back to the beginning of the 6th century.
Basilica of Sant Eustorgio is an important religious site of Milan. One can visit this beautiful cathedral free of charge, or even choose to have a look at the Museum of Sent Eustorgio.
In the center of Piazza Missori there are still visible remains of the ancient Basilica of Saint Giovanni. This church was most probably built in the 4th century. It was reconstructed in the 11th century and rebuilt again in the 13th century after it was destroyed by Frederick I, known as Frederick Barbarossa, in 1162. A bell tower 24 meters high was added to the basilica.
The Imperial Palace was constructed during the period of August Maximianus (286 AD) when Mediolanum became the capital of the Western Roman Empire. It occupied the western part of the city and it was a city in itself. It was a multifunctional structure with a full autonomy from the rest of the city. It had all the bare necessities, fittings and fixtures for the imperial court: Roman baths, religious buildings, administrative, military and residential sections. Thus, what is left to be seen in Via Brisa represents just one of many sectors of the Imperial complex.