If a visit at least once in a lifetime to the masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, known and celebrated all over the world, is a must-do, then a closed-door guided tour to the Last Supper and the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie, without waiting or queues and lingering on the artistic excellence of the Last Supper, is definitely a unique experience of rare beauty, which guests will never forget.
Even more, the immersion into the enigmatic fascination of the Last Supper, the crowning work of Milanese culture, can further be amplified by the prestige and exclusivity of a closed-door event wholly orchestrated in the spaces and the Cloisters of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
The ancient Sforza village of “Le Grazie”
Perhaps not everybody knows of the privileged relationship that Leonardo da Vinci had with the city of Milan and with the Sforza Court of Ludovico Sforza called “il Moro”, under whose patronage the Milanese Renaissance had its golden age and who commissioned Leonardo to paint the very famous Last Supper, in the ex-refectory of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Ludovico il Moro had chosen the Dominican church as a privileged place for the celebration of the prestige of the Sforza household.
The whole complex of Santa Maria delle Grazie is today an oasis of peace and spirituality in the heart of the centre of Milan. Yet, in the sacred silence of this place, every element evokes the ancient Renaissance splendour; the futuristic framing of shapes, paces and volumes of the Tribune of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie by Bramante, the perfection of the lines which unite the eyes of the mute dialogues of the enigmatic Last Supper by Leonardo; even every piece of faded plaster which emerges from the immaculate white of the walls suggests the expanses of whole walls and ceilings which were once frescoed.
A stroll with Ludovico il Moro, Leonardo da Vinci and Bramante
It is like taking a leap back in time and reliving the prestige and the 15th century pomp and magnificence of the Court of the Sforzas. The participants follow in and accompany the noble steps of Ludovico il Moro and Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Beatrice d’Este and Isabella of Aragon, of Cecilia Gallerani, perhaps Ludovico’s favourite mistress, who was portrayed by Leonardo in the very famous painting of the Lady with an Ermine.
We almost seem to see the artists who gravitated around the household at work: here is Leonardo busy perfecting a new technique of experimenting on the still blank plaster of a wall in the Dominican refectory, facing the recently completed fresco of the Crucifixion by Donato Montorfano; here is the painter and architect from Urbino, Donato Bramante, admiring with satisfaction the blue sky studded withgold stars of the vaulted ceiling of the Sacristy of Bramante, which was named after the artist.
Between artistic excellence and culinary excellence
Crowning the exclusive visit to the Last Supper, symbol of the artistic excellence of the city of Milan, there is no better way to conclude the evening than a moment of conviviality in a partner restaurant, tasting the culinary excellences of the Milanese traditions in wine and gastronomy.
Or, guests can decide to remain a little longer at the Sforza Court, for a banquet of quality in the rooms which at one and the same time are austere and rich in stories of the Complex of Santa Maria delle Grazie, or enveloped in the silent peace of the luxuriant greenery of the magnificent internal Cloisters, with its nocturnal illumination. An exclusive and prestigious event that starts from the Last Supper to immerse yourself in the heart of the great Renaissance of Milan.