The Last Supper: tickets, official website, sightseeing, interesting facts

The Last Supper, author Leonardo da Vinci
photo source: Wikipedia, public domain

Mission Impossible

An attempt to write an effective guide on how to buy entrance tickets to The Last Supper Leonardo da Vinci in Milan is a risky task, bordering on mission impossible. Why?
The answer is quite simple and quickly becomes obvious: The Last Supper is at the top the most difficult to access tourist attractions in the world. On the one hand, it enjoys unimaginable popularity, which means that any number of tickets can be sold. The demand for tickets is such that it could easily fill the entire stadium with people and display Leonardo da Vinci's work in the stadium, rather than in the small refectory at the back of the church where he was painted.
On the other hand, the place where it was painted, i.e. one of the walls of the refectory at the back of the church Santa Maria delle Grazie w Milan makes the fresco require special protection to protect it from damage. The air quality inside the room is strictly defined in terms of its composition, humidity, temperature, etc. and is constantly monitored. A maximum of 35 people + staff can be in the refectory at the same time, and the visit time is limited to 15 minutes.
You can only enter at a certain time and only if the air inside the room meets certain requirements. Powerful devices take care of the air quality inside, so breaks in sightseeing are very rare.
Strict restrictions and limits mean that a small group of people have a chance to see the Last Supper every day. The combination of enormous popularity and strict restrictions on the number of visitors gives an easily predictable effect.

The official website for tickets to the Last Supper

I could take the easy way and provide the address of the official website selling tickets and end the topic this way.

official page with tickets to Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper: https://cenacolovinciano.org/

However, I am not writing a guide to provide a solution that is not really a solution!
The attentive reader will now think and ask: how so? The official sales website is not the solution?
I answer: is not!
Go to the official website and check it out. I can safely assume that practically none of you will be able to buy a ticket there, especially during the tourist season.

I was also in a situation where I wanted to buy tickets for the Last Supper and I found out that once a quarter the official website makes available the number of tickets for the next quarter.
I always prepare for trips and I am thoroughly familiar with this mechanism. All you had to do was track the moment when tickets would be made available. I was ready and kept checking the official website until tickets became available for the time slot I wanted. When tickets appeared on the website, they were only available for a few moments. They disappeared in the blink of an eye, as if at a concert of some world-famous mega star. Luck and some miracle happened that I was on the website, that I refreshed it and in a panic I grabbed two tickets.... at a time that didn't suit me. What was there to do? I changed the entire trip plan to fit these tickets and that's it.

Why do tickets disappear so quickly?

Considering that a group of 15 people enters every 35 minutes and that the facility is open for 10 hours, it is easy to calculate that approximately 1400 people will enter the facility daily. However, the full pool is not entirely available to individual tourists, because probably a significant part of it is reserved in advance for sale to organized groups, another part for travel agencies and tourist agencies, another part for schools and educational organizations. Certain numbers of tickets are intended for people with free entry, there are also so-called “combo groups” which probably means groups that have purchased entire packages and must have entry dates within these packages. In addition, there are special days where some hours are excluded from visits for tourists, and "masterclass tour" areas, probably for people who pay a lot of money to have the opportunity to visit the refectory in comfortable conditions, without the participation of other people.
It's possible that I missed something else, but what I really want is to make you and myself aware of how few tickets from the full pool go on sale to individual tourists. When the whole world throws itself at an attraction, the effect is as I described above.

How to buy tickets?

The answer to this question lies a few sentences above: this travel agencies and tourist agencies! They may be our last resort. Somehow they have vacant seats for a long time. Sometimes you can buy a ticket from them even at the last minute.
By purchasing a ticket in this way, you will join a group created by the office, and then, before the tour, all group participants meet at a designated place to implement the tour plan together.
Of course, nothing happens without a reason. There are no solutions that have advantages and no disadvantages. Tourist agencies add a tourist service to their offer, e.g. a guide who shows the group, and sell the same ticket at a much higher price. This gives you more time and opportunity to purchase tickets, but it will be more expensive than direct purchase.

A sure solution (if you plan to do more sightseeing) is to search and buy ticket package, i.e. tickets to several attractions at the same time. Sometimes such a package is called a city card (City Pass), a museum card (Museum Pass) or something else. Then you get admission tickets (often skipping the queue) to several places for one price, and the price becomes much more attractive.

I definitely do not recommend purchasing tickets from random intermediaries. The chances of fraud in this situation are really high.

Below are three links to three well-known ticket distributors where you can look for tickets to the Last Supper. All three links contain keywords prepared by me that eliminate other attractions that are not interesting to us from the search results. This definitely makes the search easier and faster. But before you make a purchase always read the detailed description of the offer and check whether the offer includes an entry ticket to the Last Supper!

It is also worth remembering that even with these links, you will not always be able to find a ticket, or the available offers will have too high a price that you will not be able to accept. In this situation, you can check from time to time until the last minute (counting on luck) to see if anything has changed. The websites I mentioned guarantee customers the right to cancel the ticket and get a 100% refund of its value, so sometimes you come across a ticket that someone had to give up for various reasons.

Links to websites:

GetYourGude - tickets and offers for visiting the Last Supper

Tiquets - ticket packages and entry tickets to the Last Supper

Booking - Entrance tickets to the Last Supper

The Last Supper – what is worth knowing?

"The Last Supper" (Italian: "Il Cenacolo" or "L'Ultima Cena") is a monumental work by Leonardo da Vinci, which is one of the most important paintings in the history of art. Below is some interesting information: from basic data, through historical facts, to conspiracy theories related to the fresco. They will definitely make watching and analyzing the fresco live more enjoyable and will allow you to verify the theory yourself, live.

Basic information

Artysta: Leonardo da Vinci
date of creation 1495-1498
Technique: Tempera on plaster (non-traditional fresco)
Location: Refectory of the monastery Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy
dimensions: 460 cm x 880 cm

Entrance to the Last Supper tour. To the right is the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Subject

The painting depicts a scene from the New Testament when Jesus Christ announces that one of his twelve apostles will betray him. This is a key moment of the Last Supper, full of tension and emotion.

Composition

Central figure: Jesus Christ is placed centrally, emphasizing his importance. He is calm and resigned, and his posture forms a triangle - a symbol of divinity.
Apostles: The twelve apostles are arranged in four groups of three people each, creating a harmonic composition. Each group has its own unique emotions and reactions to Jesus' words.
Background: Leonardo used linear perspective and the vanishing point is on Jesus' head, further emphasizing his central role. The background shows three windows that symbolize the Holy Trinity.

High resolution copy

On May 7, 2007, 1677 partial photos of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" were taken, then assembled into one whole, and the effect of these works in the form of a huge image was made available on the Internet. The project was created thanks to the cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Culture, the De Agostini publishing house and the HAL9000 company. The image can be viewed using a convenient browser.

read more: The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci in high resolution

Interesting facts about Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper".

Painting technique: Leonardo did not use the traditional fresco technique, which involves painting on fresh plaster. Instead, he used tempera on dry wall, which had an impact on the subsequent state of preservation of the work, as this technique turned out to be less durable.

Presentation of the moment: The painting shows the moment when Jesus announces that one of his disciples will betray him. Leonardo focused on conveying the emotions and reactions of the apostles to this news.

Symbolism and composition: Each of the apostles is presented with individual reactions, which adds drama and realism. Jesus is the central figure, and his figure forms a triangle - a symbol of divinity. The apostles are divided into four groups of three, which creates a harmonic composition.

Experimenting with perspective: Leonardo used an advanced perspective technique to create a sense of depth. The vanishing point of perspective is on Jesus' head, which further emphasizes his central place in the composition.

Condition of preservation: The fresco was damaged many times. Shortly after completion, problems with its durability began to emerge. In the 1999th century it was damaged by the construction of new doors in the refectory, and during World War II the monastery was bombed, but the fresco survived. The last, very thorough restoration, ended in 21 and lasted XNUMX years (seven times longer than da Vinci's creation of the work).

No halo: Unlike earlier depictions of the "Last Supper", Leonardo did not place traditional halos over the heads of Jesus and the apostles. Some researchers believe that Leonardo wanted to show them as ordinary people.

Inspirations and influences: Leonardo was inspired by various biblical and theological sources, as well as the art of earlier masters. His "Last Supper" had a huge influence on later artists and was copied and imitated many times.

No preparation: Leonardo worked on the fresco from 1495 to 1498, but according to accounts, he often spent many hours thinking about the composition and less on the painting itself. Sometimes he would be off work for several days and then intensely for several hours.

Hidden meanings and conspiracy theories

There are many theories about the hidden meanings and symbols in the painting. In recent years, many conspiracy theories have been revived and greatly popularized by the novel "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown. If you like fast action and unexplained stories cleverly interwoven with conspiracy theories and historical facts, you will certainly like Dan Brown's novel.
Conspiracy theories surrounding the "Last Supper" are fascinating, although they often lack scientific basis. Many of them are based on subjective interpretations and speculations, which definitely adds mystery and attractiveness to the fresco.

Mary Magdalene instead of John the Evangelist

One of the most famous theories, made famous by the novel "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, suggests that the figure to the right of Jesus (on the left from the viewer's perspective) is not John the Evangelist, but Mary Magdalene. Supporters of this theory point to the feminine features of this character, such as delicate facial features and the lack of a beard.

Leonardo's code

Dan Brown in his novel suggests that Leonardo da Vinci encoded hidden messages and symbols in the painting. It is claimed that the apostles' hand arrangements and poses create hidden patterns that may have secret meanings. For example, some believe that the letters "V" and "M" formed by the arrangement of the figures symbolize "Vincit Maiores" (The Greatest Wins) or "Virgo Maria" (The Virgin Mary).

Missing cup

Traditionally, the "Last Supper" is presented with a chalice that symbolizes the Holy Grail. In Leonardo's painting, there is no visible chalice on the table. Conspiracy theorists suggest that the Grail may be a symbol of something else, such as Mary Magdalene herself as the carrier of Christ's blood.

Musical score

In 2007, Italian musician Giovanni Maria Pala suggested that the arrangement of hands and loaves of bread on the table in "The Last Supper" creates musical notes. After proper reading, they would create a short musical composition. According to Pali, Leonardo da Vinci, who was also a talented musician, may have encoded a hidden melody in the painting.

Hidden faces and figures

Some researchers suggest that hidden faces or figures can be seen in the painting. For example, some interpretations indicate the possibility of hiding the profile of Christ's face in the composition.

Tetragrammaton

This theory suggests that Leonardo da Vinci encoded the tetragrammaton - four Hebrew letters representing the name of God (YHWH) - in The Last Supper. The arrangement of figures and their gestures would symbolize this holy symbol.

Hand with a knife

One of the figures holds a knife in his hand, which has been interpreted in various ways. Some believe that the knife symbolizes betrayal, others that it is a sign of the complex symbolism of internal conflicts among the apostles.

No halo

Leonardo did not place traditional halos over the heads of Jesus or the apostles. Some interpret this as a symbol of equality between Jesus and his disciples or an attempt to portray them as ordinary people rather than divine figures.

The position of Jesus and the apostles

Some suggest that the arrangement of the apostles around Jesus creates specific patterns that may have hidden meanings. For example, the division into four groups of three apostles may symbolize the four elements, the four cardinal directions, or other philosophical concepts.

Useful GPS coordinates

Entrance to the refectory for a tour of the Last Supper, GPS coordinates:
Please remember that the painting is not in the church but in the refectory. To view the fresco, you do not enter the church, but go to the side entrance in the adjacent building, from which you go to the refectory.
45°27’58.3″N 9°10’14.3″E
45.466183, 9.170642 - click and route

Paid parking near the Last Supper in Milan, GPS coordinates:
Parking lots in Milan in this area are not cheap (about EUR 2 - 4 per hour), but there is probably no choice.
45°27’54.2″N 9°10’05.0″E
45.465041, 9.168052 - click and route

Free street parking about 450m from the Last Supper, with little chance of finding the place, GPS coordinates:
45°27’59.2″N 9°09’57.7″E
45.466429, 9.166015 - click and route

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