In the year of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, we will take you to discover how to organize a visit to the Cenacolo Vinciano and where to eat in the Milan area
Organize the visit toLast Supper (or Last Supper) in the year of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci it is (almost) mandatory. The multifaceted artist and inventor par excellence has left traces of his irrepressible intelligence and creativity in different cities like Venice or Florence, but it is in Milan that we run to admire the Renaissance work. To pay tribute to the Absolute Genius of the Italian Renaissance, we take you to discover how to buy tickets for the visit and where to have a gastronomic break – because even culture makes you hungry!
First, a bit of history
The first testimony of the workLast Supper of Leonardo da Vinci as completed it dates back to 1498, four years after the commission by Luca Maria Sforza known as il Moro. In fact, the Duke of Milan decides to designate the church Santa Maria delle Grazie of Milan as the main place of celebration of its rich family. Leonardo da Vinci is called to decorate the walls of the refectory, taken from his unstoppable creativity, he launches himself headlong into the production of a true masterpiece unique of its kind, of which many copies are made not only in Italy. Although never reaching the mastery of the original work, these proved to be indispensable for understanding colors and shapes as thought by Leonardo da Vinci after centuries.
Indeed, through his peculiar painting technique on table (base of rough plaster, mixture of calcium carbonate and magnesium joined by a protein binder, fat tempera based on eggs and fluidizing oils), Leonardo da Vinci achieves luminous effects and great richness of details. This dry mixed technique on plaster unfortunately does not protect the magnificent painting from the conservative problems linked to the humidity of the walls and the frequent temperature changes due to the neighboring kitchens. The splendor of his work almost immediately begins to tarnish and the interventions of various "artists" over the centuries will sabotage its great value.
The great restoration
It is impossible to let go of such an important artistic treasure, we run for cover and the longest and most challenging restoration project in history begins: from 1977 to 1999 enormous choral work is set in motion among scientists, art critics and restorers from all over the world. Over twenty years it has served to recover the original beauty of the work, tampered with by the many retouches, bringing to light precious details like the feet of the apostles under the table, the face of Giovanni and the hole of a nail planted in the head of the Christ that came used by the artist to trace the perspective of the scene.
Not only: the entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti of Eataly received last May on CULTURE + COMPANY award 2018-19 in Milan for the project "You can't miss a dinner like this! ", approved by Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism. Thanks to the new air conditioning and air purification system, today they are placed daily inside the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie about 10,000 cubic meters of new clean air, against the previous around 3,500. An intervention that will allowLast Supper by Leonardo da Vinci to survive 500 more years and to be seen by a growing number of visitors (+ 30% in the first three years after restoration), without this damaging it due to the fine dust that everyone brings with them.
How to buy tickets for the Last Supper
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980, theLast Supper (or also Cenacle of Leonardo da Vinci) has always been one of the most visited in Italy: in 2017 it was admired by 416.337 visitors, making it the 16th most visited museum site in the country. Everyone at least once in their life should enter the bare refectory room at the church Santa Maria delle Grazie to remain open-mouthed before the masterful painting, impressive even in size: the work measures 880 cm in length and 460 cm in height!
To visit theLast Supper it is mandatory to book the visit in advance. The protection of Leonardo's masterpiece requires optimal environmental conditions, obtained through the treatment of the air, as well as special procedures for the access of visitors, allowed to groups of 25 people for a maximum of 15 minutes. Keep in mind that the opening hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, open all day from 8.15 am until evening at 7.00 pm (last admission at 6.45 pm). The fixed cost of the reservation is euro 2.
If you choose the online mode, we advise you to rely on official site of the Cenacolo Vinciano Museum on the platform of the Lombardy Region Museum Complex, which will take you to the purchase of entrance tickets through the official dealer VivaTicket. Tickets are relatively few available compared to the request, you will hardly find availability immediately. Indeed there is a schedule of purchases very anticipated: keep in mind that for example the entrances for October and November were put on sale at the end of July. But do not be discouraged, there is also the possibility of human contact by phone. From Monday to Saturday from 8.00 to 18.30, you can book or buy tickets for the entrance to the Cenacolo Vinciano by calling the toll-free number 800 990 084 free of charge from the landline or by paying the telephone number +39 02 92800360.
Alternatively, but with higher costs, it is possible to rely on third parties as safe agencies or alternative partners recognized in some way by the Region or nationally. For example, the Touring Club suggests to rely on the Musement partner site, which for about 45 euros (against the original 12 euros) ensures the skip-the-line ticket and the guided tour. Another example is Eataly, which in addition to the restoration support, offers the possibility of booking a special formula: access to the refectory for 30 minutes, instead of the usual 15, in the evening and as a closed museum, with an expert who narrates the birth, life, history and secrets of the work, to follow dinner at Eataly.
Where to eat well around the Cenacolo Vinciano
Leonardo da Vinci's great work is preserved on the walls of the refectory inside the premises of the Dominican church Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan in the Magenta area, very close to the Cadorna railway station or the Conciliazione underground stop. The proposals for a gourmet break are different, we offer some:
Fresh Pasta from Giovanni (Piazza Giovine Italia) is a guarantee for those who want to taste first quality dishes. The only problem is the size of the room, very small and with few tables, therefore not recommended for large groups. With a little patience you will find a place, the waiting will be rewarded at the first forkful.
Boccondivino (via Carducci, 17) offers a good wine shop experience through a very rich wine list and a genuine menu appreciated by the customers for a long time now. The bill is also adequate.
The Bottarga (viale san Michele del Carso, 19) is an excellent fish restaurant near San Vittore with Calabrian dishes on the menu. The quality of the raw material used and the accurate preparations make it a popular destination for both Milanese and non-Milanese.
Osteria La Carbonaia (via Carducci, 38) is the ideal place for those who dream of a Florentine without going to Tuscany. In the characteristic restaurant with its textured effect walls and rustic wooden furnishings, you are catapulted into another world made of grill and wine.
Temakinho Magenta (via Boccaccio, 4) for those who want to make a trip to Brazil via Japan: here the two culinary cultures meet for a tasty and surprising result. To try.