The 7th of December, also known as the Festa di Sant’Ambrogio, is a public holiday that we all look forward to with much enthusiasm each year in Milan, but not too many people know why this day is actually celebrated. We thought it would be a good idea to write a short article giving you a little more information on why the city of Milan celebrates Festa di S. Ambrogio as public holiday.
Saint Ambrose, born in 339 AD, eventually rose to become the bishop of the city of Milan due to his popularity among rich and poor alike, after being an Imperial Governor for Northern Italy. He also become one of the most influential and popular church figures of the 4th century Europe. He was one of the four original Doctors of the Church named in 1298. Ambrose also had a significant impact on sacred music of that time through the composition of hymns that are known to this day as Ambrosian chant. In addition, he is famous for having first coined the famous phrase, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’.
His feast day according to the Roman calendar falls on the 7th of December (the day of his Baptism) and since he is the patron saint for the city of Milan, we can all enjoy a day off from work and lectures in the middle of the week.
We recommend you check out the Oh Bej! Oh Bej festival market held in the piazza next to the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio to mark this feast from 5-8 December. In this period, Piazza S. Ambrogio springs to life celebrating the feast of Saint Ambrose, with a colourful combination of craft and food stalls, and street performers. You can get to the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio by taking the green line and getting off at the stop, S. Ambrogio or taking the tram 16 and getting off at Piazza S. Ambogio.
Have a good weekend everyone!