A great exhibit at the Royal Library until next Jenuary
Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
Virtual tour inside the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan
Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan. We are ready to see The Last Supper – or Cenacolo – by Leonardo Da Vinci!
Plan your visit: there is so much demand, book your place in advance and you will get inside in very small groups for 15 minutes.
The Last Supper is a stunning masterpiece and everyone falls silent in front of it. Leonardo Da Vinci describes all human traits and emotions through his figures and the whole scene is some kind of very animate show more than a plain painting.
Let’s investigate some of the mysteries hidden in this painting, even more famous worldwide after Dan Brown’s mention in his novel “The Da Vinci Code“.
Visit The last supper official website for Calendar & Tickets
Video full text: Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper
We’re standing in front of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie!
We’re going to see the Last Supper!
Not easy to do because there is so much demand and it’s not easy to get in.
You can book and then enter,
in very small groups of 20 to 25 people,
spending fifteen minutes with Leonardo and his Last Supper.
I sneak my way into one of these groups of tourists,
I even tripped over someone from Japan!
At last we’re going in! It’s stunning,
everyone falls silent before this masterpiece.
So what should I say now?
It’s difficult to say anything about Leonardo,
but luckily I have an art historian with me.
What key words would you use to describe Leonardo?
Some use the words scientist, artist, engineer,
set designer and man of the theatre.
But scientist for sure because he studied the laws of nature,
and transformed his studies into works of art.
That’s why there’s always something of us in those images,
because all of human nature is depicted there.
The apostles stand up, they move around and point their fingers,
they get angry, gesticulate and cry.
These are all human traits.
For the painter, human emotions are just as portrayable as perspective, acoustics and movement.
It is all the result of a study and this is the great genius that strikes us.
In this Leonardo is modern.
The other thing that stands out in all of this is that door,
with the architrave positioned immediately below the feet of Jesus.
I have just noticed the feet; I didn’t know there were feet!
We have the preparatory drawings for Christ’s feet, which means it was once complete.
The door was cut into the wall at a later date,
a period of ingratitude towards Leonardo, the 17th century.
There is a movement of the feet that represents all of the movement
in humankind and it reflects humankind’s feelings.The same goes for the hands. The hands are remarkable.
Look at all those hands!
Every hand has its own need, it represents an emotion.
I have only just noticed that the apostles appear in groups of three.
Leonardo used to say that people can only listen to one another if they talk three at a time.
So what is Jesus saying at this very moment?
He’s saying: “One of you will betray me”.
He is of course referring to his betrayal by Judas, who is holding the bag containing the coins.
There’s one who is saying: “Is it me?”, the other says, “That’s not true”,
“Are you sure?”, “It’s not possible”, “What shall we do?”
One of them, gesturing, says: “Not I!”
In this way Jesus remains on his own in the middle of the picture.
On the face of it this is a static scene,
but in reality it is a very powerful theatrical drama.
The figures that appear most at peace in the general fracas
are Jesus and the controversial figure of St. John.
The academic, Vittoria Haziel, said that Leonardo really did paint St. John
with the features and traits of a woman.
Leonardo used to wander through the streets of Milan, sketching the people he met.
He himself wrote that Saint John had the face of a Joanne,
a fabulous face that he had seen at the hospital of Santa Caterina.
Behind me is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper!
Extremely popular with tourists and pilgrims who come here and gaze at it in silence.
It has become even more famous around the world,
particularly since the publication of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
Dan Brown identifies a mystery within the Last Supper.
But perhaps there are others too.
The mysterious interpretation of the Last Supper has led to other conclusions.
Some have even taken a photo of the Last Supper,
turned it back to front, made it transparent and superimposed it,
and this has revealed something surprising:
an object that appears in front of the image of Christ that could be a cup.
Some say that this painting contains the presence of the Holy Grail!
We don’t know if these things were thought up by Leonardo or not,
but it seems odd to think they are merely random.
Obviously, if he did come up with them, then we are not only in the presence of a genius,
but something that is truly non-human!
Visit Milan: helpful hints
Italian name: Milano
Milan has got three airports:
- Malpensa Airport is the largest international & intecontinental Airport in Northern Italy. 30 miles Northwest from the city centre. Connections:
→ Train Malpensa Express: trains leaves every 30 minutes in each direction, connecting the Airport to Milan Grand Central Station or Cadorna Railway Station. Terminals 1 and 2. It takes 45 min, price: 14 €
→ Shuttle Bus: Malpensa Shuttle and Malpensa Bus Express connect the airport to Milan Grand Central Railway Station and Milan’s Underground Network. Terminals 1 and 2. It takes 60/70 min, price: 8 €
- City Airport Linate is an international airport connecting Milan with main European cities, located just 4 miles from the city centre. Connections by shuttle: Atm Bus n. 73 from Milano Duomo M1 – M3 (Piazza Diaz, direction: San Babila), first ride at 5.35 am, last one at 00.35. Frequency: every 10 min, price 1,5 €
- Milan Bergamo Airport Orio al Serio is mainly low cost flights Airport, located 30 miles Northwest from Milan. Connections only by Shuttle: There are 4 different bus companies, pricing changes from 5 up to 8 €
ATM is Milan public transport service both for bus, tram and subway. Single ticket costs 1.50€ for 90-min ride. Consider daily/weekly subscriptions. You can buy tickets also texting to 48444. Milan Subway is the longest in Italy, covering 95 km: Donwload and check the map.
Moving in town can be nice also by bike: Milan has got a powerfull bike sharing service providing both regular and e-bikes. Here is the experience of our Ambassador Kim Harding with BikeMi service and a useful video of our Ambassador Roxana explaining how does it work. Car Sharing is also good with many different companies to choose.
Try also the local urban railway train, called Passante Ferroviario, check the experience of our Ambassador Roxana Iacoban travelling by local train in town.
What to do in Milan
Milan is the Italian financial center and one of the European capitals of Fashion. Known for its nightlife as well.
Some tips on Italia Slow Tour: watch our web serie about Leonardo da Vinci’s places, climb on top of the Duomo, visit Prada Foundation, Museums and Art Galleries, taste some fine gelato and try the local Aperitivo and – not joking – enjoy a sailing trip (!!) or some time deep in the nature close to some actual farms and fields.
Where to sleep
Accomodations are quite expensive in Milan, fares rise up and hotels get full according to the rich event calendar of the city (see: Fashion Week, Salone del mobile, Big concerts, Theatre and Sport events, etc.). If you are not specifically interested in any of those, try to travel during other periods to save some money.
Italia Slow Tour recommends:
- Hotel Cervo in Garibaldi District if you want to stay close to city centre and enjoy the nightlife
- Hotel Concorde located on the Green Way Milan-Lecco to Lake Como, if you want to move around adn travel by bike
Shopping in Milan
The famous Fashion District involves the following streets/areas: Via Montenapoleone, via Manzoni, via della Spiga and Corso Venezia. The so called “Quadrilateral of Fashion”. Here you can find all kind of brands and shops. Easy to reach by Subway (stop at Montenapoleone station).
Don’t miss the Street Markets! Almost every day you can find one: best are the ones in Viale Papiniano (on Tuesday) and Via Fauchè (on Saturday). More on the official website of weekly street markets. If you are into sustainable local products, Milan has got 8 actual farms in town and a green Earth Market.
If you are interested in Outlet Shopping, in the outskirt of Milan you can find 4 different Fashion Outlets, in a radius of 62 miles. Here you can find everyday a lot of famous high quality Italian brands on sale, with prices cut off up to 50%. All the outlets are connected to the center of Milan by Shuttle Bus:
- Serravalle Designer Outlet – Shuttle departure from Milan Central Station or Cairoli square
- Fidenza Village Outlet Shopping – Shuttle departure from Piazza della Repubblica 5, at the corner with Turati st.
- Vicolungo The Style Outlets – Shuttle departure from Cairoli square
- Rodengo-Saiano Franciacorta Outlet Village – Shuttle departure from Cairoli square