Visitors flock to the modest 15th-century Santa Maria delle Grazie—built by Duke Francesco I Sforza and later reworked by Bramante—primarily to take in one of Italy’s most celebrated works of Renaissance art: Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, which decorates the refectory wall of the adjoining Dominican convent.
Da Vinci’s groundbreaking mural is among the world’s most famous masterpieces, but the convent’s church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and important attraction in its own right. Built in Gothic and Romanesque styles as a private place of worship by Milan’s powerful Sforza family in 1490, the church has a brick facade decorated in a restrained pattern of pilasters and circles and a soaring Gothic nave. The great Renaissance architect Donato Bramante modified the design at the end of the 15th century, adding large semicircular apses, a striking drum-shaped dome lined by columns, and an elegant cloister and refectory.
The church is a must-see attraction, but as da Vinci’s mural can only be viewed upon advance reservation, it’s best to book a private guided tour with skip-the-line entrance to visit both the church and refectory. Many walking tours include the church along with other ara highlights, including the Duomo cathedral and nearby Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Pinacoteca di Brera, Castello Sforzesco, and Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entry to see The Last Supper is only allowed every 15 minutes for groups of 30 people at a time, and reservations are mandatory. You must book your entrance ticket or a tour with skip-the-line entry in advance.
- The Last Supper tickets include entrance to the entire Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie: church, cloister, and refectory.
- Santa Maria delle Grazie is a place of worship, so attire covering shoulders and knees is recommended.
- The church and refectory are accessible to wheelchairs.
How to Get There
Milano's Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is located between the Cadorna Triennale and Conciliazione metro stations, or you can walk from the Duomo in just 15 minutes.
When to Get There
Santa Maria delle Grazie is busiest in summer, so private tours or skip-the-line tickets must be booked well in advance. The refectory is closed on Mondays and holidays; the first Sunday of the month, entrance is free but still requires reservations.
The Last Supper Painting
Commissioned by Ludovico Il Moro in the late-15th century, this mural depicts Christ surrounded by the apostles in a composition featuring perspective and human emotion so revolutionary at the time that it changed the course of Renaissance art.