On my last day in Italy, I finally had a chance to visit Milan.
Another beautifully sunny, cold January day awaited me, beginning with a visit to Il Duomo, the world's 5th-largest church, smack in the heart of the city. It's constructed of beautiful marble, and covered in hundreds of gargoyles, statues, and spires. On a clear day like today, you can take an elevator to the roof and look out at the city below. You'll also see snow-capped Alps, and brand-new skyscrapers.
Meanwhile, inside the cathedral, a Sunday morning service was taking place. Italian catholicism at its best, and while that was all very well and good, I was more fixated on a statue that reminded me of Lord Voldemort. (Turns out it's not him--it's Saint Bartholomew, holding his own skin after being flayed alive. Paging House Bolton!)
Afterwards, I walked through the Vittorio Emanuele Galleria, which connects the Duomo to the Piazza del Scala, home of the famous opera house. Gucci, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo...they're all there.
And they'd all have to wait. I had a date with Jesus.
The Last Supper or L'Ultima Cena, was painted on the inner wall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazia by Leonardo da Vinci between 1494-1498. It's one of the most famous, and studied, works of art in the world. You actually have to walk through a 'clean room' to enter the inner convent, so the humidity on your clothing doesn't damage the mural.
Only one group is allowed in at a time, for 15 minutes, so you actually do get to see it up close. Honestly, it's majestic and touching, however you might feel about art or Christianity. One thing I didn't know was that previous 'Last Supper' works of art had always depicted the moment of Judas betraying Jesus; Da Vinci's, instead, depicts an earlier moment, where Jesus has just foretold his apostles that verily, one of them will betray him. His intention was to paint their reactions: not to paint "Saint Peter" or "Andrew the Apostle," but "Peter," "Andrew," and the rest of them. Not saints, just men. Just people. I found that strangely moving.
And with that, it was time to bid arrivederci to a beautiful 3 days in Italy. Well, maybe after just one more gelato.