Lonely Planet review
Leonardo Da Vinci’s depiction of Christ and his dinner companions is one of the world’s most iconic images. You need to book anything from two weeks to a couple of months ahead or take a somewhat pricey city tour to see it. If you get lucky, you might find vacancies if you just turn up, but don’t bank on it. Once in, you get just 15 minutes’ viewing time.
The mural is hidden away on one wall of the Cenacolo Vinciano, the refectory adjoining the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie. Restoration of The Last Supper was completed in 1999 after more than 22 years’ work. Despite the painstaking restoration effort, 80% of the original colour has been lost. Da Vinci was partly responsible for all this trouble. Because he worked on a dry wall over three years (1495–98), rather than on wet plaster over a week, it is not really a fresco. And it began to deteriorate within a few years of completion.
Reservations must be made by phone. You’ll be allotted a visiting time and reservation number, which you present 30 minutes before your visit at the refectory ticket desk. If you turn up late, your ticket will be resold.
English-language guided tours (€3.25) take place at 9.30am and 3.30pm Tuesday to Sunday – again you’ll need to reserve ahead.