Santa Maria della Grazie (Milan - Italy)

Yet another masterpiece that completely mesmerized me ever since uni days when I studied art history was The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci. Its on the wall of Santa Maria della Grazie in Milan. What's more? Its a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It would been a dream come true to see it with my own eyes. But unfortunately I wasn't that gifted. When I tried to book the tickets for it on the day I was visiting Milan, there weren't any left!!!

However when I visited Milan, I didn't want to just miss it all together. So I just went over there, just to see its exteriors! Atleast to have the feel that I was there... So the evening after going to Duomo Milano, I visited Santa Maria della Grazie.

It was originally built as a convent and church in the same location. Guiniforte Solari was the architect of the convent, which was built in 1469 under Duke of Milan Francesco I Sforza. Later on the idea of church was reconsidered and the place was used to build a cloister and apse and the Duke & his wife were buried here. 

The concept of Last Supper painting is very interesting concept in various categories. One, its technique which is Fresco Succo which is a dry fresco, unlike the traditional damp fresco, which Da Vinco experimented here and unfortunately it didn't work out well and it began to peel in his own lifetime itself! 

Two, the perspective of the painting. If you're sitting on a dining table, you'd be sitting around it, not all in one side. However this painting depicts Jesus and his apostles, all in the same side, with a single point perspective. The reason, this was painted on the wall of the dining room of the convent. So, the painting looks like an extension of the room itself. 2 dining benches along the side walls and the painting on the 3rd, which gives an impression that its the 3rd bench on which Jesus & his apostles are seated!!!
During WWII, the church suffered severe bombing which destroyed some walls of the church. Fortunately the wall which has the painting was sandbagged and it survived the war!
Again, very very unfortunately I didn't get to go into the church..... Sad......... :(

To Get There:
Nearest Metro Station: Conciliazione and Cadorna
Nearest Tram Stop: S. Maria Delle Grazie 
Entry Ticket: €10.00
There are way too many sites that sell tickets for entry and I had a tough time to figure out which is real and which is fake, so let me make your life easier - Official Last Supper Tickets by Viva Ticket of Ministry of Tourism.
Free admission on the first Sunday of every month. But reservation is necessary for this too.
There are 15-18 tours everyday from 8:30AM to 6:30PM.
The visit lasts 15 minutes; only 30 visitors per tour. So reserve as early as possible.

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

25 comments:

  1. That's a real shame that there's so many vendors selling fake tickets. It really ruins the experience for travellers. Still, at least you managed to visit this beautiful church and convent. So lucky that the painting survived the bombing!

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  2. I'd really love to visit milan italy one day... One of my dream place to visit... So beautiful!

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  3. Loved reading about your travels! i want to travel the world one day and Spain is definitely high on my list.

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  4. That is a shame. It's very difficult to get tickets unless you are on a tour. They sell out so quickly online. We had some spare tickets from our group and some lucky people who hadn't realised they had to book got them.
    The first time I visited it had just been renovated, it took twenty years and there was a lot of criticism about the amount of previous restoration paint that had been removed. I have to say it is really beautiful even thought the colours are not vivid they are beautiful and much more like the original according to the restorer.

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  5. Ahhh, I remember this place vividly! It is such a unique place. The design and architecture is so unlike most of the surrounding religious sites. And the process to get inside was pretty wild.

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  6. What a bummer to not be able to go in! I didn't know the history of the building. That is very cool.

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  7. I have been to Milan but not to this particular place. Such a shame you could not go in though. I guess the inside must be as stunning as the outside

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  8. Beautiful building. I also missed going inside this place when we were there in Milan two years back. I really wish I could see the Last Supper in actuality in the future.

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  9. As I read your post I am virtually going with you. I am too excited to see Da Vinci's Masterpiece, The Last Supper. I sighed in despair that you're not able to go through. Anyway, I just refer it to Google for my frustrated view of the Last Supper. By the way, it is good that you're applying what you have learned from your subject on Art History and see by yourself of those amazing, masterpieces of arts.

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  10. It's such a shame that you didn't get to see the painting for yourself. I was in Como recently and considered goig to Milan just to see The Last Supper but the tickets were sold out long before I got there. It's so difficult to get them! The building itself is beautiful though.

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  11. It would be nice to visit Milan and see the Last Supper painting up close. There's such a rich heritage in Milan that connects as to the past.

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  12. I din't know that the Last Supper can be found here. Silly as it sounds, I always used to think that it is a standalone painting like Mona Lisa that is kept in some museum. Glad that I read this post. he he

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  13. I think you didn't miss a lot when you missed Leonardo da Vincci's masterpiece. I'm quite underwhelmed by his works compared by other Italian artists.

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  14. Unfortunately when I went to Italy last summer I didn't get to see Milan. I had to make a sacrifice so I appreciate your photos. I hate how confusing purchasing tickets for certain items can be so you were wise to just find the official site.

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  15. Don't you hate when that happens!! I did that when we visited San Francisco on our honeymoon. I really wanted to see Alcaltraz but they were sold out so we missed it. :( I vowed right then to do so much research that would never happen again! We all live and learn, right? :) I have seen the Lord's Supper and it is really amazing.

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  16. I am literally open-mouth while reading yourbpost because it is onr of the places I wish yo visit in Italy. I do hope I coild make it next year, it is so nice to read your adventures.

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  17. Definitely a lot of history to this place. With the Duke and his Duchess buried here. I sure would want to explore the same as it seems interesting from an architectural point of view too.

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  18. Oh no, I do hope you'll get to come back and see the painting soon. But the exterior of the church also looks very beautiful, doesn't it? I've been to Rome but not yet to Milan, so I'm also hoping to visit this city and this church in the near future :)

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  19. I guess that any art lover would love to visit the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, which is home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, one of the most famous works of art. Such a shame you could not go in though. The inside must be as stunning as the outside !

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  20. Ahhh, a fellow Italy blogger! Been to Milan but did not get to this destination. It is on our list but interesting post about your situation. Wow, I need to be more careful when we return. Thanks for the info!!!!

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  21. I had the same experience when visiting Milan the first time, as it was impossible to get the tickets! Anyway, thank you for the very elaborated and professional post!

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  22. Beautiful architecture! You will have to return to get inside! Thanks for sharing!

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  23. Beautiful place - Europe is full of such amazing, medieval monuments and it's great to find them at every corner. I wasn't a fan of Milan but this church really looks beautiful and original - as well as the main cathedral which was spectacular.

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  24. What happened is really disappointing.. This place is really amazing.. Like you, I love to travel in different places around the world , I'm sure that you'll be there soon and you will see SANTA MARIA DELLA GRAZIE by your own eyes..Good luck!

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