Santa Maria presso San Satiro church is located in Via Torino and it is one of Bramante’s masterpieces. The church was built in 879 (this is testified by the chapel named Cappella della Pietà) for want of archbishop Ansperto, in order to celebrate Satiro, Sant’Ambrogio’s brother. The works for the current church began in 1476-1477 but documents show that Donato Bramante, who designed the church, only started working at it in 1478. The façade remained unfinished due to disagreements between the architect and the executor Giovanni Antonio Amadeo.
In early 19th century the church was restored: the main façade overlooking via Torino (1871) was restored by architect Giuseppe Vandoni who removed the tiles made by Amadeo. If you look at the church from via Falcone, you’ll see pilaster strips with fine capitals and two portals, and the ancient bell tower (late 10th century), an example of Romanesque bell towers.
The church with three naves is renowned for the illusory perspective by Bramante; the entrance of Cappella della Pietà is in the left transept and that’s the only part of the church left of the basilica commissioned by Ansperto in the 9th century: above the altar there’s the sculptural group “Lamentation over the dead Christ”, by Agostino De Fondulis (1482), made of fourteen terracotta statues. Another important section of Santa Maria presso San Satiro church is the octagonal-plan baptistery, also known as Bramante’s sacristy, with two orders of pilaster strips and a dome: it’s entirely decorated with bas reliefs made of terracotta designed by Bramante and made by De Fondulis.