Santa Maria delle Grazie and Cenacolo Vincianzo, Milan

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The last time I visited Milan, I didn’t have the foresight to get tickets for the Last Supper in advance. This time, being much older and a little wiser, I planned ahead and bought tickets online about a month in advance. It was worth it!

Milan Maria delle Grazie

No photos were allowed inside the refectory, which houses the famous fresco, but I was able to get some images of 15th-century Santa Maria delle Grazie.

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The church’s terra cotta façade is a great example of traditional Lombard style. Frescos dating from the building’s birth and works by local artists adorn the interior.

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The church was used as a military warehouse and barracks during the 18th century. 1943 bombings destroyed much of the structure but luckily spared the refectory.

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Before viewing the most famous fresco in the world, I read “Leonardo and the Last Supper” by Ross King. I won’t get into details here, but I highly recommend it. It’s an informative account of what led up to and surrounded this commission and provides intimate details of the masterpiece and, of course, da Vinci.

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The Last Supper is high on the refectory wall of the convent. Over the centuries, 80% of the original color has been lost. Conservation has been difficult; the last restoration took 22 years and was completed in 1999.

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