San Bernardino Church

An extraordinary School Outing to get ready for Halloween

On the occasion of Halloween and the scariest holiday of the year, MILE School Middle Students of grade 7 and grade 8 went to visit one of the most amazing and less known places of Milan. With the sunlight of a warm autumn day students arrived in Piazza Santo Stefano, where their attention was immediately caught by the largest church, the one that gives its name to the square, where the Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza was assassinated, by the hands of some Milanese aristocrats and whose plaque in the pavement , close to the basilica entrance, was observed.

It is on the left of the square, in the smaller church that students can find the treasure with the singular name of San Bernardino alle OssaAfter entering and having enjoyed  the octagonal central plan of the church, we went to the small chapel on the side of the church.Through a narrow, dark corridor they got to the ossuary where the bones truly adorn the entire structure!

The full height of the walls are covered with human bones: tibias, skulls, femurs alternate in a dismal decorative geometric motives and where the macabre sense merges with the grace of Rococo.

The decoration has remained unchanged since 1695, the legend says that the bones came from deaths of the close hospital of the 17th century or people who died in prison or by decapitation. The whole structure was rebuilt after the collapse of St. Stephen’s bell tower in 1642 by the order of the Disciplins, whose members were devoted to self- flagellation which accompanied their prayers.

With bones shook with emotion, trembling with fear MILE School students regained the light and the bracing air of the late morning, went back to MILE School and ending the day listening to the horror short story by Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The pit and the pendulum’.