Whether you are an appreciator of religious art or not, San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore is a must-see in Milan.
Let me state the obvious: the Catholic Church has had a massive impact on Italian art and culture — to the point that a great deal of most memorable historical sites throughout Italy are churches or chapels or something along those lines.
It’s not uncommon to find churches that are divided into two sections, usually one for the noble and the clergy & one for commoners, but with San Maurizio we’re talking about a different kind of “divisive” devotion. From the early 16th century to the early 19th century, San Maurizio was the home of cloistered nuns: while people could attend Mass in the front part of the church, the nuns were only allowed to pray in the monastery at the back and for no reason could they go outside. They were only able to talk to their parents or receive the holy communion through two very small hatch windows on very rare occasions.
Thanks to a massive restoration, San Maurizio returned to its original splendor in 2015. The vaults are just gorgeous, and the frescos depicting the landscapes really make you reconsider all those times you felt too lazy to get out of the house and wouldn’t… only a daydream for the poor nuns.
Some call San Maurizio “Milan’s Sistine Chapel”: I often take visitors here on my walking tours as a Greeter and people agree, it’s a church of astonishing beauty.