From 286 to 402 AD, under the rule of Emperor Maximilian, Milan became the capital of the Western Roman Empire as Mediolanum. A little-known but nonetheless illustrious titbit of history for which, in view of the upcoming Expo 2015, the City of Milan has creates a route guiding visitors to the archaeological sites and relics of the ancient city on foot.
The nine-stop route goes from Via San Giovanni sul Muro, near Piazza Cairoli, to the Church of San Lorenzo and takes visitors and locals alike on a walking discovery tour of Roman Milan, a tour full of surprises. Some are quite sensational, like the remains of the Imperial Palace on Via della Brisa, and the Ansperto Tower that once stood guard over the Imperial neighbourhood and is now at the Archaeological Museum in the San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore church. Then there is the Roman forum of ancient Mediolanum, which rises at the foundations of the Pinacoteca milanese in the area including Piazza Pio XI, Piazza San Sepolcro and Via della Zecca. Other relics are less evident and need to be discovered following the signs on the ground and at various points of the city and metro stations. But there’s more.
A special map is available at the Civic Archaeology Museum on Corso Magenta 15 that shows visitors the route, while various signs in English and Italian can be found on the walls of the buildings where the remains are located. There is also a QR Code on these plaques so that you can connect to the Tourism and Archaeology Museum websites via your smartphone.
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