Castello Sforza in Milan was built
in the 14th century to defend the
gate to the city.
The draw bridge was down,
thank goodness.

My pigeon friends and I at the
Duomo in Milan, smack in the
middle of the city, with all roads
radiating from it like spokes on
a wheel. 
Granted, we didn’t have an official
guide to the Duomo, but these 
figures seem to have something to
do with armpit sniffing.

The Galleria is known as Milan’s
drawing room.  Beautiful glass
and wrought iron arches stretch
four stories over marble floors.
Top retailers vie for prime location-
this is Prada’s flagship store. 
The peaceful courtyard of the
monastery of Santa Maria della
Grazie in Milan, the home of
Da Vinci’s Last Supper.  Entrance
is extremely restricted.   A maximum
of 25 people at a time may view
the painting, for exactly a 15
minute scheduled time period.

In 1943, bomb blasts reduced much of the monastery
to rubble.  Fearing attack and damage to the Last
Supper, sandbags and scaffolding were already in
place to protect it.  The one wall with the famous
painting was the ONLY wall remaining.
Da Vinci worked for 6 years on the
 Last Supper, using a dry fresco
 technique that allowed him more
 detail and luminosity. As opposed to 
Michelangelo’s wet fresco technique
 on the Sistine Chapel ceiling,
 Da Vinci took more than ample time
with this one painting, sometimes

staring at it for hours without lifting
a brush.  The result was incredible
 but fragile, and started to deteriorate
 only a few years after it was completed.

The Last Supper, painted around 1495,  covers a large
 wall at the end of a dining hall in the monastery. In fact,
 the monks cut a door (below Jesus) into the painting
 to make food service easier! The colors are faint pastel
 with a dreamy quality.  The perspective makes
every element in the painting lead to Christ’s head
in the center.  In fact, there is a small hole near
Christ’s eye, where Leonardo stretched a string 
and snapped it into the wet plaster, leaving a 
radiating pattern that is still barely visible.

In 1999, a 21 year restoration project was completed
on the Last Supper, stripping away years of touch
up paint and grime.  Note the difference in the
Apostle Phillip on the left (before restoration) and
 the right (after restoration).  His expression changes
from one of calm observance to anticipatory pain.