Santa Maria delle Grazie, a Dominican convent school and church, was built in the 15th century.
The construction started in 1463. The main architect was Guiniforte Solari (1429 - 1481). He gave the nave of Santa Maria delle Grazie its typical late Gothic look.
In the late 15h century, the complex was further modified and re-designed by Donato Bramante (1444 - 1514). He was one of the masters of High Renaissance. Bramante added the eye-catching apse and dome to Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Beatrice d'Este, the wife of the powerful Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan (1494-1499) was buried in the church in 1497. Today, the tombs of Ludovico Sforza and his wife are housed in Certosa di Pavia, a monastery in northern Italy.
Sata Maria delle Grazie is listed as UNESCO World Heritage site.
Architecture & Art
The complex and, especially, one of its walls, is of unique cultural value.
In the refectory of the convent, you find the famous mural painting of The Last Supper (~1494 - 1498) by Leonardo da Vinci. It shows the moment when Jesus says to his Apostles "One of you will betray me". Though the convent and the church were heavily damaged during World War II in 1943, the wall with The Last Supper could be successfully protected. The complex was rebuilt and restored in the following years.
Restoration of the painting of The Last Supper already started in the 18th century. Leonardo da Vinci did the painting with tempera colours on the wall, which is hard to preserve. Unfortunately, "restoration" was not always done beneficial. The original painting was partly covered with layers of oil. A big restoration campaign took place between 1977 and 1999 - trying to conserve the original layers of painting as much as possible.
Don't miss your chance to see the mural painting of The Last Supper with your own eyes. If you consider a visit to the Museum, you should buy your tickets well in advance (!) online. On the official website of the museum, you can choose the day and the time you prefer.