Da Vinci’s The Last Supper is one of Milan’s greatest attractions. If you’re wondering where to find it, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll examine where you’ll be able to see the Last Supper for yourself and how much it’s going to cost you. We’ll also briefly examine the painting itself, in case you’re not yet too familiar.
Where is the Last Supper?
The Last Supper is a mural by Leonardo da Vinci located in the very centre of Milan, in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie. It is one of the most famous and widely celebrated artworks of the Western World. And, uniquely enough, it has not moved since its inception. It has been exactly in that spot since 1498, when da Vinci was commissioned to paint the mural by the Duke of Milan.
The Basilica itself is located on Corso Magenta and Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, about 20 minutes by foot from Milan Cathedral. You can also get there by metro (Conciliazone station, on line 1 from near the Cathedral or line 2 from Milano Centrale station). The walk from the main station takes about an hour and it goes past some of Milan’s best attractions, so it’s also a great option.
Tickets to see The Last Supper in Milan
Do you need a ticket to see The Last Supper? Sadly, yes, and you should do it online, well in advance. The waiting period for a free slot can sometimes be a couple of months. You can buy them here. The cost of a regular ticket is €15 (currently, and until December 15 of 2023, €16, because one additional euro is donated to flood relief), though you can also find reduced tickets for €2 (currently €3) for 18-15 year olds. Entry is free for minors.
The Last Supper tours
You can also opt for a guided tour, which adds €8 to your ticket price. Specific time slots are reserved for guided tours, so you can opt for these when booking. There’s also an option for a workshop activity alongside the visit, which costs €13 per person and is also present on specific timeslots. You’ll find all the information here.
Seeing the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:15am to 7:00pm (last entry at 6:45pm). It’s closed on Mondays and on January I and December 25. You can always double-check whether your chosen day is open on their official site. Please, remember, that you are to turn up at the ticket counter 30 mins before the entry. The individual entry itself lasts 15 minutes.
As you enter the hall, you’ll see two massive frescoes: da Vinci’s The Last Supper and Giovanni Donato da Montorfano’s Crucifixion. Both works are massive: The Last Supper measures 460cm by 880cm (180 in x 350 in). It’s really not something we can describe with words, but its size is nearly overwhelming in person.
The work itself did not have it easy. A hole was made in the middle for the door, irretrievably losing part of the mural. Troops of Napoleon also formed improvisatory stables here and later air raids did not help much either. Fortunately, the Last Supper has undergone a comprehensive restoration in the last century and you can now admire most of it.
Description and figures
The Last Supper depicts the reaction of the apostles when Jesus told them this bomb line:
“Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
Each of the apostles reacts differently and we can read this from their painted facial expressions.
Bartholomew, James and Andrew are the leftmost group; they’re all clearly shocked and clumped together so as to let the genuine shock be the unifying factor. Judas, dressed in blue and green, is the only person with his elbow on the table. His head is also physically the lowest of all the apostles in the scene. There’s also the fact that Judas is tipping over the salt shaker, a metaphor for betraying one’s Lord in Middle Eastern tradition, and reaching for Jesus’ bowl:
“The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.”
Either way, he’s singled out as a suspect. Peter next to him is full of anger, holding a knife. This foreshadows his reaction at the arrest of Jesus. John is leaning towards Peter.
Then, there’s Thomas, James and Philip. Thomas is the most upset of the three, raising his questioning finger. James has his hand in the air, looks shocked too. Philip looks most heart-broken by this line, grasping his cloth and looking as if requesting an explanation.
Finally, you have Matthew, Jude and Simon. Matthew and Jude are both looking at poor Simon, the rightmost figure, as he had any more clue than the rest of them.
It’s hard not to look at these figures up-close nowadays and not feel like they’re very… memeable, if you know what we mean.
Though it’s a wonderful experience to see the murals in person, the price is quite steep, so look to your wallet to see whether you feel like it’s worth it.