Behind this beautifulchurch lies a humble refectory, home to one of the most famous religious paintingsin the world.
Santa Maria Delle Grazie is best known for housing one of the mostimportant works of art in history, Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Thiscavernous church is one of the most revered cultural sites in Italy, as recognizedby its identification as a World Heritage Site. The Last Supper is housedin the church refectory.
The 15th-century painting draws visitors from around theworld. Many are surprised by its large size: 180 inches by 350 inches (460 centimeters by880 centimeters). When the church was bombed during World War II, the mural narrowly escaped unscathed, thanks to sandbags used toprotect it. The church and convent are remarkable examples of Renaissancearchitecture.
Purchase tickets in advance to see The Last Supper via the official website or through a travel agent.Arrive just before your allocated time to make sure you don’t miss the tour, sincethey are generally very punctual. Move with your small group as you are ledbeyond the glass doors that protect the painting. Tours are conducted inItalian; however, headsets provide translated information and are a great wayto understand the symbolism of the famous painting. Tours last 15 minutes, soyou’ll have plenty of time to study the mural as you pass through the refectory.
Move into the church itself to see the beautifularchitecture and exquisite designs that adorn its walls and roof. The archedceiling of the Gothic nave features intricate patterns, while the chapel housesfrescos by Gaudenzio Ferrari. Sit on the pews to take in the enormity of thechurch. In summer the church is a great place to escape the sun, as its darkinterior remains cool year-round.
The Santa Maria delle Grazie is open daily and admission tothe church is free. A fee applies to see TheLast Supper. The church is located incentral Milan and a tram stop is just outside. Visitors arriving by car willfind street parking in the area.