Want tickets for "Last Supper" in Milan? I don't blame you! Here's how to see Da Vinci's masterpiece no matter when you're travelling.
If you’ve ever battled through the crowds at Paris’ Louvre, you’ve no doubt felt a mix of irritation and disappointment when you finally came face to face with the gallery’s proverbial crown jewel, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The most famous portrait in the world is smaller than you might expect and the crowds are annoying and aggressive. Maybe “Mona” is mysteriously smiling but countless visitors leave with a frown! As such, you might be wondering if it’s worth researching how to get tickets for Last Supper in Milan. I’m here to say that the answer is a resounding YES!
Visitors who make the pilgrimage to Milan to see The Last Supper, Da Vinci’s masterpiece thankfully have the exact opposite experience that those in the Louvre. Guaranteed viewing times with a maximum of 30 guests keep things organised, calm, and quiet. You enjoy an uninterrupted, unhurried 15 minutes with the artwork in a selfie-free environment. The experience is peaceful, even serene.
There’s just one small catch. You have to get tickets.
In theory, the system is very straightforward. The painting is housed in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. You purchase tickets by phone or internet a few months in advance for a mere 15 Euros. For an extra 9 Euros, you can even add on a guided tour. You can even get FREE tickets on special occasions! (Free admissions are available on the first Sundays of the month and are available starting at 12 noon on the previous Wednesday morning.)
In reality, it’s a bit more complicated. First, it helps to familiarise yourself with the official ticket website, Cenacolo Vinciano. It is the only place to buy tickets directly. Make note that in the top right-hand corner of the website, you’ll have the option to translate the page into English
In the centre of the website is a list of rules and important information and if you keep scrolling toward the bottom, you'll see a calendar with booking information. This reveals the upcoming release dates for blocks of tickets. Generally, a block of two months is released at a time, with the corresponding release date taking place 6-10 weeks beforehand. And an extra 1-3 weeks before that, you’ll learn when the actual release dates will occur. I started my quest for October tickets in mid-summer. It was announced in mid-July that the tickets for October and November would be available on July 24.
While travellers clamour for a regular schedule, the timing can sometimes be vague. There’s no one set date to mark on your calendar. You have to bookmark the page and return to it daily. Come release day, set your alarm to Italian time and prepare to wake up EARLY. The competition will be fierce. You’ll want to work the phone and website simultaneously, doing everything possible to get through. If you’ve ever tried to get coveted tickets for hockey playoffs, Comic-Con, or Taylor Swift, this is a process you know well!
And it’s 100% worth it.
The Last Supper is too spectacular to miss. However, there’s a genuine chance the regular ticket process may fail for you. Tour operators and third-party tour resellers offer many options for seeing The Last Supper as part of a more extensive tour of Milan’s main attractions – all at a generous markup.
Many tours combine a visit to The Last Supper with other sites. But, if you only want to see The Last Supper, you’ll have to purchase a “package” of admission bundled with a guidebook or recorded audioguide. This allows tour operators to work around rules regarding ticket resales. At 65-plus Euros, it was highly aggravating but certainly better than being left high and dry. If you go this route, know that it’s common for resellers like Viator to tell you that they will confirm your ticket availability after you purchase. (Pro tip: Don’t pay any extra money for “Skip the Line'' access as there is NO line to skip. The whole system is based on pre-purchased tickets and you’ll enter precisely at your designated time).
Still not having any luck? There’s a new trick to try for 2024. Starting this year, additional tickets will be sold via the official website each Wednesday at noon CET for the whole following week, adding an extra two time slots for each hour. As such, you might just be able to score a last minute ticket but I personally would choose to go with a reseller tour “package” and guarantee my spot than leave things to chance at the last minute.
If you’re not a keen art enthusiast, you might be wondering if all this planning is worth it. Obviously, art is a subjective experience and what speaks to one person may not speak to another. The Last Supper does not disappoint. It is utterly arresting when seen in person, and my group audibly gasped when we entered its room. The painting’s exquisite use of light, colour, and perspective shines through its fragility and decay. Seeing photos does not do justice for this phenomenal piece of artwork.
If you have the chance, go.
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