The early-Christian church of San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore is located near via Luini and Corso Magenta. In the past it was attached to the most important Benedictine nunnery and it was nicknamed Milan’s “Cappella Sistina” because of its fresco cycle made by Leonardo Da Vinci’s disciples. The church was built in 1503 as the nunnery’s church and it might have been designed by architect and sculptor Giangiacomo Dolcebuono. The side of the building facing via Luini was designed by Angelo Colla and was restored in 1872.
The façade, was built between 1581 and 1896, is divided into three levels portioned by pilasters, with three curved windows on the second level and an oculus on the third level. The architectural design of the first two levels is repeated on the left side. The church has a single nave intersected by a partition wall thus creating two sections: the front section was occupied by normal people, whereas the back section was only for the choir of the nunnery, which attended the masses beyond a grating.
The church of San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore shows traces of wonderful frescoes, mostly made by Bernardino Luini. Other important artworks are the wooden choir used by the nuns and frescoes by Vincenzo Foppa on the intrados of the choir’s vault. The church is also one of the seats of Museo Civico Archeologico di Milano: it hosts the Greek section, the Etruscan section, the Roman section, the Barbarian section and the Gandhara section. The prehistoric section and the Egyptian section are situated in the Sforzesco castle.