Church of Santa Maria al Paradiso

Corso di Porta Vigentina, 2-18. (Open Map)


The building was set up as a convent for the brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis who lived here from the first half of the 16th century. The architecture of the church is mainly original, built by the Franciscans and designed by Martino Bassi in 1590. He was also the author of two relief sculptures placed above the lateral doors.
The interior is a single nave of Ionic order with eight intercommunicating lateral chapels. A fresco depicting the Assumption can be seen on the barrel vaults of the nave. It was originally attributed to Andrea Pellegrini then repainted by Ferdinando Porta in 1737.In 1896 the facade was redesigned by Ernesto Pirovano. The building underwent various restructuring processes between the 19th and 20th centuries, like the restoration of the presbytery. An altar in white and pink marble was erected and a wooden chair was placed in front of it.The very first stone of the convent complex and the Church of S. Maria al Paradiso was laid on June 27th 1590 during the episcopate of Gaspare Visconti, successor to San Carlo Borromeo.A round stone with a central hole can be found embedded in the floor half way up the church. Tradition has it that it was a base for the cross of St. Barnaba and an important sign of the origin of Christianity in Milan.
The stone was found in the Basilica of San Dionigi, outside the Porta Orientale (now Porta Venezia), and transported here by the Servite Fathers.
There are eight paintings in the various chapels of the church: “San Carlo” who administers the Eucharist to the lepers, attributed to Andrea Porta, “Sant'Anna” by Giulio Cesare Procaccini and, in the left chapel, “Santa Lucia” by Francesco Fabbrica. There is also a painting by Chignoli depicting the “Miracolo degli Angeli che arano al posto del santo" (Miracle of the angels who Plough instead of the Saint). Above the three entrance doors are “Nascita di Maria” (Birth of Mary) and “La presentazione al Tempio” (The Presentation of Christ at the Temple) attributed to Giuseppe Leva.