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Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno

Foto Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno -  Churches / Religious buildings
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Milan - Churches / Religious buildings: Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in TrennoMostly represented styles: Baroque

Trenno is one of the many villages incorporated by Milan following its expansion. Of early medieval origins and autonomous municipality until 1923, Trenno is today located in the northwestern outskirts of the main city of Lombardy.

The Church of San Giovanni Battista is mentioned for the first time in a document of 1017. In the following centuries it was the master church of the pieve of Trenno. It should be remembered that a pieve was an ecclesiastical circumscription centered on a master church, that is on a church with a baptismal font.

However, the current church does not coincide with the one mentioned in the document of 1017. The latter standed in fact not far from the current one and today no longer exists. The church described on this page was erected in the middle of the seventeenth century (completed in 1657), in place of a previous church dedicated to Santa Maria, by the will of Cardinal Carlo Borromeo, designed by the architect Trezzi and thanks to the generosity of the provost F. Parravicino and of the flourishing confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.

The exterior of the current church of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno is completely plastered in white and almost devoid of decorations. The most peculiar element is represented by the façade in two orders, divided vertically by pilasters and characterized by a narthex that is in fact oversized compared to the rest of the church. The narthex was obtained in the '30s of the last century by walling an eighteenth-century portico. In fact, when you enter it, it can be noted that its internal wall is nothing but the lower part of the original façade (Fig. 3).
The upper part of the façade is occupied instead by a large window in the middle, flanked by two niches in which there are two frescoes, on the left of San Carlo, on the right of Sant'Ambrogio.
At the top there is a large tympanum with a fresco depicting Saint John the Baptist in the center. Overall, the style reminds that of the Church of San Fedele, not poor at all but nevertheless sober and severe.

On the back there is a deep semicircular apse.
The bell tower is instead Gothic (therefore still part of the previous church?), in exposed bricks and surmounted by a small hexagonal pyramid.

Internally, the church has a single nave, with two chapels on each side plus two on the two sides of the narthex. Of the latter two, the left one serves as a baptistery. The one on the right houses a painting by Giovanni Paolo Cavagna depicting San Girolamo (Fig. 4).
The interior is also marked by pilasters which reproduce the shapes of the external ones. At their top a trabeation that extends along all the walls, including those of the presbytery.
On the whole the church is rather dark because the windows are placed very high, leaving the lower parts not very illuminated.

About the four chapels in the nave:

  • Chapel of the Most Holy Rosary (second left, Fig. 5): Of typically Baroque style, it belonged for two centuries the confraternity with the same name. The altarpiece of the altar is richly decorated, with putti on the sides and at top an arched tympanum with a cherub head inside. At the center there is a niche that houses an eighteenth-century statue of the Virgin with Child.

  • Chapel of the Holy Magi (second right, large picture): It too is clearly baroque and as the previous one is equipped with a marble balustrade. The altarpiece, placed inside a richly decorated carved wooden frame, is represented by a large canvas of considerable importance and value by the German painter Johann Christofer Storer, one of the leading German Baroque painters of the seventeenth century, who lived in Milan from 1640 to 1657 and who was also pupil of Procaccini. A plaque in black marble recalls that the chapel was erected and furnished in 1668 by Count Camillo Melzi.

  • Chapel of the Sacred Heart (first left, Fig. 9): Until the closure of the atrium it was the baptistery. The decorations on the walls are from the first half of the twentieth century.


The deep presbytery includes two parts: a front square area and the circular apse. The lower part of the walls is occupied by the choir stalls.
On the bottom there is a baroque altar in polychrome marble made between 1735 and 1736. It is currently preceded by a double staircase that recalls in the materials the ancient part but that in the style reveals its modern origins.
On the walls, on the sides of the table, two frescoes made in the middle of the twentieth century and depicting two scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist.
At the base of the presbytery's arch there is a large carved wood beam decorated with plant elements and cherub heads.

On the counter-façade there are the organ and the eighteenth-century cantoria. The latter is embellished, on the lower face, by a trompe l'oeil decoration to simulate a coffered ceiling. On the balustrade, furthermore, we can still see depictions of Gospel episodes, unfortunately now very faded.

On the whole it can be noticed how the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno is very similar, by type and style, to the slightly more recent Church of Santa Maria Assunta al Vigentino. In both cases they were the main church of a small village. They are therefore not as rich and magnificent as the churches that were built inside Milan already at the time of their construction. The proximity to the city of Milan and the connections with the Milanese church, however, allowed them to be designed according to the most modern styles at that time and to be nevertheless equipped with at least some elements of preciousness typical of the churches of a large city.

If you are interested in a guided tour of this monument send an email!

Categories: Churches / Religious buildings


Piazza S. Giovanni, 4, 20151 Milano MI
Further pictures of the Chuch of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno in the section Photography
Milano : Interior of the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno
Milano: Chapel of the Magi in the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno
Milano: Adoration of the Magi by Johann Christofer Storer in the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno
Milano: Church of San Giovanni Battista in Trenno