I have been to Milan many times but never heard of what I am about to tell you bellow. Next time I’ll visit I’ll definitely check it.
The human skulls church – Santuario di San Bernardino Alle Ossa
Italy seems to have some strange idea of what to do with human skulls and you can stumble upon bone structures across the country, the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo probably being the most popular. Milan doesn’t lag behind with the small ossuary of the San Bernardino Alle Ossa church. The reason why it all started was that in 1210 the nearby graveyard ran out for space and a respectful space for the bones had to found. They stored them in a special building next to the church decorating the niches and doors with bones and skulls too. It’s a 5-minute walk from Duomo. When King Joao V of Portugal saw the church, he built a similar structure in Evora, Portugal.
Address: 4, Via Carlo Giuseppe Merlo. Opening times: 7:30 am – 6 pm (there’s a break 12 am – 1 pm).
Discover a copy of the Last Supper by one of Leonardo’s apprentices
Basilica of San Lorenzo is one of those buildings that looks like just another church until you learn that it holds a fascinating secret inside. Besides being one of the oldest churches in Milan (originally built in Roman times), it is home to a perfect copy of Leonardo’s Last Supper, painted by one of his apprentices. Some parts of this version are better preserved than the original, so you can take a close look at some of the mysteries of the famous mural – all the saints and Jesus have halos except Judas or the feminine face of John, for example.
The Horned Madonna
If you dare to see Mary and Jesus with devil’s horns, follow the streets after Porta Ticinese to Sant’Eustorgio Basilica. Once there, enter the Portinari Chapel and hear the strange story behind the unusual fresco of Mary and Jesus with horns. The chapel is dedicated to the Dominican priest Pietro di Verona, who had been converting followers of the Catharism heresy movement back to Catholicism. Once, he attended a Catharist gathering where it was said that the Madonna was seen. Pietro di Verona did see the Madonna, but he also saw that she had horns on her head, leading him to believe that she was the Devil in disguise. When Pietro offered the Devil a piece of sacramental bread, he ran away. A group of nobles, however, didn’t approve of Pietro’s preaching and sent two assassins to kill him. Thus Pietro di Verona is usually depicted with an ax in his head, a reference to his grisly death.
The middle finger – LOVE ( Libertà, Odio, Vendetta, Eternità –Freedom, Hate, Vengeance, Eternity)
This ubiquitous symbol of human mockery stands right in front of Milan’s stock exchange headquarters in Piazza Affari. The provocative Italian sculptor Maurizio Cattelan created it in 2010 and it was initially supposed to be a temporary installation. However, clearly seeing the humor in the statue, the local government decided to leave it there permanently. Cattelan never commented on the meaning of the sculpture, so you’re free to interpret it as you wish.