• San Bernardino alle Ossa - The Bone Church
  • San Bernardino alle Ossa - The Bone Church
  • San Bernardino alle Ossa - The Bone Church
  • San Bernardino alle Ossa - The Bone Church
  • San Bernardino alle Ossa - The Bone Church

Okay… Yes, Fashion has gone nuts in the last decade with the fixation on skulls and bones but today we are going to take you to one of the creepiest churches in Milan!

The famous San Bernardino alle Ossa (literally translated as San Little Bernard at the Bones!). The story behind this church is quite fascinating. Dating back to 1127, it was originally built close to a leprosy colony and its related cemetery grounds. In 1679, one of the architects that worked at the Duomo Factory (a topic for a future post.), Carlo Buzzi restores the church following the trend of using skulls and bones to decorate the walls of the prayer chapel.

But for us the most fascinating aspect of our visit was that underneath the bone decorated chapel is the Secret Crypt of the Disciplines of San Bernardino alle Ossa which is off limit to tourist. In this Crypt the bodies of the members of a secular Brotherhood that had assisted the lepers and the condemned to death, were left to decompose dressed in their tunics sitting in stones niches.The position would allow the decomposition of the bodies to represent the total abandonment of material matters.This portion of the church was discovered in 1931 but few people have had access to it.

Photos:Zoe Beltran

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