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A Walk Through Santa Maria delle Grazie - Home to Last Supper Milan

Last Supper Milan Santa Maria delle Grazie

What is Santa Maria Delle Grazie?

Santa Maria delle Grazie is a historic church and convent in Milan, Italy. It is renowned for housing the iconic Renaissance mural painting "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci. This UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts visitors from around the world, offering a glimpse into both religious and artistic significance.

Quick Facts - Santa Maria Delle Grazie

  • Official name: Santa Maria delle Grazie Address: Via Caradosso 1, 20123 Milan, Italy
  • Type of attraction: Church and Dominican convent
  • Timings: Visiting hours may vary, so it's best to check in advance.
  • Architect: Guiniforte Solari (original construction)
  • Architectural style: Italian Gothic
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: Yes, since 1980 (as part of "The Last Supper, Santa Maria delle Grazie, and Leonardo da Vinci's Vineyard" World Heritage Site)
  • Number of visitors per year: Approximately 1.2 million visitors annually
  • Constructed in: Construction began in 1463 and continued for several decades.
  • Known for: Housing Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece "The Last Supper" and its architectural significance as an example of Italian Gothic design.

Why Visit Santa Maria Delle Grazie?

  • Leonardo's Masterpiece: Witness Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper," an iconic masterpiece.
  • Historical Gem: Explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing Italian Renaissance history.
  • Architectural Beauty: Admire the stunning Italian Gothic architecture of the church.
  • Spiritual Reflection: Find serenity for prayer and contemplation in the church.
  • Nearby Attractions: Conveniently visit other notable sites like Sforza Castle and more.
  • Educational Value: Learn about art and history through exhibitions and programs.

Santa Maria delle Grazie - Highlights

Crucifixion by Giovanni Donato da Montorfano

Another piece of art opposite to the Last Supper in Santa Maria Delle Grazie's refectory is the Crucifixion painted by Giovanni Donato da Montorfano. It depicts the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and was created around the late 15th century. Mary Magdalene, who is holding the cross in her arms, is standing at the foot of Jesus. Other saints and Dominican order leaders are also depicted in the painting.

Chiostro delle Rane (Frog Cloister)

The frog cloister, or Chiostro delle Rane, is particularly attractive in the spring. Its name comes from four metal frog sculptures adorning the circular fountain's edge. These frogs spray water towards the center of the basin. The cloister features five terracotta arches on each side supported by columns and caps made of marble with Renaissance-inspired designs.

The Bramantesque Tribune

The Bramantesque Tribune, also known as the "Tribuna Bramantesca", features a hemispherical dome perched on pendentives above a huge cubed area. The design with black circular motifs on white plaster extends from the oculi at the top up to the central round of the lantern. Designed by the renowned architect Donato Bramantets it showcases the architectural style associated with Bramante.

Plan Your Visit to Santa Maria Delle Grazie

What Are Santa Maria Delle Grazie's Opening Hours?

General Timings:
Monday - Saturday: 9 AM - 12:20 AM, 3 PM - 5:50 PM
Sundays and public holidays: 3 PM - 5:50 PM

Best time to visit: During the spring (April to June) and early autumn (September to October) when the weather is mild, crowds are smaller, and outdoor exploration is comfortable. These months offer an ideal balance for enjoying the church and the city's attractions. However, it's important to book tickets in advance if you plan to see "The Last Supper," regardless of the season.

History of Santa Maria Delle Grazie

Santa Maria delle Grazie, founded in 1463, is an architecturally significant church in Milan, Italy. It gained worldwide acclaim for housing Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, "The Last Supper," completed in 1498. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980, the church's historical significance lies in its role as the backdrop for this iconic painting, which is regarded as one of the most important artworks in Western history. "The Last Supper" captures a pivotal moment in Christian tradition and exemplifies the Renaissance artistic and cultural achievements. This landmark represents Milan's rich heritage and cultural contributions.

Architecture of Santa Maria delle Grazie

Santa Maria delle Grazie is a prime example of late Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Its design features elements of both styles:

  1. Gothic Influences: The church's facade exhibits classic Gothic characteristics, with pointed arches, intricate rose windows, and decorative details.
  2. Renaissance Elements: The interior of the church underwent Renaissance renovations, with a harmonious and symmetrical layout, classic Roman-style columns, and a serene, well-lit atmosphere.
  3. Cloisters: The adjoining convent includes beautiful Renaissance-style cloisters with elegant arches and columns, showcasing the transition from Gothic to Renaissance architecture.

This fusion of styles reflects the church's historical evolution and its role as a significant cultural and artistic site.

Santa Maria delle Grazie Today

Santa Maria delle Grazie, with Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper," remains a global icon of art and history. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it influences culture by preserving this masterpiece and showcasing a blend of late Gothic and Renaissance architecture. It's not just a spiritual sanctuary but a source of artistic inspiration, welcoming countless visitors and artists. With its rich history and enduring allure, Santa Maria delle Grazie stands as a testament to human creativity and heritage, leaving an indelible mark on today's world.




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Frequently Asked Questions About Santa Maria Delle Grazie

What is Santa Maria delle Grazie?

Santa Maria delle Grazie is a historic church and convent in Milan, Italy, known for housing Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, "The Last Supper."

Why is Santa Maria delle Grazie famous?

Santa Maria delle Grazie is famous primarily for its association with "The Last Supper." This iconic mural painting, created by Leonardo da Vinci in the late 15th century, is considered a masterpiece of Renaissance art. The church's fame extends to its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, highlighting its cultural and historical importance.

Can I visit "The Last Supper" at Santa Maria delle Grazie?

Yes, it is possible to visit "The Last Supper" at Santa Maria delle Grazie; however, reservations for tickets are essential. Due to the artwork's delicate nature and popularity, access to view it is carefully managed to preserve its condition.

What is the architecture of Santa Maria delle Grazie like?

Santa Maria delle Grazie exhibits a unique blend of late Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles. The exterior features elements typical of Gothic architecture, such as pointed arches and intricate rose windows. Inside the church, visitors can admire classic Renaissance elements, including Roman-style columns and a harmonious, well-lit interior.

Is Santa Maria delle Grazie a functioning church today?

Yes, Santa Maria delle Grazie continues to serve as a functioning church. It hosts regular religious services and events, maintaining its role as a place of worship for the local community.

Are there guided tours available?

Yes, guided tours are available for visitors to Santa Maria delle Grazie. These tours provide valuable insights into the history and significance of the church, as well as the story behind "The Last Supper." Knowledgeable guides offer a deeper understanding of the artwork and its cultural context.

What else can I explore in the vicinity of Santa Maria delle Grazie?

In the vicinity of Santa Maria delle Grazie, you can explore the vibrant city of Milan. This includes visiting other historic landmarks, such as the Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano), Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco), and numerous museums and galleries. Additionally, Milan offers a thriving culinary scene, high-end shopping, and a rich cultural heritage.

Is photography allowed inside the church and while viewing "The Last Supper"?

No, photography is generally not allowed inside Santa Maria delle Grazie, including when viewing "The Last Supper." This restriction is in place to protect the artwork and maintain its condition for future generations.

How can I book tickets to visit Santa Maria delle Grazie and "The Last Supper"?

To visit Santa Maria delle Grazie and view "The Last Supper," it is advisable to book tickets in advance through authorized platforms. Due to its popularity, securing tickets ahead of time is recommended to guarantee entry.

What are the opening hours of Santa Maria delle Grazie?

The opening hours of Santa Maria delle Grazie may vary, so it is recommended to check the official website of the church or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information regarding visiting hours and any special exhibitions or events.