Europe 1979 – 13 – Last Stop in Italy

The Last Supper

The last city we visited in Italy was Milan. There we saw Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of “The Last Supper.” At the time of our visit, the painting was being refurbished, and it was very, very faded. It seems easier to see in my photo than when I visited in person in 1979.

I didn’t realize at the time, but this renovation of the painting was just beginning. It took 20 years to painstakingly complete! The painting is located on a dining room wall in the former Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

Duomo di Milano

We also visited a famous cathedral in Milan – the Duomo di Milano. Construction began on this cathedral in 1386. According to Google, this cathedral took six centuries to complete.

After waiting for our tour bus, our group headed to a new city in a new country.

People sitting on steps outside the Duomo di Milano
Waiting for the Bus
All I can remember about that guy reading the newspaper is that he liked Elvis Costello.
Picture of a boat dock with foggy mountains in the background
At a lunch stop after leaving Italy

Next up: Can you guess?


  1. Isn’t that architecture mind-boggling? It always boggles my mind as to how they built those amazing buildings without the use of modern machinery and technology. I think, in many ways, they were smarter back then. Even though some places took centuries to build, they’ve also stood for centuries. With all of our modern ways, many of our buildings are dilapidated and bulldozed down before they even reach their hundredth birthday and often times lots sooner than that. I have no idea where you’re off to next, but will guess maybe Switzerland. If so, that’s my paternal Grandfather’s birthplace.

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    • Yes, that architecture is mind-boggling. I hope hoping people would notice the scale. People are so little compared to the Duomo! You’ll just have to keep following to find out if you are right about what’s next. 🙂 Enjoy your day!

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    • My memory is that The Last Supper was barely discernible when we were there. But how great it was to be there and to see the masterpiece! France is coming, but next? Hmm…

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  2. Looking at the photo of the cathedral makes me think of the historical fiction book “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett. Have you read that? Anyway, one of the things that happens in the book is the building of a big cathedral around that time period. It is amazing to me how people figured these things out. Following is the description of the book from Wikipedia:

    The Pillars of the Earth is a historical novel by Welsh author Ken Follett published in 1989 about the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England. Set in the 12th century, the novel covers the time between the sinking of the White Ship and the murder of Thomas Becket, but focuses primarily on the Anarchy. The book traces the development of Gothic architecture out of the preceding Romanesque architecture, and the fortunes of the Kingsbridge priory and village against the backdrop of historical events of the time.

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    • That sounds like a really interesting book! No, I have not read it. I do enjoy historical fiction as it is a way to learn history but in an interesting way with human stories intertwined. When looking at the Duomo di Milano, it is so huge, it is a wonder how it was built. I requested that book from the library. Thank you for recommending it.

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      • Historical Fiction and memoir are my favorite genre of book. I also like learning about different places and times this way. I always look things up as I am reading to see what is the real history vs what is in the book. Ken Follet has written a bunch of historical fiction books that are very long, and have been very popular. Of course if you read the reviews some people complain about various things. I have to say the most recent book he wrote seemed to be very dumbed down, but I still enjoyed the story. I hope you like Pillars of the Earth.

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  3. I would love to see “The Last Supper”. I read a book about it and it was fascinating. Based on the picture where you stopped for lunch, I am going to guess it was at Lake Como before leaving Italy or Lake Lugano in Switzerland.

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  4. Isn’t “Milano/Milan” a great city. I remember the shops and the fashion shows. Back then we were told to watch Italy, whatever they were wearing would be in our shops (USA) two years later. The last time I was in Milan was during Princess Diana’s funeral. I remember watching part of the ceremony in a shopping mall. The TV’s were on everywhere.

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    • Yes, Milan, like so many other European cities, is an amazing city – rich with history and culture. I remember watching Diana’s funeral, too. The cascade of the bells ringing was so very beautiful.

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  5. What a treat to see The Last Supper even if it was faded. During our visit, we took a train from Florence to Zermatt that went through Milan, so we only saw the city from a train window. That’s as close as I’ve ever come to seeing the Last Supper. ☹️

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