San Bernardino alle Ossa Milan - The Wall of Bones

San Bernardino alle Ossa Milan - The Wall of Bones

An ossuary built in 1210 to collect bones from the Ospedale Maggiore of Milan. It is a side street and in Piazza Santo Stefano.

A church was attached to it in 1269. Renovated in 1679, it was destroyed by a fire in 1712. A new bigger church was then attached to the older one and dedicated to Saint Bernardino of Siena.


San Bernardino is in a smaller church next to Santo Stefano. To get to the chapel you have to go down a dark hallway, it feels like you’re going into a back office but once you get to the entrance the room opens up and the ceilings expand to the sky. You have to crane your head to see to the top and I have to admit, it is a quite auspicious sight, there is nothing quite like this.


Real bones are carefully positioned to create a mosaic wall piece. The walls are covered floor to ceiling with bones and skulls. The bones were taken from a nearby cemetery that at one point was too full and to make room for new corpses, and so as not to destroy them they were used to build the San Bernadino chapel.

An unforgettable and quite remarkable sight to see. 

more articles: Piazza Duomo Milan

Do you know any other great places to visit in Milan?

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