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Last Supper - Santa Maria delle Grazie

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Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper is one of the most famous works of art of all time. In the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, the Renaissance painting, which is around 16ft (5m) high, can still be admired.

Tickets to see it should be booked well in advance, because the fascination with the seemingly immortal masterpiece never fades.
Klaus KainzBy Klaus Kainz
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Book tickets get Skip-the-Line-access to Da Vinci’s Last Supper.
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Milan: Da Vinci's Last Supper Guided Tour
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Milan: Last Supper Guided Tour
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Last minute Da Vinci's Last Supper guided tour with skip-the-line tickets
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Last Supper Tickets and Guided tour
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Combine your trip to see The Last Supper with a guided tour of Milan.
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Milan: Historical Walking Tour and The Last Supper Ticket
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Milan: Renaissance Treasures & The Last Supper Walking Tour
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Milan: Walking Tour and Skip-the-Line The Last Supper
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Milan: Guided Walking Tour and Last Supper Ticket
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5 Tips for Visiting the Last Supper - Santa Maria delle Grazie

The Last Supper
1
Booking in Advance is EssentialOnly 30 guests are allowed to enter the windowless room at a time, and each slot is 15 minutes long. These restrictions are precautionary measures to avoid further damage to the wall. So order your tickets well in advance.
Santa Maria delle Grazie | Photo: Flickr, Davide Oliva - CC BY-SA 2.0
2
Guided tours and groupsTickets for guided tours can also be booked for The Last Supper. Here, all your questions can be answered directly by an expert. Without a guided tour, you should inform yourself about the history of the work in advance in order to use the time on site efficiently. Our history outline below gives you a first overview.
3
Avoid delaysMake sure to be there 10 minutes before your time slot, there is no right to admission if you are late. Approximately 45 minutes should be expected for a visit. Before admission, you will go through a room with historical information about the painting, after which you are allowed 15 minutes at the work.
4
Photos allowedIn general, photos of The Last Supper are allowed. Strictly prohibited, however, are any flash functions of your phone or device. The staff will check this very strictly.
5
Visit the rest of the monasterySanta Maria delle Grazie offers a one-two punch of art history. Just across from The Last Supper, in fact, can be seen The Crucifixion by Giovanni Donato, a lesser-known Renaissance fresco that is in comparatively good condition.
The Last Supper | Dimitris Kamaras CC BY 2.0

Why the fascination for The Last Supper?

Hardly anything is as emblematic of the Western Renaissance as Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper - at most, his own Mona Lisa could surpass the impact of the epochal wall painting. We’ve come to know the depiction of Jesus Christ's Last Supper in Santa Maria delle Grazie through countless interpretations and references in art, literature and film. But why is The Last Supper so iconic?

The origin

The Last Supper is considered a masterpiece of the Renaissance, which was the European transition from the Middle Ages to modern times. In art history, this period, which originated in Italy, was characterized by an unprecedented realism in pictorial art. One of the most famous artists and intellectuals of this period, Leonardo da Vinci, was commissioned shortly before the end of the 15th century to create the Last Supper of Jesus Christ on a 410 ft² (38m²) wall in the Santa Maria delle Grazie.

What happens on the painting

The iconic painting shows us the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with his apostles, while he opens to them that a betrayal is imminent. The expressions are visibly horrified, only the betrayer Judas has lowered his gaze. The tragic facial expression of Jesus Christ occupies the center of the picture. A peculiarity of the time: Da Vinci did not illustrate halos.
Judas Iscariot, Peter, and John | Dimitris Kamaras CC BY 2.0

A fragile matter

There are serious reasons for the strict security measures on site. Already 20 years after completion, The Last Supper was damaged and declared ruined. Whereby it may have already begun to flake off due to moisture before that. In the 17th century, a door was even briefly knocked into the wall. Protective measures and restoration attempts over the following centuries had weak or even negative effects. However, the masterpiece survived the Second World War and in 1999 the last restoration was completed. Accordingly, the remains, as they can be seen today, are very fragile.
Jesus Christ in the Center | Dimitris Kamaras CC BY 2.0

Not a simple painting

It is true that the Last Supper is a wall painting. However, it is not a traditional fresco, as we know it, for example, from ceilings in old churches and castles. Leonardo da Vinci did not apply the paint directly to the fresh plaster of the wall. This allowed him to work more slowly - he nevertheless only needed from 1494 to 1497 - and to create special details such as light reflections and shading. Conversely, his approach caused drastic problems with preservation.
John or Mary Madgalene? | Dimitris Kamaras CC BY 2.0

Popular to this day

Not only the image of the betrayal by Judas has been quoted countless times, in literature, films or even parodies. This epochal work of art took on a whole new meaning with the film adaptation of the novel The Da Vinci Code. The latter played with the idea that plans for secret conspiracies could be behind the depiction of the scene. Though scientists disproved these theories, this work of fiction gave the Renaissance painting a whole new level of popularity.
Damage Done to the Painting | Dimitris Kamaras CC BY 2.0

New splendor

The last restoration took twenty years. The new version created in 1999 is not without controversy - some experts miss details in the facial expression of Jesus Christ, for example. Nevertheless, scientific methods, among others, are said to have reconstructed Da Vinci's vision more faithfully than ever before. Botches and failed repair attempts of the previous centuries have been erased. By limiting the number of visitors and using modern ventilation systems, this newfound splendor is supposed to last for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is entrance to the Santa Maria delle Grazie accessible for disabled visitors?

The Last Supper can be visited even with motor disabilities. Read more.

Is there a checkroom for my luggage?

The museum must not be entered with large luggage, there are lockers with keys. Read more.

Is there an audio guide?

The audio guide has been abolished, the official app should be used via iOs and Android. Read more.

General Information

Opening Hours:

Santa Maria delle Grazie is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8:15 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., with last admission at 6:45 p.m. Mondays are closed. Also on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th there is no admission.

Tickets:

Tickets to Santa Maria delle Grazie cost 15€. There is a 2€ discount for visitors between 18 and 25 years, EU citizens under 18 years and people with disabilities can enter free of charge. School groups can also register free of charge, but they need a list of persons signed by the school.

COVID-19 measures:

⚠️Currently, the following measures are taken against the coronavirus:
    There is a mask requirement within the monastery. However, the green passport is no longer required for a visit.

Address:

Last Supper Museum / Santa Maria delle Grazie
Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie 2
20123 Milan
Italy

How to get there:

Santa Maria delle Grazie can be reached by metro via the Conciliazione (on the red line) or Cardona (red or green line) stations, with a 5-minute walk afterwards in each case. The streetcar lines 18 and 24 stop directly in front of the museum.
Klaus Kainz
Written byKlaus KainzAs a studied historian, Klaus is not only interested in historical sights, but also in their fascinating backgrounds. For TicketLens, he gets to the heart of the most interesting information about attractions and travel destinations.
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