San Simpliciano was the bishop of Milan and he succeeded to Saint Ambrose in 398. At his death, he asked to be buried in the church named after him. The church at that time was in the outskirts, on the road leading to Rezia through Alps. San Simpliciano Basilica is one of the most important palaeochristian monuments of Milan because it still preserves the original perimetral walls up to a considerable height.
Built by Saint Ambrose, who erected numerous churches during a period when the paganism was declining, it was first named “Basilica Virginum” and it was one of the four churches built on the major roads leading out of the city (and later they determined the urbanistic layout). The façade is one of the less modified parts and it maintains its original look.
The interior of Romanesque style with exposed bricks has got three naves of the same height and it is really plain. The most striking artwork, in the vault of the apse, is the Bergognone’s fresco called “The crowning of the Virgin” painted in 1515. On the right side, the building that was once a convent has a superb courtyard of the fifteenth century and a cloister. In this relaxing place, Petrarca stayed for a while. Basilica of San Simpliciano offers numerous musical events, particularly of Baroque music.