Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” Milan's hottest arts and culture ticket. Domenico Calerghi
Is it impossible to get into Milan’s convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie to see it? Well, almost impossible. Dan Brown wrote the Da Vinci Code in 2003 more than 10 years ago, and the film was not that much of a success. So one could think that the queue of tourists wanting to take a peek at Mrs. Jesus has become a lot more reasonable. But it’s even better now than that. In fact there is no queue at all, as you MUST book your visit in advance. Painted between 1494 and 1498, the Last Supper was also a technological innovation of Leonardo. He did it at “secco,” using tempera over the dry plaster walls of the refectory, the church’s dining room. This was a mistake. The secco technique is not the most archival, and so the fresco had to be restored several times before the most recent work on it, in 1999. This last restoration revived, after removing layers of grime, the gorgeous original colors. But it also made the fresco more fragile than ever before. To ensure that the fabulous fresco is kept at constant temperature and not exposed to too much carbon monoxide, the visitor intake has been restricted to a group of 25 admitted every 25 minutes.
The Church and Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie has been listed as part of UNESCO’s Worldwide Heritage since 1980. The Last Supper is, mostly because of its religious and psychological aspects and the master Leonardo’s glorious artistry, one of the world’s most celebrated artworks.
Reservation at + 39 02 89 42 11 46 or at Cenacolo Vinciano Entrance Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie – corso Magenta- English guided tours
As Santa Maria delle Grazie is a bit of a trek from the city center, why not start with Castello Sforzesco and walk to Santa Maria delle Grazie -- passing through piazzale Cadorna on the way? Then, when you are a block away from the Museo della Scienza et della Tecnica, within the San Vittore monastery, visit the main gallery on the second floor dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci the researcher. And from there, San Ambrogio is just around the block.