Milan is an archaeological city with lots of Roman Empire attractions that few know. Let’s find out where to go to discover the Roman Empire in Milan historical center:
The Hidden Amphitheater
Just behind the Columns of St. Lawrence there’s a Roman amphitheater of the 1st century AD.
It seems hard to believe that in these few ruins, today visited by the entrance of the Park, gladiators, ferocious men and animals used to fight there. The structure was huge, erected on at least four orders, as big as the Arena of Verona.
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The Polygonal Tower
The 24-sided polygonal tower, visible within the Civic Archaeological Museum, is the only one that has been preserved despite the reconstructions of the epochs of the wall circle built at the end of the 3rd century.
It is also known as Tower of Ansperto since the Milanese tradition indicated the bishop of Milan, Ansas da Biassono (869-881), as the builder or most probably the restorer of the structure. Only around 1930 it was understood that it was of Roman origin.
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The Basilica of St. Lawrence
Its an early Christian building and still largely visible: inside, you can visit the chapel of St. Aquilino dating back to about 400 AD: with an octagonal body and an articulated atrium decorated in niches is dedicated to St. Lawrence, and is worth a visit.
The chapel of St. Aquilino is one of the oldest and most prestigious ones in Milan.
Thanks to its shape and the richness of the decorations, St. Aquilino Chapel has long been considered an imperial mausoleum.
At the moment, in the underground, you can visit the foundation pavilion on which the building rests: it is made up of squared blocks, largely from the demolition of the nearby amphitheater.
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Columns of St. Lawrence
Nowadays, Columns of St. Lawrence are better known for the milanese nightlife than a Roman Empire attraction.
The famous colonnade was recovered from an unknown public building dating back to the second century AD.
Legend says that one of these columns lacks one, because the Devil would have hidden it. Many seek her in the attics of nearby palaces.
Porta Ticinese is the only remaining piece of the eight Roman doors on which the wall of the 1st century BC was opened.
This door was called Ticinensis because was placed in direction to Ticinum, Pavia.
It was then composed of two openings with two massive eight-sided turrets each.
What we see today is nothing but a wall spur (hidden from a low building at 4th of via Carrobbio), part of one of the towers, and the whole part of the ground below the road level.
During the Middle Age, people used to call Porta Ticinese the Tower of the Unhealthy, because it was attached to a leper hospital.