Habsburg tombs (18th-19th century)
Leading to the Sacellum, the room that houses the tombs of members of the Habsburg family, is a threshold made of black marble. On it are the words from John’s Gospel: “I am the resurrection and the life, those who believe in me will live, even though they die”. After inheriting the title of ducal chapel from the demolished church of “Santa Maria della Scala” in the late 18th century, the church of San Fedele housed the graves of some of the Habsburgs during the rule of the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia. In fact, it was archduke Rainer Joseph of Austria, Viceroy of the Kingdom from 1818 to 1848, who wanted this funeral chapel to enshrine the body of his son, Maximilian, who died in 1839 at the age of nine. Next to his tomb rest two other Habsburgs, little Joseph and little Marianna, son and daughter of archduke Ferdinand (one of the sons of the empress Maria Theresa), who from 1771 until the Napoleonic invasion was given the role of Governor of Lombardy on behalf of Vienna.