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Church of San Pietro Celestino

Foto Church of San Pietro Celestino -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Church of San Pietro Celestino -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Church of San Pietro Celestino -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Church of San Pietro Celestino -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Church of San Pietro Celestino -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Church of San Pietro Celestino -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Church of San Pietro Celestino -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Church of San Pietro Celestino -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Church of San Pietro Celestino -  Churches / Religious buildings
Foto Church of San Pietro Celestino -  Churches / Religious buildings
Show an other treasure of art and history in Milan:
Milan - Churches / Religious buildings: Church of San Pietro CelestinoMostly represented styles: Gothic - Baroque - Neoclassic

The Church of San Pietro Celestino is located in an absolutely central position and has ancient origins. Despite this, it is very little known and even less visited, although it contains various valuable elements worthy of interest.

HISTORIY
There is no clarity regarding when the monastery of San Pietro Celestino was founded, of which the original church was part. According to some sources, Pope Celestine V in 1274, upon returning from the Council of Lyon, founded a hospice for the poors which went on to form the first nucleus of the monastery.
According to other sources, the monastery was founded by the Celestine order only around 1318/1319. What is certain is that the first version of the church dated back to the first half of the fourteenth century. Of it only the bell tower remains, in typical Romanesque style, decorated with hanging arches and now half hidden between the palaces around the church and no longer used, and the chapel under it, which still preserves various valuable Gothic frescoes.

The church enjoyed a first restoration and update in 1554. These works also included the addition of the four major chapels.
The building underwent a second radical transformation in 1735, when it was equipped with a rococo sandstone facade similar to that of the Church of san Francesco da Paola. Also the interior was remodeled, among other things with the addition of the two smaller chapels towards the presbytery, in order to re-establish the symmetry with the two present on the sides of the entrance.

In 1782 the Celestines left the church and the convent, replaced by the Augustinians of Pavia until 1786.

Unfortunately, the sandstone facade deteriorated very quickly and already in 1897 most of it had to be demolished. The current facade is the result of the renovation which was started in 1904 under the guidance of the architect Alfredo Campanini. During this restoration, the ruined parts were replaced with artificial stone covered with hammered cement plasters.
In 1908 the chiaroscuro decoration of the interior of the church was carried out.

The church currently houses the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox community.

STRUCTURE
Externally the church is characterized by its rococo facade, since the rest is invisible, being the church completely wedged between the adjacent buildings. Together with the aforementioned Church of san Francesco da Paola the Church of San Pietro Celestino is the only church in Milan with a concave facade.
Divided into two orders, the facade is densely punctuated vertically by pilasters with Corinthian capitals.
At the center of the lower order is the only door, placed between two columns. At the center of the upper order there is instead a large central window with a balustrade and a large baroque broken pediment. At the apex of the facade another large, baroque broken pediment, with a statue of a dragon pierced by the sword.

The interior of the church has a single nave, with the walls punctuated by Corinthian pilasters with a fluted shaft that support an elegant entablature. The roof is barrel-shaped, with only chiaroscuro decorations (made in the twentieth century).
On each side there are five chapels, three smaller and two larger ones, alternating with each other. Above the lower minor chapels, there are rectangular panels containing bas-reliefs depicting episodes of the Gospels in an already neoclassical style. In fact, the entire interior appears more neoclassical than baroque, solemn and uncluttered, in contrast to the rococo style of the facade.
The main chapels contain altars whose retables are almost equal in pairs. Two are almost identical and are basically made up of large stucco frames richly decorated in Baroque style with volutes, ribbons and floral elements. The other two are different, but have the same structure: also in this case two frames, this time however composed by two rectangular columns on which baroque broken gables with cherubs and various decorations rest at the top.
The minor chapels are in fact empty, except one, which contains an altar dedicated to the Crowned Virgin (Fig. 4).
The retables of the main chapels contain valuable altarpieces:
- a St. Peter Celestine and the vision of the Virgin, by Ercole Procaccini (Fig. 2)
- a Transit of St. Joseph, from 1854 (Fig. 3)
- a Crucifixion, by an unknown author (Fig. 5)
- a San Mauro with St. Francis and angels, by the baroque painter Johann Christoph Storer (Fig. 6)

The presbytery and the apse, whose stylistic setting represents a continuation of that of the nave, are rather deep. The second houses a solid wood choir with sober and elegant lines, while in the first there is a large eighteenth-century Baroque marble altar. The altar is dominated by an unusual retable with Cararra marble clouds and putti. Altar and retable are not visible because they are hidden by the vestments of the Coptic liturgy.
In the apse there are various paintings. In particular a "beautiful Magdalene", work of 1597 by Giovan Battista Trotti known as Molosso (Fig. 7).

The Gothic chapel, located at the base of the bell tower, deserves a paragraph for its own. It was part of the previous Romanesque church, although it is not known how. In 1907 the frescoes still present on the vault and on the upper part of the walls were rediscovered. It is not known exactly who painted them, although it is thought that they can be attributed to Lombard masters of the penultimate quarter of the fourteenth century. They are of a quality comparable to those of the Abbey of Viboldone and of the Oratory of Saints Ambrogio and Caterina in Solaro. On the left wall you can see Saint Catherine who is introducing kneeling devotees to the Virgin on the throne. On the back wall there are the remains of a Crucifixion (Fig. 9), while on the right wall there are the remains of a blessing Christ who may have originally been part of a Universal Judgment. The vault is occupied by the symbols of the four Evangelists (Fig. 10), while busts of saints are painted under the arch that leads into the church.

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

Categories: Churches / Religious buildings


Via Senato, 2/4, 20121 Milano MI
Further pictures of the Church of San Pietro Celestino in the section Photography
Milano: Ghotic chapel in the Church of San Pietro Celestino
Milano: Interior of the Church of San Pietro Celestino
Milano: Left internal wall of the Church of San Pietro Celestino
Milano: San Mauro with St. Francis and angels in the Church of San Pietro Celestino