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Church of Santa Maria Nuova


This church was built between 1365 and 1388 to celebrate the birth of Giovanni Maria Visconti. In 1578, San Carlo Borromeo elevated it to the status of parish church. Originally it was a classic 14th century Lombard church with a central nave and two aisles. There was a brick facade and a saddle roof, and the perimeter walls today are still the original ones. In the 15th century, the Renaissance-style four-sided portico was added to the facade, built from arches decorated with terracotta and busts. The pronaos consists of a great stone arch with the background decorated with statues and paintings based on a design attributed to Bramante. In 1467, Galeazzo Maria Sforza was baptised here. The altarpiece of the Madonna and Child is by Cerano (Giovan Battista Crespi, known as Cerano c.1568 – 1632), and was an unexpected find in 1999 when Mario Comincini and Federico Cavalieri came across it in the oratory of San Gaetano in Abbiategrasso. Subsequent archival research showed that the altarpiece comes from the church of the convento osservante abbiatense dell’Annunciata, a convent dissolved in 1810, from the chapel of San Francesco which belonged to the confraternity of the Cordigeri. The altarpiece was considered of such significance that it was part of the exhibition on the 16th century in Lombardy held in Palazzo Reale between late 2000 and early 2001.