Santa Maria Delle Grazie Overview

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Santa Maria Delle Grazie is a church located in the northern city of Milan. Popularly also known as Holy Mary of Grace, this church also works as a Dominican convent in the city. Built by famous architects Guiniforte Solari and Donato Bramante, Santa Maria Delle Grazie was built between 1463 to 1467 during the reign of Duke of Milan Francesco I Sforza. The architectural style of this church is regarded as Gothic and Renaissance and is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy.

Other than a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this church is a very popular tourist destination. It is also one of the highly visited historic churches in Milan and Italy. During World War II, due to the involvement of Italy in the war, the church was attacked by a couple of aerial attacks. A major portion of the refectory was demolished and a few walls of the outer side of the church were also destroyed.

Many tourists visit Santa Maria Delle Grazie to see the painting of Last Supper. It is located in a small room inside the church and only a limited number of visitors are allowed to enter the room at a time. Due to the immense popularity of the church and its historic value, the tickets for the church are sold-out in advance.

How To Reach

The distance between Santa Maria Delle Grazie and Lamezia Terme Airport is 20 km. The several ways to reach Santa Maria Delle Grazie are

By Train: You would have to take a train from Lamezia Terme Station and get down at Reggio Calabria Station. After getting down at Calabria Station, you will have to take another train that goes to Santa Maria station. This full train journey will take around 1 hour.

By Bus: Bus is one of the cheapest modes of transport in Milan and one can take a bus from Lamezia Terme Airport up to Condofuri Marina. Get down at Condofuri Marina and take another bus up to Santa Maria Delle Grazie. The entire bus journey will take around 1.30 hours.

By private Cab/Taxi: Hiring a Cab or Taxi is the most suitable mode of transport to reach Santa Maria Delle Grazie from Lamezia Terme Airport. This 20 km ride will take around 30 minutes as there are frequent traffic jams in Milan. The private ride can be a little heavy on your pocket but it will be the most comfortable ride from the airport to the Santa Maria Delle Grazie.

Best Time To Visit

The church is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8.15 AM to 7 PM. If you want to avoid the rush and enjoy your visit in peace, the best time to visit Santa Maria Delle Grazie would be in the late afternoon or early in the evening i.e. around 3 pm to 4 pm. It is always recommended to book your tickets in advance to save time. During some special occasion or event like Milan Expo 2015, the church remains open till 10 PM. Make sure you check your day of visit and also check if there’s an event or not.

The best season to visit Santa Maria Delle Grazie is the Spring Season which lasts from April to October. The temperature around the city is mild and cold and during this season the maximum number of visitors visit Santa Maria Delle Grazie. 

Other Essential Information

Santa Maria Delle Grazie, 87067 Province of Cosenza, Italy

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 8.15 AM to 7 PM (Closed on Mondays)

Entry Fee: 10 € per person and an additional 2€ booking fee.
                  For nationals of a country from the EU and EES, tickets start from 2€ and an additional 2€ booking fee.

Distance from Nearest Airport: The nearest airport from Santa Maria Delle Grazia is Lamezia Terme International Airport. The distance between the airport and the church is 20 km.

History of Santa Maria Delle Grazie

This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built by the orders of Duke of Milan Francesco I Sforza in 1463. At the site of the church was an existing chapel which was then replaced by this magnificent church.

Throughout its building years from 1463 to 1497, the main architects of Santa Maria Delle Grazie were Donato Bramante and Guiniforte Solari. The church was home to numerous sculptures and paintings out of which a few were destroyed or stolen. One of Titian’s paintings, The Crowning with Thorns, was stolen by French Soldiers and is now kept in the Louvre in Paris. Santa Maria Delle Grazie has been the primary praying place in Milan for years immemorial. At a time, it was also home to Giovanni Perronu’s finest music-making sessions.

The Architecture of Santa Maria Delle Grazie

This Gothic-monument is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. Other than its Gothic history, the church also resembles the Italian form of architecture. The architecture planning for this church began in the late 1450s and the final execution was started in 1463.

Throughout the making of the plan and its execution, the two primary architects who not only planned but also started the building work were Donato Bramante and Guiniforte Solari. The architecture of Santa Maria Delle Grazie is similar to that of Santa Maria Alla Fontana, a church located in Milan.

The Basilica at Santa Maria Delle Grazie

The large Basilica at Santa Maria Delle Grazie is a true architectural wonder. With the dome-shaped roof and some amazing wall painting and art, the Basilica at the church is one of the biggest basilica in Italy. This Roman building was home to many cultural events and gatherings during the time of the earlier Roman Kingdoms.

The Basilica is now a praying centre with benches and many locals and tourists often visit it and offer their prayers. Many tourists also visit the Basilica to see the dome and various glass paintings and wall-art. Though some of the work has been disturbed and destroyed due to the various attacks during World War II, most of the designs in Basilica are still at their original place and restored. 
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Santa Maria Delle Grazie FAQs

When was Santa Maria delle Grazie built?

The planning and designing of Santa Maria Delle Grazie took place from 1450 to 1460. The construction began in 1463 and it took around 34 years to complete. The church had some major blows and reconstruction from 1940 to 1950 and the reconstruction took around 3-4 years. Various parts of the church were brutally damaged and were moved and reconstructed in other parts of the city.

Where is the location of the Last Supper?

The Last Supper is kept in a room on the western side of Santa Maria Delle Grazie. It is framed with wooden borders and no one is allowed to touch the painting. The painting was only moved when the reconstruction of the church was taking place due to the aerial attacks on the church.

Can you visit the Last Supper painting?

Yes, you can visit the Last Supper painting. There are various tours that last for 15 minutes and a maximum of 25 persons on a tour. Visiting the Last Supper is very difficult as the tickets for the visit are sold in advance.

How much are the Last Supper tickets?

The ticket price if booked at the church is 10 euros plus 2 euros of surcharge. Although, it is advisable to book in advance as it is almost impossible to get tickets. If you book through third-party, the cost of the ticket would be 15-20 Euros depending on whom you are booking it through. An additional of 2-3 Euros is applicable if you book through an online portal.

What is the Last Supper made out of?

The Last Supper is made out of Tempera colours, Mastic plant resin, a white mixture of chalk and gypsum called Gesso and Pitch. These materials were widely used by Leonardo Da Vince and other prominent painters of that era.

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