The Last Supper#5 in Best Things To Do in Milan
Leonardo da Vinci's famous work, "The Last Supper," lies inside Milan's Santa Maria delle Grazie church. Depicting the moment that Christ tells his apostles that one of them will betray him, the painting is immensely moving, especially considering what it's been through. In the 19th century, monks reportedly whitewashed this masterpiece. Not only that but "The Last Supper" also managed to survive a World War II bomb raid. The painting has since been restored, but because of the technique da Vinci used, it continues to deteriorate.
Regardless of its condition, travelers still flock to the Santa Maria to bear witness to the painting's magnificence. And according to recent visitors, the painting truly is a masterpiece. Reviewers say "The Last Supper" was brilliant in person and urged travelers to take a closer look, as it's loaded with detail (each apostle at the table has a different expression). Some went so far as to say they became emotional standing in front of the painting. Though the mural is no doubt the main attraction here, travelers also suggested taking a long look around. In addition to the painting, it's the Santa Maria's pristine Renaissance architecture that helped the church earn the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The only complaint among visitors? You don't have long to view the artwork (due to crowds, you can only visit it for 15 minutes before being ushered out).
You can see the work of art between 8:15 a.m. and 7 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Keep in mind: You have to make a reservation in advance. Because of its popularity, it's advised to book several weeks, even a month ahead of your visit. You can purchase tickets from Viva Tickets. Tickets are 12 euros ($14.20). Travelers 18 years and younger are granted free entry. The closest metro stops are Conciliazione and Cadorna FN. For more information, visit the Milan tourism board's website.
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#1 Castello Sforzesco
The former fortress and residence of Milan's most powerful rulers is now a campus for some of the city's best cultural institutions. Castello Sforzesco, found less than a mile northwest of the Duomo, features a plethora of museums and galleries focusing on art and history. There's the Pinacoteca, or Picture Gallery, the Raccolta di Mobili, Furniture Collection, Museo delle Arti Decorative, the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Museo Egizio, Egyptian Museum and so much more. There's also the Oreficerie, which houses one of the largest collections of musical instruments in Europe. If you're short on time, travelers say you should visit the Museo della Pieta Rondanini, which houses Michelangelo's last masterpiece, the Pietà Rondanini.
Even if you don't have time to visit any museums or exhibitions, travelers say the Castello Sforzesco is still worth a detour for the site's beautiful architecture and lush grounds. The Castello Sforzesco is connected to the Parco Sempione, which features walking paths, a small pond, cafes and its own points of interest, including the Porta Sempione, which bears a striking resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the Tuileries gardens in Paris. Should you wish to visit any of the castle's cultural hot spots, recent visitors advise coming early to avoid potential crowds. And if you're looking to save some dough, visit the Castello Sforzesco Tuesday after 2 p.m. or the last hour before closing Wednesday through Sunday to enjoy free admission.
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