People travel for many reasons, some travel for the purpose of buying as much things as possible, some travel to be able to take selfies, some travel to eat (me), but another thing about traveling that I absolutely adore is the ability to see things that otherwise would not be possible – and most of these “things” I want to see are located in museums around the world (sometimes they’re even actual buildings) – I take the philosophy that in terms of buying things, with the internet, you can pretty much get anything delivered even though it may cost more.
Leonardo da Vinci is credited with doing many many things, and although most will say “Mona Lisa” is his most famous work – I tend to believe that it is actually The Last Supper that takes the cake – I’m neither religious or an art connoisseur, but I think the feat of what he was able to achieve with the painting was incredible. And given that you can only see it in Milan – Ms. Buddha and I booked a tour with Milan Museum which offers guided tours of Last Supper along with other tours – we went for the “Last Supper & The Hidden Gems” tour.
You can book online and just make sure you bring the receipt – the start of the tour is at the Santa Maria delle Grazie – which is the church where where The Last Supper itself lives.
Make sure you get there early, but once you arrive, you’ll be given a radio receiver which allows the tour guide to pipe information to you during the tour as you roam about – our tour guide was a really friendly Italian guy and a really top bloke!
Because the visit of the tour is mixed with other people who aren’t taking the “Hidden Gems” part – the start of the tour begins with the Last Supper itself. We were ushered into the arrival room and waited for our turn whilst the tour guide talked about how Da Vinci came to Milan on a commission to paint and how the method he use to paint with was also the reason why the paint didn’t last – just at that moment, security demanded for us to enter the next room – the security and preservation is incredible at this place (doors after doors after doors).
After the 3rd set of doors – we were told that the viewing time is 15mins – and 15mins exactly – so the guide won’t talk much during the tour to allow us to enjoy.
After the viewing session – we got a download of more information about The Last Supper and how it was constructed and the fact that in fact – most of the paint is touched up – instead of Da Vinci’s original work. One not is that the actual room in which the painting sits is quite incredible and mysteriously tranquil – an experience itself.
After The Last Supper – the group that didn’t have “Hidden Gems” departed and we entered the Santa Maria delle Grazie – which is an architectural history book on in its own rights!
After that we walked a fair way to the San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, which use to be a Monastery for girls and also known as the Sistine Chapel of Milan – this is where the wealthy of Milan use to send their daughters to to become nuns.
Before reaching the Monastery, we also stopped by the Santa Maria presso San Satiro. Both places in hindsight were excellent and definitely made the tour come alive (all thanks to our lovely tour guide).
To cap off an great tour – we finished our tour at the Borsa Milano – which is home to the main stock exchange in Italy – and something very close to home for Ms. Buddha and I who come from a finance background. There’s a lovely sculpture there by Cattelan there which was given to Milan for free by the famous artist called the “Finger” – quite apt when placed in front of such a building – interpretation is up to you. 😛
If you’re looking for a geniunely enjoyable tour to learn about a very small part but colourful part of Milan – give this tour a go – Ms. Buddha and I certainly enjoyed it and I think the great guide helped!