Santa Maria Delle Grazie Interior

Santa Maria Delle Grazie is a renowned church located in Milan, Italy. 

The church’s interior showcases a unique blend of architectural styles and exquisite artwork. 

From its rectangular layout to the magnificent tiburio dome, each part adds to the splendor of this historic place.

Inside Santa Maria delle Grazie, you’ll embark on a captivating exploration of architectural styles, decorations, and remarkable art.

The careful focus on details makes it a must-see spot for anyone intrigued by Milan’s rich history and artistic heritage.

Santa Maria Delle Grazie interiors will captivate you with its timeless charm and spiritual aura.

Entry to the church is free, but you must purchase a ticket to view the iconic Leonardo da Vinci painting. 

During this guided tour, journey into the past and immerse yourself in the captivating realm of Da Vinci’s Last Supper. 

Church interiors provide a magnificent setting for this timeless masterpiece.

Church Layout

The church’s plan features a rectangular room with three wide and shallow aisles separated by stone columns.

The use of columns allows for the passage of light, creating a unified and harmonious atmosphere. 

The aisles are decorated with cross vaults and intricate capital lines, featuring patterns similar to the Corinthian style.

Inside Santa Maria delle Grazie, the design focuses on width rather than height, creating a unique sense of space.

Basilica and Art

The Basilica within Santa Maria Delle Grazie is a magnificent architectural wonder. 

With its dome-shaped roof and captivating wall paintings and artwork, it stands as one of the largest basilicas in Italy. 

Despite some damage suffered during World War II, the Basilica still showcases its original designs and restored elements. 

Visitors are drawn to the Basilica to admire its impressive dome, intricate glass paintings, and wall art. 

Functioning as a prayer hub, it draws in residents and visitors who seek to pray and immerse themselves in the spiritual atmosphere.

The interior of Santa Maria Delle Grazie also houses several chapels sponsored by prominent families. 

The interplay of light and architectural elements enhances the overall aesthetic appeal. 

Rows of seven square side chapels adorn the church’s aisles, each illuminated by a central round window and two arched windows on the sides. 

These chapels, serving as burial places, were adorned by renowned artists.

Notable among these is the Chapel of St. Catherine, which features sculptures by Antonello da Messina. 

Decorated in the Gothic style, another chapel on the right side with frescoes depicting ‘Storie della Passione’ (Stories of Passion) by Gaudenzio Ferrari.

The latter chapel also contains a monument to Ludovico il Moro, topped by a representation of the old facade of the Milan Cathedral.

Tiburio Dome

A unique architectural aspect inside Santa Maria delle Grazie is the tiburio, a dome with a polygonal base and a pyramid-shaped top. 

While its original attribution to Bramante remains uncertain, it is now credited to Giovanni Antonio Amadeo.

This dome combines Gothic and Romanesque styles and fits well with the overall architecture. 

While some critics find its height too much compared to the rest of the church, it still showcases Renaissance craftsmanship.


Characterized by its simplicity, the church’s facade consists of five bays and six buttresses.

Its width is nearly twice the height, emphasizing the verticality of the interior corridors.

The facade is adorned with terracotta reliefs, framed windows, rosettes, and decorative arches. 

Once decorated with baroque portals from the 19th century, the side doors have been returned to their original simple design.

Refectory and ‘The Last Supper’

Adjacent to the church is the refectory, called ‘Cenacolo Vinciano,’ a dining hall for the Dominican Convent of Santa Maria Delle Grazie. 

Here, Leonardo da Vinci painted his iconic fresco ‘The Last Supper.

Between 1495 and 1498, the artist painted this iconic fresco depicting the final meal of Jesus Christ and his disciples.

Even though it was damaged during World War II, dedicated restoration has revived this masterpiece, securing its beauty for the future. 

This work, considered one of history’s most renowned, displays Leonardo’s remarkable skill in portraying emotions. 

You can experience the brilliance of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ by joining a one-hour guided tour of the historic refectory.

The refectory also houses ‘The Crucifixion’ fresco by Giovanni Donato Montorfano on its south wall.

If you’re not into guided tours, grab a The Last Supper skip-the-line ticket.

This way, you can enjoy the extraordinary masterpiece at your own speed.

Central Door

The central door, made of white marble, was one of the earliest additions to the church under the patronage of Ludovico il Moro. 

White marble pillars rest on cubic pedestals adorned with floral decorations. 

Candlesticks line the columns, and an entablature with decorative figures reinforces the structure. 

The contrast between the white marble and the restrained brick facade highlights the grace and classical inspiration of the portal’s design.

Convent and Cloisters

The convent associated with Santa Maria Delle Grazie was designed by Solari and consisted of three main cloisters. 

The Faculty of Nursing served as the original housing for the construction manager. 

The Great Cloister provided living quarters for the monks, while the Faculty of the Dead was connected to the church. 

Unfortunately, the original cloisters were destroyed during the bombing of 1943. 

After the war, they rebuilt the northern part of the church. The other three sides have a porch with columns with Gothic capitals featuring leaf designs.

Santa Maria Delle Grazie is famous for its interior, fresco, convent, and cloisters.

Efforts after World War II have brought back the church’s magnificence. Now, visitors can enjoy its beauty and history.


A small cloister is located adjacent to the sacristy, at the end of the nave on the left side.

Like a choir, the sacristy is a room used for Holy Mass preparation and storing church items.

Contrary to the usual practice of facing east and directly connecting to the church, the sacristy of Santa Maria Delle Grazie faces north due to limited space.

Fitted wardrobes adorned with paintings decorate the room. Despite the limited space, one can enjoy a scenic view through these images.

Renaissance-style decoration, influenced by Leonardo da Vinci, is seen in the sacristy. For example, the ceiling painting shows an endless knot, a perfect geometric design.

Secret Passage

One intriguing aspect of the sacristy is its secret underground passage, which connects Santa Maria Delle Grazie church with the Castello Sforzesco. 

Behind one of the cabinet doors on the left side lies the concealed access to this intriguing underground path. 

The secret passage, once known by only a few, brings a sense of mystery and fascination to the church’s past. 

It captivates visitors with its concealed links to other famous buildings in Milan.

Featured Image: Clodio from Getty Images (Canva)

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