A gem of a church, sandwiched between buildings on a busy street and thus easily unnoticed. The architect (Bramante) in an effort to make best use of restricted space, added depth with a 'trompe-l'oeil' painting of the wall behind the altar. The illusion is breathtaking. According to guidebooks, it's the first known use of such technique.
A few minutes walk from the Duomo lies this church. The entrance to the church is very small and you will have to keep an eye finding this place. Once you go inside, you will find a large no of wall art inside the church. Entry is free and photography is allowed, so you can easily visit the church and have a look at the magnificent views of its interior. Tucked away in a small alley in the middle of Milan’s shopping district (via Torino) is Chiesa di Santa Maria presso San Satiro (Church or Basilica of Santa Maria at San Satiro). 95% of people walking this main drag don’t even realize there’s this hidden jewel that most will miss. About a five-minute walk near Milan’s Duomo you’ll find this most remarkable and interesting church in Milan. As you approach the entrance, it’s just an ordinary small church but what’s remarkable about this church is that a great architect and painter Donate Bramante has built a church with an amazing optical illusion dating back in 1482. Viewing from the back as you enter, you’ll see an altar that’s deep as if the altar has an additional depth behind it. Once you get to the front on either side, you’ll see that the nave and the area behind the altar seem much bigger and deeper due to an extraordinary optical illusion. People however are discouraged to go in because they see a sign in front that says no flash photography, they often think though that no photography is allowed. Yes, you are allowed to take pictures but don’t use the flash of course. The interior of the church is dark but to get a much nicer picture, there’s a coin operated machine to the left as you enter that can lights up the front altar. You drop your 1 Euro coin and surprise yourself with great picture taking opportunity! Better hurry though, the lighting doesn’t last long so take as many pictures as you want and enjoy the beautiful scene! Definitely not to be missed while in Milan.
Old church covered by Brahmante paints. Very nice armosfere at all helpfull staff and masterpieces on walls by one of greatest italian painter. Also there is small chapel called by Brahmante itself.
Smaller, but most interesting church. Well worth a visit if only for the rather spectacular optical illusion of depth behind the altar!
stop in, why not! I mean, if you are sick of ornately decorated interiors and architecture from back in the day - then...skip it. But it is a "working" church and another example of: we don't do it like this anymore!
Free entrance. A little different architectural style helping for the optical illusion of the size of the main icon. Nice employee inside approached us and explained the story of the church in English. Would not have noticed the spot on Jesus's neck otherwise. Thanks!
Very nice church, with architectural perspective play, from 15-th century. Looks like real volumous object with growing depth, but real is just about 90 cm deep.
The Grand Illusion - The expansion of the church required space behind the altar where there was only 91cm. The area was transformed by architect Donato Bramante using trompe d’ oeil that gave the optical illusion the space was 10m - an increase of 10x. The amazing skill and artistry is not something to be missed.