“The Last Supper” is a very famous mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci and one of the things you should see when you are in Milan. The problem is that the access to this painting is very limited (only 15 minutes, fully booked way in advance) and that it isn’t so easy to get information in English by a “neutral” source (i.e. not a re-seller, not a tourist agency, etc…). So I thought I would write how I experienced it myself as a tourist.
Image taken from Wikipedia (Public Domain) [You are not allowed to take pictures of it]
With 3 other friends we went to Milan to visit 2 friends of ours living there (in Monza, actually). We had planed the trip for a while but only decided to visit the famous Da Vinci painting a few weeks before the we were to get there.
When I looked for tickets, I was surprised by how difficult it is to find official information in English or to be able to buy online tickets from the official museum itself. I asked my friend living in Milan for help (she speaks Italian) but it was too late. Even in the off-season February, the tickets were sold out weeks in advance.
My Ticket for The Last Supper
I then looked for guided tours and found many options but most were very expensive. The price for the visit only (no guide) is 8 euros (about $10, £6). Guided tours don’t hesitate to charge $50 or $60 (5-6 times more than the entrance). I understand that we need to pay for the guide but still, I think that companies are trying to benefit from the situation (quickly selling-out tickets).
The price depends on the date but for the date we chose, it was 33 euros per person ($45 – £27). It included a guided tour of the Sforzesco Castle, of the church Santa Maria delle Grazie and of course of the “Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci.
We bought the tickets less than a week in advance (on a Sunday for the following Friday), got a confirmation by Monday, could print out the tickets (so no delivery problem) and had no specific issues (no scams, nothing dodgy, guide was there on time, etc…).
The guide clearly knew what she was talking about, both about the painting itself and about everything around it (when the church was built, why and for whom the painting was made, etc…).
There were things that were less good though:
the price is still quite high compared to the entrance ticket (even though it wasn’t as bad as the competitors for that particular date)
we had to pay full price for our 3 yo son (who couldn’t care less about what the guide was saying). I precise though that we didn’t have to pay for the baby of our friends (a few months old).
the group was quite big. I didn’t count but I think we were more than 15 people, maybe 20. It was hard to hear the guide, especially in the church where she had to whisper (she got reprimanded for speaking too loud in the church)
I found the visit a bit boring overall. Maybe too many details, too many things around the painting, about the painting, about this, about that… Also, there was very little interaction (maybe due to the size of the group).
All in all, it may still be your best option if you want to see this piece of art by the genius Da Vinci and have waited the last minute to get some tickets for it. Good luck in any case, have a great stay in Milan and enjoy your visit!