The Dominican friars commissioned an architect, a certain Solari, to build the church. He got to work but for reasons unknown was still at it thirty years later, too long for the hopping mid-15th century Milan, Renaissance in full swing. The duke of Milan decided to take matters into his own hands and called in Bramante, (the parsley of Italian renaissance architects.. he’s everywhere).
Bramante gave the church a face-lift (re-did the façade) and touched up the apse at the rear. Of course this being classic Bramante work, the fact that the church is part Gothic and part Romanesque works out perfectly in this case, something that would have given most other architects of the time cold sweat.
The poor duke was deposed before Bramante was able to finish, and so the church got its few final bits at yet another time. To make matters even more convoluted, it is worth mentioning that what we see now is the church looking much like it did for many centuries, but in version 2.0. This because it was completely rebuilt after WWII after taking a direct hit from an airstrike. (Miraculously, daVinci’s “Last Supper” in the refectory attached to the church came out “unscathed”.. read more in our previous note here).