S. Ambrogio archive opens after 900 years

For the first time in its 900-year history, the archives of the Basilica of S. Ambrogio have been opened to the public.
 
The collection includes 55 manuscript volumes in parchment dating from the ninth to the 17th century, as well as 1,200 loose parchments from the same period.  The documents provide a faithful record of daily life in the Church, and include such rare items as the original missal used in the coronation of Gian Galeazzo Visconti as the first Duke of Milan in September 1395, and four manuscript letters written by St Chiara to St Agnes of Bohemia between 1230 and 1240.  Among the other fascinating items, the very first recorded mention of one of Milan’s best-known gastronomical treats, the Wienerschnitzel, in a menu from 1148.
 
What was until now a private archive has been housed in a specifically remodelled, two-room area transformed by architects Michela Spinola and Giovanni Antonelli Dudan into a reception area, dedicated to the memory of the Anglo-American bombing raid which severely damaged the basilica in August 1943, and a modern consulting room.
 
Opening the archive, Abbot Monsignor Erminio De Scalzi said, “We wanted to make a gift to the city of Milan, convinced that cultural charity is as necessary and urgent today as material charity.”

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