Santa Maria delle Grazie church

Santa Maria delle Grazie is one of the most beautiful churches in Milan. It attracts with its interesting architecture, which combines Gothic and Renaissance.

The church is built at the site of a small chapel on order of Francesco Sforza. Its architect was Guiniforte Solari. It is completed in 1490 in late Gothic style. Ludovico Sforza wanted to turn it into a family tomb and in 1492 assigned Donaro Bramante to reorganize it for that purpose. Branante rebuilt the apse and crowned it with a magnificent Baroque drum. Ludovico’s wife, Beatrice, was buried in the church. his won grave stone however was moved to the Certosa of Pavia monastery.

Description: Santa Maria delle Grazie /source: Shutterstock/;

On 15 August 1843 as a result of the bombings of England and the US the churched suffered serious damage. The roof of the dining room was destroyed, but the dome of Bramante remained untouched. Shortly after the war the church is restored.

The façade which is quite austere and made of bricks is built by Solari. The entrance and the interior however are Bramante’s work. The lunette at the fronton is painted by Leonardo da Vinci and depicts the Mother of Christ, accompanied by Ludovico Sforza and his wife. The dome is the most impressive element of the interior. It is decorated with coats of arm and saints.  The central nave is supported by pointed arches, decorated with murals. In strong contrast to them is the less decorated Renaissance altar. 

Description: “The Last Supper”;

Next to the church there is a modest building, built by Solari as a dining room for the Dominicans. In this same building Michelangelo painted the Last Supper between 1495 and 1498. The painting depicts the reaction of the twelve apostles in the moment when Jesus tells them that one of them is going to betray him. Miraculously it survived the bombings. In the 16th century however it was already severely damaged and the figures were difficult to distinguish. In 1726 the first attempt for its restoration were made. Michelangelo Bellotti filled the missing pieces with paint and lacquered the image. A second restoration was made shortly after by Guiseppe Mazza. In 1821 a specialist on moving murals was called in. only then and after inflicting damage on it, it became clear that this isn’t s mural. As the painting couldn’t be moved the dining room it was painted in was turned into a closed room with special air-condition system. Since 28 May 1999 visitors can see the Last Supper of Leonardo.

You can reserve your spot for a visit here.


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