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Milan's Last Supper and Where to Stay

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Milan is the couture capital of Italy where design houses debut their latest fashions on catwalks twice per year. Think art and baroque while in Milan. If there is time to visit only one site in Milan, consider paying a visit to the peeling and crumbling Last Supper. You'll find the famous painting at the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Da Vinci's painted scene is actually not a fresco, but a mural. (He chose to paint the life-size scene using tempera with dry plaster, not wet plaster.)

On the request of his patron, the Duke Ludovico Sfroza, Da Vinci went to work on the mural in 15th century Milan. (Imagine Napoleon's troops actually used the Last Supper for target practice.) There is no guarantee getting in the door to view the art work, which has been in an ongoing restorative state for centuries.

Tickets can be booked in advance, and unless you want to be disappointed on arrival, this is highly advisable. Sometimes visitors are turned away even though they have a booking. A limited group of visitors are ushered in for a 15-minute quickie accompanied by an audio guide. As for accommodations, splurge on one of the following three swank hotels.

Hotel Principedi Savoia
The Hotel Principe di Savoia has won many hospitality awards. This top-rated five-star luxury Milan hotel is naturally sought out by discriminating, international travelers. Upon arrival, the grandiose neoclassical façade will undoubtedly impress guests. Once inside, guests will feel right at home in the opulent and over-the-top luxurious surroundings. Whatever their whim, the supreme staff is at guests' beck and call. For starters, relaxation is in order in the glass enclosed heated swimming pool or the hydro-massage tub. There is a sauna and Turkish bath, too. Small pets are greeted and treated like royalty. For Fido, a room service menu featuring raw tartar of beef will spoil any four-legged friend. After a flight across the pond, guests might consider the Jet Lag package.

Bulgari Hotel
The name Bulgari will be familiar to most people. The famous jeweler and watchmaker is also known for luxury goods and has a hand in the hospitality industry. The boutique-size Bulgari Hotel is in bed with its business partner, Ritz-Carlton, so guests should expect a sublime experience. Once they step into the impossibly luxurious guestroom they should not delay in drawing a bath in the colossal black granite tub. For a cocktail, the Bulgari's large round bar is one of the hottest happy hour spots in the city. A wall of windows looks out onto a former monastery garden. After a round of golf, guests plunge into the green mosaic swimming pool and splurge on some shopping at the fine boutiques just steps from the hotel.

The Gray Hotel
The modern Gray Hotel has an enviable address. Located on an unpretentious side street, it's in the center of Milan's renowned shopping district. The Galleria and Scala Opera House are nearby and it's just off the Piazza del Duoma. Upon entering the Gray's lobby, guests will immediately see a suspended pink mattress and swing in front of the reception area. There are 21 rooms differing in style. The four suites have either private fitness rooms or private steam rooms. Le Noir is the upstairs restaurant with all-black lacquer and velvet décor. In stark contrast, the Gray's II Bar is all-white glass. This is a contemporary, cozy hotel in a city known for its grand baroque architecture.