top of page

How to see The Last Supper, in Milan, at the last minute?


Santa Maria delle Grazie - Milan - Milano - Italie - Italy - Italia - Complexe - Complex - Couvent - Eglise - Church - Chiesa - Convent - Réfectoire - Refectory - Leonardo da Vinci - Léonard de Vinci - La Cène - Ultima Cena - Last Supper - Chef d'oeuvre - Masterpiece - Visite - Visit - Jésus - Jesus - Douze - Twelve - Apôtres - Apostles - Dernier repas - Trahison - Betray - Judas - Peinture - Paint - Painting - Mur - Wall - Détrempe - Tempera - Mural - Must - See - Incontournable - Unmissable - Not to be missed - A voir - Absolument - Séjour - Stay - Trip - Voyage - Travel - Passage - Solara - Blog

The famous Last Supper, a mural painting in tempera made between 1494 and 1498 by Leonardo da Vinci


The city of Milan has a treasure to discover during your stay: Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, a 460×880 cm painting adorning a wall in the refectory of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.


Unfortunately, it often takes several weeks or even months in advance to get an entrance ticket, which is a precious sesame to have the chance to observe the work in a small group of maximum 35 people for 15 minutes. However, I managed to find a way to get a ticket with my husband only three days before the visit, and this, during the high season that is the Easter vacations in Italy.


How? I explain it to you in this article, as well as the reasons that make this visit a must during your stay in Milan. Finally, I give you the practical information to plan your visit.

 

SUMMARY

  1. Two ways to see The Last Supper at the last minute

  2. The Last Supper: a must-see in Milan

  3. Practical information about the visit of The Last Supper

 

1. Two ways to see The Last Supper at the last minute


The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, whose refectory houses The Last Supper


My husband and I planned our trip to Milan during Easter week 2023 at the very last minute and seeing The Last Supper was clearly on our bucket list.


I then went to the official website of the Museo del Cenacolo Vinciano (the Leonardo's Last Supper Museum), and I also phoned the official call center to reserve tickets (+39 02 92800360), naively thinking that there would still be slots available three days before, in the middle of Easter week. Of course, this was not the case, everything was fully booked for the next three months.


A first possibility to get last minute tickets is to check regularly the availability on the official website or to go directly to the site when you are there, hoping that there will be a last minute cancellation, and therefore, available tickets. But, the chances are clearly minimal.


Santa Maria delle Grazie - Milan - Milano - Italie - Italy - Italia - Complexe - Complex - Couvent - Eglise - Church - Chiesa - Convent - Réfectoire - Refectory - Leonardo da Vinci - Léonard de Vinci - La Cène - Ultima Cena - Last Supper - Chef d'oeuvre - Masterpiece - Visite - Visit - Jésus - Jesus - Douze - Twelve - Apôtres - Apostles - Dernier repas - Trahison - Betray - Judas - Peinture - Paint - Painting - Mur - Wall - Détrempe - Tempera - Mural - Must - See - Incontournable - Unmissable - Not to be missed - A voir - Absolument - Séjour - Stay - Trip - Voyage - Travel - Passage - Solara - Blog

In our case, we opted for a second, more expensive, but also much safer option: booking a tour through the Get Your Guide website, which we were using for the first time. So we were half reassured about paying a lot of money through an unofficial channel.


Indeed, it was expensive: 75 euros / person, instead of 15 euros / person the entrance ticket on the official website of the Museum. But it allowed us to experience not only what remains the most moving memory of our stay in Italy (we spent two days in Milan, then five days in Rome) but also to benefit from a very instructive two-hour guided walking tour of the city of Milan (Sforza's Castle, Via Dante, La Scala, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Duomo, among others).


This tour with Get Your Guide was very well organized. On the day, we met the guide directly in Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, she was holding an orange Get Your Guide sign. Afterwards, we were each given headphones and a radio so that we could hear the guide in all circumstances, despite the crowd, the fact that we had to whisper in the refectory in front of The Last Supper and the noise during the guided tour of the city. The tour started and ended on time and the guide was very pleasant and interesting, speaking impeccable English. The only downside was the speed of the walking tour of the city, you have to be prepared to keep up. Nevertheless, I recommend this tour to discover The Last Supper and Milan!


Moreover, it should be noted that Get Your Guide offers different tours, of different durations, with different visits, at different prices, including access to The Last Supper. The key is, when you search on the website or the application, to indicate the object of your search, the date on which you want to make your visit and then will be displayed all the possibilities of tours offered by the platform that day.

 

2. The Last Supper: a must-see in Milan


Santa Maria delle Grazie - Milan - Milano - Italie - Italy - Italia - Complexe - Complex - Couvent - Eglise - Church - Chiesa - Convent - Réfectoire - Refectory - Leonardo da Vinci - Léonard de Vinci - La Cène - Ultima Cena - Last Supper - Chef d'oeuvre - Masterpiece - Visite - Visit - Jésus - Jesus - Douze - Twelve - Apôtres - Apostles - Dernier repas - Trahison - Betray - Judas - Peinture - Paint - Painting - Mur - Wall - Détrempe - Tempera - Mural - Must - See - Incontournable - Unmissable - Not to be missed - A voir - Absolument - Séjour - Stay - Trip - Voyage - Travel - Passage - Solara - Blog

From left to right: Bartholomew, James, Andrew, Simon Peter, Judas Iscariot, John, Jesus, Thomas, James, Philip, Matthew, Thaddaeus and Simon


You may be in a position where you are hesitant to put that much money into making that visit. So I have two arguments. The first one is that when you visit a place, you never know in advance if you will have the opportunity to go back there one day in your life. The second is that The Last Supper is truly a must-see masterpiece on any visit to Milan. Let me explain why.


The main reason is the emotion felt in front of this immense work painted at the end of the 15th century, which stands there in front of you, in its original location, in a better state of conservation than you could imagine. Moreover, the conditions of the visit in a small group where you have the painting almost to yourself for 15 precious minutes also contribute to the good appreciation of this striking moment. Finally, the guided tour allows you to discover and understand all the symbolism present in the work. I give you here some keys to know where to look.



First of all, it is important to know that the church and the convent that make up the Santa Maria delle Grazie complex were built between 1465 and 1482. It was in 1490 that the new lord of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, renovated the architecture and decoration, calling on Leonardo da Vinci to paint the Last Supper in the convent refectory. In fact, when we stand in front of this work today, we are immediately transposed to the era by imagining the Dominicans eating in the refectory while contemplating the Last Supper, so magnetic and expressive is this painting, despite its faded colors.


In The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci depicts the moment when Jesus announces, in the words of the Gospel: "one of you will betray me", causing the surprise and consternation of the apostles around him and with whom Jesus dines for the last time, hence the name Last Supper from the Latin "Cena" meaning "evening meal".


In particular, you can see that Jesus' head is framed by the central window, surrounded by the glow of the sky that replaces the traditional halo, while Judas, who is the only apostle with his back to the viewer, is in the shadows. Judas can also be seen with his hand outstretched towards the purse that was offered to him to divulge Jesus' location. Furthermore, da Vinci uses perspective to give the viewer the feeling that the scene is an extension of real space and that he is, therefore, part of it.


The second reason why this visit is a must is the past history of The Last Supper, making its current existence a real miracle. In fact, the technique used by da Vinci, which is not fresco, but tempera, did not allow the colors of the painting to resist humidity. In addition, the occupants of the monastery dug doors in the lower part of the work. Then, the Napoleonic army used the refectory as a stable and a target. Finally, during World War II, bombing destroyed the roof of the refectory, leaving the painting open for several years. The wall remained in place. Over the centuries, many restoration campaigns have attempted to preserve the work of the Italian painter, the last of which was completed in 1999.


La - Crucifixion - Giovanni - Donato - da - Montorfano - Peinture - Paint - Painting - Mural - Mur - Wall - Fresque - Fresco - En face - In front - Santa Maria delle Grazie - Milan - Milano - Italie - Italy - Italia - Complexe - Complex - Couvent - Eglise - Church - Chiesa - Convent - Réfectoire - Refectory - Leonardo da Vinci - Léonard de Vinci - La Cène - Ultima Cena - Last Supper - Chef d'oeuvre - Masterpiece - Visite - Visit - Jésus - Jesus - Douze - Twelve - Apôtres - Apostles - Dernier repas - Trahison - Betray - Judas - Peinture - Paint - Painting - Mur - Wall - Détrempe - Tempera - Mural - Must - See - Incontournable - Unmissable - Not to be missed - A voir - Absolument - Séjour - Stay - Trip - Voyage - Travel - Passage - Solara - Blog

The Crucifixion by Giovanni Donato da Montorfano


Fun fact: in front of The Last Supper, in the refectory, stands the monumental fresco of The Crucifixion by Donato Montorfano, but unfortunately, almost no one lingers there, wanting to take advantage of every precious 15 minutes to observe every detail of The Last Supper.



Then, after having observed The Last Supper, I obviously recommend you to visit the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie because, during the visit of The Last Supper, you will only see the refectory. In this church, you can observe the magnificent tribune by Donato Bramante.



I recommend that you go out through the lovely cloister of the church, where you can see the frog fountain.


Finally, you should know that the church, the convent and Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper are the second Italian site to be classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO, in 1980.

 

3. Practical information about the visit of The Last Supper


First of all, you should know that the Last Supper Museum is closed on Mondays, December 25 and January 1. All other days, it is open from 8:15 am to 7:00 pm (last access at 6:45 pm).


Then, before being able to access The Last Supper, each person must pick up its ticket in person at the ticket office at least 30 minutes before the visit, upon presentation of an ID. So don't forget to pick up your ID or passport on the day. At the same place, free lockers are available to leave your belongings as it is forbidden to bring food or drinks inside.


Finally, for groups of at least 10 people, reservations must be made by writing to the following e-mail address: cenacologruppi@adartem.it



See you soon for more articles dedicated to Milan and Rome!

 

=> I hope that this article has helped you in the preparation of your stay in Milan and, if you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate, I'll be happy to get back to you!


Don't hesitate to read my other articles on Milan dedicated to the discovery of the mythical Scala on a guided tour, but also to five unusual places to discover in this city and, finally, to three gourmet addresses in Milan!

コメント


bottom of page