The church and monastery of San Sisto are opening their doors to allow visitors to admire Raphael’s Sistine Madonna, one of the greatest masterpieces in the world of art, which has been brought back in virtual form to Piacenza, the city for which it was commissioned.

Since spring 2021, in the interior of one of Piacenza’s most precious architectural gems, an exhibition will take place in spaces that are being opened to the public for the first time, and that, through video projections, films and virtual reconstructions, will recount the history of the monastery complex and of Raphael’s Sistine Madonna – now located in the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden – that was created specifically for this site.

The tour begins in the Abbot’s Apartments, where visitors can learn about the history of this powerful monastery founded as a convent by Queen Engelberga, before continuing through the crypt and the choir of the basilica. Multimedia devices will show visitors the original location of the precious painting in the apse of the church and will give an account of the events surrounding the painting’s commissioning, its painful sale to the Elector of Saxony for 25,000 scudi, an exorbitant amount for the period, and the attention paid to the work by scholars, philosophers and artists that continues to the present day.

In the monastery choir, an immersive experience will allow viewers to appreciate the beauty of the precious place that housed the work for more than two centuries, just as the monks who knew Raphael’s masterpiece would have done.