Church of St. Maurice at the Monastery Major

Via Bernardino Luini, 2. (Open Map)


Located at the corner of Via Luini and Corso Magenta it was once home to the most important female convent of the Benedictine order; its premises are now occupied by the Archaeological Museum of Milan.
The church is of ancient origin; some evidence brings to light the first traces of its construction in the Lombard era, due to the partial reuse of some Roman edifices. The official date for the initial construction is 1503, built upon the ruins of an ancient church joined to the Benedictine monastery and it was most probably the work of architect and sculptor Gian Giacomo Dolcebuono, assisted by Battaggio and Amadeo with whom he also worked on the Duomo of Milan, the Certosa di Pavia and the church of Santa Maria presso San Celso.
The work was taken up again fifteen years later by Cristoforo Solari. The side of the church, in Via Luini, was finished in 1872 by Angelo Colla, while the facade was completed later in 1896. The somber exterior in grey Ornavasso stone contrasts greatly with the sumptuous interior, rich in gold and frescoes (pictorial cycles of the artists Luini, Boltraffio, Bergognone, Antegnati and Campi) it consists of a nave flanked by a few small chapels covered with barrel vaults and surmounted by a serliana loggia.
In the centre of the nuns’ choir there is a precious organ dated from 1554 by Gian Giacomo Antegnani with doors painted in tempera by Francesco Medici.
The church is entirely frescoed by some of the most important artists of the '500 Lombardo including Bernardino Luini, his son Aurelio and Paolo Lomazzo. Outside you can admire the garden in the monastery cloisters and the two squared Romanic towers inserted in the ancient walls of Maximillian.
Currently the premises of the monastery house the Archaeological Museum of Milan.