Church of Santa Maria at San Satiro (Chiesa di Santa Maria presso San Satiro)
The original church on this site was dedicated to San Satiro (Saint Satyrus), brother of Milan’s patron San Ambrogio (Saint Ambrose), and the name "Church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro" indicates that the new church was "at" (presso) the old one. Santa Maria presso San Satiro is one of Milan's most important churches, along with the Duomo and Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Many Milan art and city tours include stops at all three of these landmark churches, along with visits to other top attractions like the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Sforza Castle, Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio, and the Navigli canal district. A Milan Segway tour, bicycle-powered rickshaw tour, or hop-on hop-off bus tour are fun and convenient ways to take in these and other top sights in Milan in one day.
Things to know before you go
- The Church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro is a place of worship, so attire covering shoulders and knees is recommended.
- The church is accessible to wheelchairs.
- Photography without flash is allowed inside the church.
How to get there
The Church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro is located just off the Piazza del Duomo in the center of Milan, a short stroll from the Duomo metro stop on the red line. Milan (Milano) is the capital city of Lombardy, well-connected by direct train from Florence, Rome, and Venice for an easy day trip.
When to get there
The church provides a welcome break from the crowds visiting the nearby Duomo; visit midday for a quiet moment with Bramante’s important work. The church is open daily, but closed to tourists on Sunday morning.
Bramante’s Groundbreaking Trompe l'Oeil
The apse and choir of the original Church of San Satiro had to be shortened to a depth of only three feet (90 cm) in the 15th century to accommodate Via Falcone, the road which runs behind the church. The deeper original space was recreated by Bramante with a painted perspective that seems to recede in the distance, creating what many consider one of the finest trompe l'oeil illusions in art history.
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