The only thing more famous than Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper" painting in Milan is the infamous wait to get a ticket to see the artwork inside the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
While the masterpiece — painted between 1495 and 1497 — is no doubt one of the city's top attractions, visitors in pre-COVID times often found that they missed out on seeing it if they didn't book tickets weeks — or sometimes even months — in advance, the Associated Press reported.
The site was reopened on Tuesday for the first time since November with no lines and same-day tickets available, according to AP. But there is one major restriction: Travel between Italian regions is still currently restricted.
So, locals who live in the Lombardy region, where Milan is located, have the opportunity to see the painting without having to dodge tourists. Only eight visitors at a time will be allowed into the room every 15 minutes, with the capacity climbing to 12 next week.
"The dramatic COVID emergency had the effect of lowering the legendary wait time, and for the public, this is a real opportunity," Emma Daffra, director of Lombardy's state museums, told AP. "For years, we have said that we need to make museums a point of reference for the locals, and now this has become an unavoidable goal."
Visitors must abide by COVID-19 safety guidelines, including wearing a mask and physical distancing. Temperature checks will also be performed. Other spaces have capacity restrictions, with one person allowed in the ticket office at a time and two at a time in the gift shop and restrooms, according to the official site. A designated route must also be followed upon entering, so that the air can be "naturally filtered."
The attraction had been closed from Feb. 26 through June 9, before shutting down again in November. Overall, the site had an 80% drop in visitors in 2020, compared to its record 445,728 the year before.
Despite the famously long waits, a standby line was always available, with lucky visitors being able to score same-day tickets on a limited basis.
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