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“Amoung my Top 3 places to visit in Milan”

Chiesa di San Bernardino alle Ossa
Ranked #32 of 822 things to do in Milan
Certificate of Excellence
Zurich, Switzerland
Level 6 Contributor
1,504 reviews
608 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 811 helpful votes
“Amoung my Top 3 places to visit in Milan”
Reviewed May 26, 2014

Beyond seeing the exterior of the Duomo and the Last Supper, the San Bernardino alle Ossa church would be at the top of my list for must visit places in Milan. The main church has high ceilings with paintings, sculptures and walls of marble.

I had done some research, but I could not find the main reason why I wanted to visit this church. My friend had already exited the church and I was about to exit as well and then I noticed a small hallway on the left when exiting and then others were coming from this hallway. I went outside and grabbed my friend and thought this must be the area I was looking to visit. ( I would suggest seeing the main church first, then going down the hallway to visit the ossuary).

We walked down the hallway (right-side when walking into the church) and I was what I would call stunned by what I was seeing! Walls and walls and a ceiling of human skulls, bones decorating nearly every nook and cranny of this room. We walked around and tried to take it all in, then needed to take a seat to try to observe even more.

The little research I was able to gather was that this facility used to be a cemetery and hospital. A church was then located on the property and all of the bones (due to limited grounds/space) were relocated to this connecting room as a shrine to the deceased. My mind was boggled as was this actually a respectful gesture, but I felt one could see it as a more deviant representation as well, but this would certainly not be the historic reasoning for an ossuary.

It’s a stunning and remarkable sight that you will remember well after your visit to Milan. A must see!!

Visited March 2014
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2 Thank FormerCaliBoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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robinsville, nj
Level 6 Contributor
135 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Fascinating, macabre”
Reviewed May 16, 2014

The church is really beautiful, worth spending time in. It has a quiet, elegant interior where it is easy to find your center if you want to pray. However, the main attraction is the chapel to the right of the entrance, decorated with (way too many for comfort) human bones. Too creepy for me to spend more than a few minutes inside, but good party conversation topic.

Visited May 2014
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1 Thank ruxandrabarb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Isle of Man, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
“Very weird but intriguing ossuary”
Reviewed February 16, 2014

Had heard about the ossuary on Trip Adivisor and was a little hard to find initially but is to the left of a bigger church Santo Stefano Maggiore. Beware of the man on the door charging an entrance fee, this is of course not official as all churches are free entry in Italy. The church itself is nothing special and it would be easy to miss the ossuary which is down a corridor to the right of the entrance. It is within a couple of blocks from the Duomo, not for the faint hearted and obviously wouldn't suggest taking young children. The ossuary itself is more sad than creepy, but nevertheless has an intriguing history as previously mentioned, housing the bones from centuries ago and also more recent plague victims. Well worth a visit if I'm sorry to say, only for the novelty factor.

Visited February 2014
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3 Thank Jayh111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milan, Italy
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“One of my favourite church in Milan”
Reviewed February 14, 2014

I live in Milan, and I discovered just recently this church. The church itself is nice, but the best thing is the bone chapel: it has been done with the skulls and bones of the death during the plague. It represents the "Memento Mori", and it is fascinating to have a look at it. If you observe weel, you will see that inside a lot of skulls there are rolled parchment: it's an old tradition of Milanese people. They write their prayer on the parchment and they entrust them to the deads.
Must see if you are nearby!

Visited February 2014
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1 Thank Stefano F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oostende, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Slightly creepy, but definitely worth visiting!”
Reviewed December 23, 2013

As a medical student this was something that I definitely wanted to see. It was a little hard to find, and even after finding the right church we had some trouble getting to the "ossarium" (apparently we walked past the hallway leading there).
The atmosphere there is very special, hundreds of human skulls and bones watching down upon you... It's a quiet and calm place, since it's not that known with tourists (this also means there is no entry fee).
In the end: a bit creepy but then again very fascinating and only a small walk from the duomo, so definitely worth a visit.

Visited August 2013
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3 Thank Bart D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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