The façade of the Santuario Arcivescovile di San Bernardino alle Ossa which overlooks Piazza Santo Stefano looks more like a palace than a church, with its three units and it’s decorated with elaborate tympanums. The church was built in 1450 over a pre-existing oratory, it was rebuilt in 1679 by Andrea Biffi, after the bell tower of the nearby Basilica di Santo Stefano had collapsed over the church, destroying it.
During the restoration in 1750 by Carlo Giuseppe Merlo, the big octagonal lantern was added. Inside, after the square atrium with a lowered ceiling, you’ll find yourself standing in an ample room with a deep presbytery and two side chapels: the one on the right houses the tomb of a family of descendants of Cristoforo Colombo. Back in the atrium of the Santuario Arcivescovile di San Bernardino alle Ossa, through another small atrium, you can enter the square-plan ossuary-chapel, with a dome frescoed by Sebastiano Ricci (“Trionfo di anime in volo di angeli”, 1695). This chapel is coated in human bones embedded in squares, coming from cemeteries abolished during the 17th century, that cover all the walls forming pictures.