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Desio (Milano): Basilica of the Saints Siro and Materno

Foto Basilica of the Saints Siro and Materno
Foto Basilica of the Saints Siro and Materno
Foto Basilica of the Saints Siro and Materno
Foto Basilica of the Saints Siro and Materno
Foto Basilica of the Saints Siro and Materno
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Places  of historical value  of artistic value around Milan (Italy): Basilica of the Saints Siro and MaternoThe Basilica of the Saints Siro and Materno is located in the center of the town of Desio and is of very ancient origin. The first version of the church was in fact built around the mid-seventh century by the at that time archbishop of Milan San Giovanni Bono, as the tradition recalls to sanction the conversion of the Lombards in the area to Catholicism.

The bell tower is a massive square-based construct erected in gothic forms, whose erection date is unknown. Based on strictly architectural analysis, traditionally its construction is traced back to the eleventh century by the Masters Comacini. This conclusion is certainly not unquestionable: the ancient bell tower was the target of various actions of a military nature, so much so that in the fifteenth century it was set on fire and it is unlikely that the building could stand a fire. Its completion should therefore be delayed for some centuries and more likely placed towards the middle of the fifteenth century, when, using the ruins of the ancient tower, the bell tower that we can see today was built.

It was San Carlo Borromeo who decided to rebuild and enlarge the church of Desio. In 1652, finally, the construction site for the new basilica was officially opened, with the plan to demolish a large part of the existing structures for the new construction. The project was entrusted to Camillo Ciniselli, architect of the Milan Cathedral factory, while the works were carried out under the direction of the master builder Pietro Pozzi and between 1726 and 1736 by Carlo Giuseppe Merlo. The church was built in the following hundred years, solemnly consecrated only in 1744 by the Milanese archbishop Giuseppe Pozzobonelli.

In the nineteenth century the church was decorated internally and was further enlarged with the construction of the transept and the elevation of the large presbytery dome to address the increase of the population and the insufficiency of the capacity of the nave. In 1857 the future Pius XI was baptized in this church. After the last works, the basilica was consecrated by Cardinal Andrea Carlo Ferrari on 24 August 1895.

Externally the church is more interesting in the rear part, in exposed bricks. In addition to the bell tower, already mentioned, stands out the dome, which is characterized by its slate coating of "scaled" type, put into work with craftsmanship expertise.
The façade, instead, in neoclassical style and narrower than the building, is rather anonymous.

Unlike the exterior, the interior is rich in colors, even if the tones used, rather dull, and the poor illumination, make it difficult to perceive them correctly.
The style is typical of many nineteenth-century churches: a mixture of neoclassical and baroque elements (for example the stuccos at the base of the dome).
Also inside the most characteristic element is the large dome, inside which the glory of the saints Siro and Materno is frescoed, depicted with little contrasting colors, which make it difficult to recognize the figures, confused with the background to give an almost abstract painting.
Noteworthy are next to the main altar the frescoes on canvas depicting the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem (1861) and Jesus and the children (1858), works of the painter Mauro Conconi, and the main altar itself, a baroque work of the sculptors Nava and Antignani (1744).
The church also preserves as an altarpiece the Madonna with Child and Saints painted in 1480 by Stefano De Fedeli, the altarpiece of the thirteenth century Oratorio di S. Pietro, sixteenth-century tapestries and the relics of San Siro.

Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value


Piazza Conciliazione, 15, 20832 Desio MB
Foto aggiuntive della Basilica dei Santi Siro e Materno nella sezione Fotografia
Desio (Milano): Detail of the ceiling of the Basilica of the Saints Siro and Materno
Desio (Milano): Interior of the Basilica of the Saints Siro and Materno
Desio (Milano): Interior of the dome of the Basilica of the Saints Siro and Materno
Desio (Milano): Bell tower of the Basilica of the Saints Siro and Materno