The church was initially established to house an icon, revered for miraculous powers. The church plan with its cylindrical anterior dome was designed by Ludovico Beretta in 1480-1490. However, the most striking element is the elaborately decorated marble reliefs in the façade screen and portico were designed by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, and completed with the help of a large number of sculptors. The sculpted profusion recalls the Renaissance exterior of the Charterhouse of Pavia.
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