The secrets of “The Last Supper” in Milano

Milano seems to be a synonym for shopping and economy in Italy. But for us, Milano had a hidden jewel that we were not willing to miss. In Milano you can appreciate one of the masterpieces of Leonardo da Vinci: the world-renowned mural painting called “The Last Supper” (1494-1498). The painting represents the scene of the last supper that Jesus had with his apostles, as it was explained in the Gospel of John. Do you want to know where you can visit this masterpiece that has given rise to admiration and spectulation all around the world? Just keep reading!

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Laura couldn’t wait to see the painting!

The answer is Santa Maria delle Grazie, a church and Dominican convent completed by 1469. The construction was ordered by the Scorza familiy who decided to use the temple as a burial site. The nave was built under the Gothic style and the apse and the dome, under the Reinassance one. The church is located in the square with the same, just 20 minutes walking from the famous Duomo (Cathedral) of the city. You will easiliy identify it by its terracotta façade which represents the best Lombard tradition.

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The beautiful three-aisled nave of Santa Maria delle Grazie

But exactly where in the convent can visitors find “The Last Supper”? Well, the painting was made in the refectory, that is to say, the dining room (quite appropriate!). The fact is that, during the Second World War, on 1943, the church and the convent were hit by the Anglo-American aerial bombardment and the refectory was mostly destroyed. But fortunatelly the wall holding “The Last Supper” survived and, as from the late 1970s, restorarion works were carried out on it. The masterpiece by da Vinci is not alone in the refectory. In front of it, you can also appreciate “The Crucifixion”, a work by the Milanese painter Giovanni Donato da Montorfano.

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“The Crucifixion” (1495)

But let’s get straight to the point. How to buy tickets to see this masterpiece? First of all, decide your visit beforehand. Bookings are available two or three months in advance and, as per our experience, you need to be quick: when tickets for a certain month start to be sold, appointments, especially if they are in the weekend, run out fast. Secondly, always buy your tickets in the official website. We have seen lots of websites that sell tickets for “The Last Supper”, which sometimes are quite expensive. So buy them directly from the site authorized by the Italian government, which, by the way, is also available in English. You just need to search for the activity “Cenacolo Vinciano”. Each ticket costs 12 euros (including the booking fee) and 7 euros if you are a European citizen aged between 18 and 25.

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Everyone taking pictures at “The Last Supper”

A maximum of 30 visitors are allowed to enter at the same time. The room is carefully climate controlled and the light is supervised too, all of that for the preservation of the painting. Visit lasts only 15 minutes but we can promise that it is worth it. We loved to watch that masterpiece and to feel the emotions of the characters that cross the distance between the wall and the visitors. Their expressions completely reflect the atmosphere of the moment that the painting is said to represent, the announcement by Jesus that one of his apostles was to betray him. Therefore, we strongly recommend a quick visit to Santa Maria delle Grazie if you ever go to Milano. Reality is always better than pictures!

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John or Mary Magdalene? Who knows…
Two Traveling Texans

 

19 thoughts on “The secrets of “The Last Supper” in Milano”

  1. I had no idea that The Last Supper was in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie. I had only one short day in Milan, but I would have gone to see it. As for who the person next to Jesus is in that painting, the Bible says that at the Last Supper only the disciples were there, but this surely looks like a woman. I think da Vinci wanted to confuse us, or maybe make a statement?!

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    1. Yes, the painting remains in its original location and a lot of effort is done to preserve it. As you say the figure next to Jesus is quite feminine, but it seems that da Vinci used to paint men in that way. Thanks for reading!

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    1. I remember that we were with the group and a guide that took us to the room but once there we had time to enjoy the painting on our own. Although it is difficult to get tickets for that visit I agree that it is highly recommendable! Thanks for your comment!

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  2. We went to Milan 17 years ago during our honeymoon specifically to see the Last Supper, but sadly we were unaware that we needed reservations, so didn’t get to see it. I’ve always wanted to go back, but this time I’ll be more prepared. Though in my defense, that was before I was as internet savvy as I am now. LOL! #theweeklypostcard

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  3. I have seen photos of the painting after the WWII bombardment and thought it must have been divine intervention or something for the artwork to have survived like this!!
    #WanderfulWednesday

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  4. Wow, I had no idea that this famous masterpiece of Da Vinci’s could be found in Milan! I thought that it was a city for fashionistas and those with a lot of money to spend, haha. I’ve seen the Mona Lisa in the Louvre and found it rather underwhelming, so I hope this one lives up to the hype!

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    1. Hi Michelle! I must admit I didn’t know it before we decided to go to Milan for a weekend last winter. And it was a great surprise to know it with enough time to book the tickets 🙂 Hope you can see it in the future! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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