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  • Writer's pictureGeorgiana Tufeanu

Santa Maria delle Grazie al Naviglio

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

Navigli district is a famous area in Milan known for its nightlife, apperitivo bars, restaurants, local shops, vintage open street markets and live music. This is a place to be enjoyed by everyone. In the centre of it, a church with wide open gates invites tourists and locals. To me it looks like a possibility to have a different kind of experience of the place, one where you can as well take a moment and talk with Jesus before you continue your visit.

We will explore:

  1. History

  2. Architectural Identity: why you should visit


The construction of a church to serve Navigli’s community goes back to 1556. Early on it was decided to dedicate it to Santa Maria delle Grazie and ever since, this church holds an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary that is considered to be miraculous.

In 1901, a plan to expand the church was commissioned to the architect Cesare Nava (known by the famous project for Building of the Italian Bank in Milan) .

It took 7 years until the new church was finished and in 1909 it was consecrated by cardinal archbishop of Milan Andrea Carlo Ferrari. [1]

Architectural Identity: why you should visit


The style of the church is in neo-Romanesque with some neo-Gothic elements. It’s an extremely luminous church with natural light playing a big role. On the sides, beautiful colourful stained glass panels representing prophets and saints will make your journey inside the church delightful.

What I always liked the most is the altar, where a statue representing the Father on the throne is near the Crucifix. It’s a place that calls for contemplation, full of art and beauty.

Lateral Chapels

I like to make a tour and pray to the Virgin Mary on the left transept. Right next to the chapel you’ll also find a statue of Pietà, which will probably be one of the most emotional to contemplate. I continue my tour on the right chapel, where I can pray to Saint Anthony of Padova, one of my favourite saints.


Even if the exterior of the church is almost completely unfinished, it has a specific charm. When in Navigli, dare to take some time to experience it and see its beauty!

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