Santa Maria Presso San Satiro, Milan

Santa Maria Presso San Satiro, Milan (must see)

Santa Maria presso San Satiro, commonly known as San Satiro, is a church in Milan that lies on the location of an ancient worship place. Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza commissioned the construction of the present day church. Construction started in 1472 and took nearly 10 years to complete.

Santa Maria Presso di San Satiro is just south of the Duomo in Milan. Dating back to the 800s, the church was renovated in the second half of the 1400s by Bramante. Donato Bramante was a man of talent. In 1472 Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza of Milan commissioned a new church for his city. He wanted to build a huge church but the location available to him very small due to the presence of a busy street. The choir, the space behind the altar, had to be reduced, making the church awkwardly short.

Many famous architects and painters participated in designing a church in such a way that a big church can fit on a tiny plot. In order to solve this problem, Bramante devised an ingenious solution by painting an optical illusion. Though architectural optical illusion was popular in late Renaissance and Baroque, Bramante gave it an entirely new dimension. If you stand at the entrance of the edifice you will have an impression of a much deeper space giving the illusion of the altar far behind than is physically possible. Special lightings inside the church were used to help built this optical illusion. The illusion, however, quickly disappears when you step aside from the main axis of the church. The magic reappears when you step back.

Seeing Bramante's Santa Maria presso San Satiro church is all about perspective and faith!
Sight description based on wikipedia
This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour in the iOS app "Milan Map and Walks" on iTunes App Store or the Android app "Milan Map and Walks" on Google Play. Please download the app for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline (so no data plan is needed).

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Sight Map

Sight Name: Santa Maria Presso San Satiro
Sight Location: Milan, Italy
Sight Type: Religious Site
Guide(s) containing this sight: Core of Centro Storico Walking Tour   Religious Sights Walking Tour   West Centro Walking Tour  


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