When Lombardy and Tuscany meet
The Basilica di Sant’Eustorgio, the ancient headquarters of Milan’s Domenican Order, hosts the Portinari Chapel, a masterpiece of Lombard Renaissance. The Basilica di Sant’Eustorgio was built upon the spot where, according to tradition, the stone sarcophagus containing the remains of the Three Kings, donated to Sant’Eustorgio by Constantine I, was left during its onward journey to the Basilica of Santa Tecla. However, the biggest draw at this large Neo-Romanesque church, which still hosts a part of the remains, is the Portinari Chapel, one of the most important masterpieces of Lombard Renaissance in Milan. The chapel, built between 1462 and 1468 in honour of St. Peter Martyr, was commissioned by the Florentine nobleman Pigello Portinari. It is a surprising example of the interplay between typical Florentine architecture, represented by a small apse and a main square-plan space surmounted by a dome, and Milanese decorative elements. The cycle of frescoes by Vincenzo Foppa, located beneath the multi-coloured sixteen-section dome, interacts with the monumental Carrara marble ark of St. Peter Martyr, comprising a sarcophagus, with eight tiles featuring scenes from the life of the saint, interspersed with eight figures of saints. Eight oculi depict the four Fathers of the Church, Saint Eustorgius, Saint Thomas, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, while the altar shows a portrait of its donor, Pigello Portinari.