Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper Tours in Milan
2023 Top Tickets
Visiting Milan and you REALLY want to see Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper painting, yes? You’d like to know how to get tickets for this once in a lifetime experience without being disappointed? If so, you’re in a great spot. In this post, I shall answer both of the above questions and tell you how. The easiest way is to opt for one of Leonardo’s The Last Supper tours to see the mural painting at the Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan.
You may wonder why I say “disappointed”…Well, let me share my experience which prompted me to write this post back in November of 2021.
I am a planner, right to every detail. Visiting some attractions at a destination that are dear to me is planned in advance and itineraries often revolve around these visits. However, during a visit to Northern Italy, a last-minute opportunity arose to visit Milan.
I had long wanted to visit the celebrated Milan Cathedral along with the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. It was a perfect opportunity to see the renowned attractions so I could cross them off my life list. I anticipated no problems in acquiring two tickets to Leonardo’s The Last Supper as it was November, off-season and less touristy. Most attraction websites advertise that you could purchase these at the last minute. I thought I could. Much to my disappointment, there were none available and I could not get any of The Last Supper tickets. I tried every website that promoted The Last Supper activity but it wasn’t to be. So, I could not see the painting on the wall and I was gravely disappointed.
I returned to Milan. This time by pre-booking Leonardo’s The Last Supper tours tickets well in advance of my travels and then sorted out my flights! It was so good to return to Milan with my family and I was delighted to cross-off these experiences on my life list.
Booking The Last Supper tours tickets in Milan in advance is imperative.
Go here to watch the Instagram reel of Milan Cathedral from the rooftop.
Recommended read: The Best of Milan: Watching the Sunset from the Rooftop of the Duomo.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THIS GUIDE
Initially, this post was written suggesting the various options for Leonardo’s Last Supper tickets. In this updated post, I’ve added more info and tips. I share with you all about my experiences of visiting this truly remarkably splendid Leonardo’s painting and how to get The Last Supper tickets in Milan.
Here is an overview of what is covered:
- About Visiting Leonardo’s The Last Supper;
- Leonardo da Vinci: The Last Supper painting at Santa Maria delle Grazie;
- What does The Last Supper show?
- Preserving Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper painting;
- How to get The Last Supper Tickets in Milan;
- Practical Information;
- Travel tips;
- What’s new on the blog;
THE CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DELLE GRAZIE
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper painting is housed on a wall in the Refectory of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan.
The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is an attraction in its own right and deserving of a visit. Showcasing a combination of both Renaissance and Gothic architectural style, the basilica is a structure of sophistication. Protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site , the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is an emblem within the Catholic tradition and a symbol of Renaissance Milan.
Not many know this but you can visit the church without a ticket. Most tours to The Last Supper combine a visit to the church, so people think that they need a ticket to visit. This tip is particularly handy for those who are exploring the Santa Maria della Grazie and the The Last Supper on their own.
TIP: It is free to visit the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie itself and you do not need to pre-book. It’s open for worship and visits. However, visiting hours differ from that of the Refectory. Generally, the basilica is open till lunch time (from 07:00 – 13:00) and later in the day (15:00 – 19:30).
LEONARDO DA VINCI: THE LAST SUPPER PAINTING AT THE REFECTORY OF SANTA MARIA DELLE GRAZIE, MILAN
You need a ticket to see Leonardo’s The Last Supper in Milan. With a ticket to The Last Supper, you have access to the museum and the serene inner courtyard at the refectory.
Note: 18 months ago, there used to be 18 people every 15 minutes but now, that is reduced to 15.
The Refectory at the Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan is a large rectangular room that was once used as a dining hall for the monks of the Dominican convent attached to the church.
The Last Supper mural is the dominating feature of the Refectory which covers the entire end wall of the room.
The Refectory has high ceilings which enhances the viewing experience of da Vinci’s The Last Supper painting. The walls are painted in a warm yellow ochre color, which provides a soft, muted backdrop for the striking and detailed mural of The Last Supper.
At the Refectory, The Last Supper painting is not the only gem that will captivate your attention. On the other wall, directly across to The Last Supper is another painting, The Crucifixion. The Crucifixion is attributed to Giovanni Donato da Montorfano who painted it in 1495. While most of the painting was by Donato, it is believed that the figures of the Duke and his family were painted by Leonardo, photo below.
I was totally fascinated with Donato’s painting. The colours are vibrant. The figures are highly expressive, with each individual displaying their own unique emotions and reactions to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
WHAT DOES THE LAST SUPPER SHOW
Leonardo’s The Last Supper mural painting depicts a relatively simple composition of human reaction in a varied and complex show of emotions. The painting contrasts between light and dark on the figures. The artwork closely represents the moments in the Christian Gospel, the scene of The Last Supper with Jesus Christ and his 12 Apostles, just after he reveals that he will be betrayed by one of them.
In the painting, Jesus wearing the traditional robe in red and blue, appears at the centre of a lengthened table with his disciples on both, the left and right side of him. Leonardo painted the disciples in four groups of three, symmetrically level. Jesus declares that he will soon be betrayed by “the one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with will betray me” (Matthew 26:23).
Judas, who sits to the right of Jesus reaches out to the same bowl on the table simultaneously as Jesus, an act that marks Judas as the betrayer. Jesus also marks the supper with the sharing of wine and a piece of bread, thus establishing the Holy Communion rite.
Leonardo depicts an austere room in which the meal takes place. The sides are lined with dark tapestries. The back wall is accentuated with three windows, with views of the rolling hills of Milan’s countryside.
LEONARDO’S THE LAST SUPPER IS ONE OF THE FINEST RENAISSANCE ART IN THE WORLD
Described as “a beautiful and marvelous thing” by Giorgio Vasari*, The Last Supper is one of the world’s greatest and most famous artworks of Leonardo da Vinci which he painted between between 1495 and 1498.
Leonardo adopted a unique technique, deviating from the traditional fresco method where paintings are created on wet plaster. In his painting of The Last Supper, Leonardo aimed for greater detail and brightness. The wall received a double coating of plaster and was left to dry. Leonardo used tempera and oil paint on the dry wall to achieve his aims for luminosity.
Leonardo adopted the unusual linear painting styles discovered in the Renaissance era to create the illusion of space. He applied parallel lines to converge at a single point to create the illusion of depth on a flat surface. This style of linear perspective draws the viewers attention to a single vantage point, in this painting is Jesus’ right temple. The focus to the centre of the painting depicts Jesus watching over the entire scene as well as very much present in the intense moment.
Leonardo’s The Last Supper painting is best viewed fifteen feet above ground.
*Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) in his book, Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects. The book more often simply known as “The Lives” (Le Vite in Italian) depicts the biographies of his fellow artists and has been acclaimed as perhaps, the most important book on the history of art ever written. The Lives was originally published in 1550 and the English version in 1908.
PRESERVING THE LAST SUPPER MURAL PAINTING
Over time, The Last Supper mural sustained damage and underwent several restorations. The final restoration was completed in 1999. Despite restoration works, Leonardo’s attempt to preserve luminous colour, and soft facial expressions have been lost. The linear perspective which he employed is still noticeable along with the human expressions and gestures.
The incredible Leonardo’s The Last Supper in Milan is one of the finest in the world and remains fragile. Public viewing is managed in small groups of 15 and for fifteen-minutes only. This ensures a slow deterioration.
HOW TO GET LEONARDO’S THE LAST SUPPER TICKETS IN MILAN
It is possible to obtain Leonardo’s The Last Supper tickets from the official website which I shall explain below. However, I still do believe that it is worth paying a little more by joining Leonardo’s Last Supper tours. By doing so, you are assured of an entry ticket to the Refectory without inconveniences and the opportunity to learn about the history of the painting from a knowledgeable guide.
TIP: All Leonardo’s The Last Supper tours and tickets include access to the Santa Maria delle Grazie museum.
Leonardo’s The Last Supper at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie can be viewed in one of the following four ways. In all of these options, you must book your place in advance of your visit to avoid disappointment.
Leonardo’s The Last Supper Tickets Official Website
The official website is Cenacolo Vinciano. The museum releases a limited number of tickets to the general public at a certain time of the year. Reservations are open every three months for a limited time within which time you can reserve your tickets. As the tickets released are not nearly enough, ensure that you reserve yours in the early days of its release.
Their website indicates the channels through which you could get in touch to reserve your tickets. If you miss the time frame, you miss the opportunity and you need to wait for the next release which will be in a further three months. You can register at the website with your email for a notification when tickets are released. In this way, you’ll be one of the first to reserve.
Another thing you need to be aware of is that the ticket price does not come with an audio guide. Ensure you include the audio guide (presently at 8 Euros) when you reserve your tickets.
This option is great if your travel plans to Milan are inconclusive and you have the time to wait for three months. Another three months if you miss the earlier release.
Note: You are allowed to reserve a maximum of 5 tickets twice in a calendar year.
As for me, the waiting and the thought of possibly missing the reservation deadline make me feel really anxious. For this reason, I booked my Last Supper tickets in advance, and know for certain that this time, I shall see the painting on the wall.
I’d highly recommend that you book any one of the following three Leonardo’s The Last Supper tours in Milan for best experiences. I have included tours to The Last Supper specifically along with tours that combine the Last Supper with another activity. As always, I’d like to bring the best to my readers so you can make the best decision to suit your itinerary.
Yes, the tours for the Last Supper painting specifically are a little more expensive than Cenocalo Vinciano but I think it is okay to pay a little more for peace of mind and to save time while also alleviate the uncertainty of it all.
Combining activities is absolutely great when you are on a short visit to Milan but want to see everything the fashionable city is famed for. For this reason, I have selected the most popular and highly rated activities so you can have the very best of experience in Milan. Personally, I prefer the Milan Cathedral and the Last Supper combination which I found to be a good value for money option.
The Last Supper Guided Tour
The Last Supper guided tour ensures that you get an up-close and personal experience of Leonardo da Vinci‘s painting on the refectory wall at Santa Maria delle Grazie.
In this guided tour, your guide will give a quick introduction to Renaissance art in Italy, describing how it became one of the most fertile periods of painting in the world. You’ll also learn why the Duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro, commissioned Leonardo to paint the mural during the most important period in the Milanese Renaissance. The guided tour lasts for about an hour.
With a guided tour, you have skip-the-line access, and includes an audio guide. You will have time to ask questions after the tour also.
A Combined Tour of the Last Supper with another activity in Milan city
As already mentioned, a combined tour with the Last Supper ticket is really good if you want to see much of Milan in one day so you are free to explore other areas in the region during the rest of your visit.
If you don’t have much time, it is still possible to experience Leonardo’s The Last Supper painting and the city of Milan. Go here for a half-day tour that encompasses the Last Supper and Milan’s highlights.
For a longer day and to see more of Milan, I have the following suggestions for you to consider:
LEONARDO’S THE LAST SUPPER PAINTING + MILAN CATHEDRAL + WALKING TOUR OF MILAN
Last Supper Tour combined with a visit to Milan Cathedral and includes a City Walking Tour. This activity gives you skip-the-line access to both attractions. In this tour, you’ll experience Piazza della Scalla and visit Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini along with priority access at the church of San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore.
Recommended read: Guide to Sempione Park, Milan.
Last Minute The Last Supper Tickets and Private Tours
If you have more than 24 hours before you need the tickets in Milan, this provider offers an opportunity where you could book a last-minute Last Supper ticket.
To be sure that you do not miss anything of Milan, go on a private tour with an expert guide. Without having to wait in line, go on this private tour and visit:
The LAST SUPPER, DUOMO INCLUDING ROOFTOP ACCESS AND OTHER HIGHLIGHTS of the incredible city.
FOR A PRIVATE TOUR OF THE LAST SUPPER, DUOMO, SFORZA CASTLE and MORE.
Important: Whichever tour you select, ensure you are booked to receive an audio guide/headsets. Most tours do provide them but some of the cheaper tours don’t. Make sure you check what is included in the price you pay for.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT LEONARDO’S THE LAST SUPPER TOURS
You can find the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie at the following location:
Add: Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is open to the public and you don’t need a ticket or an entry fee for this. Really a beautiful church and is worth making time for. The opening hours of the church differ slightly from the Refectory where Leonardo’s The Last Supper painting is.
You can visit the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in the following days and times:
Monday Saturday: 07.00 – 13.00 and 15.00 – 19.30
Sunday: 07.30 – 12.30 and 15.00 – 21.00
The Refectory at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie where the Last Supper is can be visited with a ticket at the following days and times:
From Tuesday to Saturday: 09.00 to 19.00.
On Sunday from 09.00 to 13.45
**Video recordings are not allowed at the Refectory.
The Last Supper painting by Leonardo da Vinci is an incredible piece of Renaissance art and one of the most famous in the world. The masterpiece represents simplicity, yet has a masterful effect. The scene is striking and the composition of colours is powerful. The expressions of the disciples are dramatic and so real; shock, horror and rage. You simply got to see it.
I sincerely hope that this guide has given you the answers to getting The Supper tickets in Milan, an attraction which often tops the list for some of us. Also, I hope to have given you a good idea of what to expect when you visit the Refectory at Santa Maria delle Grazie. Leonardo’s The Last Supper tours are a great way to secure your place to see this masterpiece in Milan. With this guide, my sincere wish is for you to be able to plan a visit to see The Last Supper in Milan and have a splendid time in the fashion city.
Milan is a beautiful city with so much to offer. Some say you can see it in a day while others say you’ll need a few days. I’d say, see as much as you can in a day or two or three but also make time to see some of the region. Go on a day trip from Milan. They have splendid trains here. Visit Verona which has so much more than Juliet’s balcony. Take a trip to Venice , the city of canals where the sunset brings a million smiles, or the Italian lakes, a place where lush mountains, steep cliffs and crystal clear waters enchant you to stay and you may never leave!
Take a look at my travel tips for Italy. The following guide to Milan has everything you need for ideas to plan your itinerary. Take a look.
Before you go, take a look at some of my other articles about Italy. These are in-depth guides, with information and tips which are designed to support your travels to Italy so you can explore by yourself.
Would you like to visit the Italian Lakes region?
If so, here’s my guide to Lake Como. Renowned as an A-lister’s paradise, and a favourite for every day travellers also, Lake Como truly is a destination not to miss. In the following guides, I share my experiences about places to visit, hidden charms and things to do in Lake Como:
You may also like Lake Garda, a renowned tourist destination famously known for its healing thermal waters.
I guess this is all I have for this article about Leonardo’s The Last Supper Tours. Have a splendid time in Milan and a great Leonardo’s The Last Supper experience.
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