Our tips on Visiting the Last Supper in Milan: For art history enthusiasts, Leonardo DaVinci’s Last Supper, Il Cenacolo in Italian, is the one of the most important attractions in the whole of Italy. Seeing it in person is unforgettable. Stendhal’s Syndrome at its finest.
Without a doubt, the best way to ensure you get to see it during your time in Milan is to allow us to book you on a tour, Private or Small Group, which will show you this masterpiece along with Milan’s highlights: the Duomo, Castello Sforzesco, Galleria, and stunning La Scala Opera House.
Even for those of us who have studied art history for years, there is something to learn from an experienced guide, and much to be said for the guaranteed skip the line entry!
The Last Supper is housed inside the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. To protect the painting from outside moisture, its visitors must wait in a dehumidifying room for a few moments before the awe-striking moment of being allowed inside with the painting.
When we gaze at Leonardo’s work, we are seeing not only a monumental masterpiece, but also the work of one of the greatest scientists the world has ever known. Leonardo was famous for his ideas and experiments, and both his scientific and artistic aspects are evident here.
Before the work was ever finished, his experimental method and pigments proved to be less than successful.
The word, “fresco” implies that the paint is applied directly to the wet plaster in the wall. Here, instead, Leonardo painted onto dry plaster and using experimental paints. Perhaps one of the most endearing aspects of this painting is to see the marvel that can come of a failure.
The depiction that leaves us speechless today lost its original vibrancy while the brush was still in the artist’s hand, however its power to dissolve its onlookers into tears still today is undeniable.
Leonardo was a master of perspective. See how he blends the painting seamlessly into the wall as if it were a continuation of the room itself. Notice the balance and symmetry in the people. The expressions on their faces.
Imagine, this gorgeous level of deterioration we see today is the result of DaVinci, of the many hands involved in its restauration, of Nazi bombing it withstood in the second World War, even, some argue, the hand of God Himself. No wonder it feels so miraculous.
In 1943 when the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie was severely damaged, great worry set in for the painting, but to everyone’s surprise and elation, the painting survived with only minor damage. It is quite difficult when standing in front of the Last Supper to imagine that its subject wouldn’t have gladly shielded bombs to protect it.
And, so, as we find quite often in Italy, history lives and mingles. Completed in 1498, bombed in 1943, restored many times between its completion and today, it draws us in as it always has, connecting us with centuries long ago.
If you would like to see this yourself, we highly recommend a tour with an excellent guide. If you prefer to see it on your own, you will need to book tickets in advance, and they sell out quickly. Booking information below.
Contact us to book your tour, and your beautiful accommodations in Milan’s Vibrant City Center!
Lindsay Sinko, PFI Travel, USA
Booking is Mandatory
Opening Hours: From Tuesday to Sunday 8:15 – 19:00 (last entrance 18:45)
Closed on Mondays and on January 1st, May 1st, December 25th
How to Purchase Tickets
By contacting the call center (toll number, Mon-Sat: 8-18:30) on: +39 02 92800360. Tickets bookable only through the CALL CENTER
Free call from Italian landlines: 800 990 084
Online on the Vivaticket official website: click here
TICKET MUST ALWAYS BOOKED EVEN IF ENTRY IS FREE)
INFO TICKET COLLECTION: Present the payment receipt at the ticket office next to the museum entrance at least 20 minutes in advance of the visit to avoid the risk of forfeiting purchased tickets.
The ticket office is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 08.15 to 19.00 (last admission 18.45). Closed on Mondays and public holidays: January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.