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Last Supper Scam

Yes, this is a duplicate posting. I posted it in the SCAMS Forum, but thought it might get a wider viewing here.

Getting tickets to see the Last Supper in Milan is almost impossible without dealing with scalpers. I logged onto the museum site the first day tickets were available for May (that was today) and the first day we will be in Milan no tickest were available and the second day there were a couple of time slots with only 1 ticket available. The problem is scalpers buy up all the tickets at 6,50 euro and then sell Milan walking "tours" at 65 euro. A nice mark up if you can get. One of them even admitted the process, see below.

My problem is do I submit to the scalpers? With almost all tickets purchased by these scalpers on the first day of sale it forces anyone who wants to see the Last Supper to deal with them. So what if they have 10% of the tickets left unsold, they still have make a huge profit.

Below is a direct "copy and paste" from one of the sites.

"The biggest problem is that the philosophy of the organisation behind ticketing for the Last Supper is geared towards satisfying tour groups and large parties. This is, begrudgingly, understandable ... if they can fill their slots with single large bookings as opposed to multiple individual travellers, then they're going to opt for the easy route every time. This leaves us pretty much picking up the crumbs for you, the DIY traveller.
Don't misunderstand us - we do fulfill between 50 and 70% of the orders we take (this varies according to the time of year) - but that still leaves a lot of unlucky and unhappy customers.

So, we've joined forces with a Milan company that organises regular group tours, and have a long established arrangement with the Last Supper 'management' - an arrangement that gives them good access to block-bookings. The upside - we can pretty much guarantee a visit to see the Last Supper; the downside - it will cost more than a standard ticket. But standard tickets are hard to come by, and this is far more than a 'standard' tour. Over and above your guaranteed viewing of the Last Supper, you'll have either a walking tour ('In the footsteps of Leonardo') or a combined bus and guided walking tour of Milan."

Posted by
4152 posts

I understand the desire to see the Last Supper but I think if enough people stopped buying these "tours" the scalpers might stop buying all the tickets. If they start having hundreds of unsold tickets each night they might stop buying them. I know it's wishful thinking but we can always hope.

Donna

Posted by
11613 posts

There are several brokers who can secure tickets online with no tour but a significant markup. Nothing near 65Euro, though, more like 22E.

Posted by
1103 posts

They are still scalpers. They buy the tickets and resell them with no added value. I would like a 300% profit for selling something with no work done.

Posted by
7659 posts

To quote what you said from the website:

Over and above your guaranteed viewing of the Last Supper, you'll have either a walking tour ('In the footsteps of Leonardo') or a combined bus and guided walking tour of Milan."

So, you are getting something for your money that is more than just a ticket.

Posted by
11977 posts

I'm glad I visited most of these museums many years ago, when you needed no reservations.
If the authorities were smarter, they would apply congestion pricing. Basically low prices when crowds are low (like January nights) and exorbitant prices when demand is high.
That would ensure a more rational allocation of limited resources (museum access) and that the extra profits during high demand (high price) periods went to the museum, rather than scalpers.
Also individual tickets should be non transferable and require a photo ID, just like airplane tickets or soccer tickets. When they introduced the photo ID and non transferability requirements for soccer tickets years ago (for hooligans' violence prevention reasons) scalping disappeared overnight. Well I guess now they moved to the museums.

Posted by
1103 posts

"To quote what you said from the website:
Over and above your guaranteed viewing of the Last Supper, you'll have either a walking tour ('In the footsteps of Leonardo') or a combined bus and guided walking tour of Milan."
So, you are getting something for your money that is more than just a ticket."

Nothng I want, just a poor package that I bet 90% of the people on the "tour" did not want. The one and only reason they bought it was to get to see the Last Supper. Without creating a monopoly on the Last Supper tickets these "tours" would not survive.

Posted by
8293 posts

So if it won't change your life forever if you do not see "the Last Supper" (and you can after all actually see some pretty good reproductions) just refuse to buy scalper tickets. I don't see it as a "scam", by the way, not in the proper sense of the word.

Posted by
6067 posts

I agree with Norma. If it's a 'must see' for you, then you do what you have to do to see it. If you can survive without seeing it, then pass it up. Also agree with Zoe, I saw some tours listed for €22-35, some included a walking tour of Milan and others were just a guided tour of the Last Supper. With only 15min in front of the painting it's nice to have someone knowledgeable explaining things you might miss if you didn't know about. Personally, for me it would be a €35 splurge and worth it, I know I have to be willing to bite the bullet and open the wallet if it's something I feel I need to see.

I don't like that the 'scalpers' get to buy unlimited tickets as soon as they go on sale but it's Italy and it is what it is.

Posted by
669 posts

You might try telephoning. The number is on the website and also in the RS Italy guidebook.

We bought tix online last August for a mid-September date; got the time and date we wanted. Sorry this is happening to you.

Good luck.

Posted by
6875 posts

You're right Bob; it stinks. Unfortunately, this is what's happening at many high demand sites and events aided by specialized software, etc. For example, it used to be a piece of cake to get ET tickets. Thanks for letting us know the situation.

Posted by
32 posts

I will be in Milan with two friends and one really wants to view the Lords Supper. We tried for tickets for week of April 28 and everything was already sold out right through May 5! :( . I wouldn't mind a walking tour that would get us in to the Last Supper,
some include entrance into other top sites as well. It's too bad that the system works this way.

Posted by
4694 posts

Gee, sounds just like pop music concerts in the, er, uh, USA.

Posted by
1 posts

Call them directly. Couldn't get tickets on-line yesterday for dates in May. Called this am (time difference had them still open) and quickly spoke to someone and had choices of time for the day(s) we wanted tickets at the price quoted on site. Phone number is: (country code) 39 02 92800360. (if you have trouble, please look up the number.

Posted by
67 posts

What website are folks using to find tickets? I thought I was on the official site but it only offered a tour at 65 euros. But I've seen others quote prices more like 8-10, so where can I get one of those?

Posted by
13 posts

This is very interesting info, I passed it along to a friend who is going to Milan at the end of May but had not purchased tickets yet.

My husband and I will be in Milan the second week of March and I purchased the tickets from vivaticket.it the middle of December. I went to the museum's website and it went thru this for the purchase. My total charge was 16 euros. I printed out my confirmation and will pick up the tickets at the box office. There were two times available (both early morning) for the day we could go so I was able to pick one of those.
It worked out well for us.

Posted by
796 posts

I know of two bus tour companies that are in no way scalpers but provide excellent tours that include The Last Supper and quite a bit more. One is Autostradale and they have a 3 hour tour and a 1 1/2 hour tour and are excellent. You get a combination bus and walking tour of not only The Last Supper but of all of Sforza Castle, La Scala Opera House, the Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and a lot more. You have a knowledgeable guide with you who is passionate about sharing these treasures with visitors. I recommend the longer tour. It is wonderful. You can book them online a few days before your trip and will be guaranteed to see a lot more than just one painting. www.autostradale.it is their site. You can also just show up at their office and sign up. Their tour languages include English.

You can also use Zani Viaggi which also has English language guides but I really prefer the first one.

It is quite common on Europe, the USA, and many other places for tour companies to buy blocks of tickets for everything from entry to sights, hotel rooms, restaurant reservations, and more. This is so that people who take the tours can plan and book and pay in advance and so that the companies can guarantee their itineraries. It's just that this painting has been damaged somewhat by humidity (humans give off liquid from their breath and skin) and so they limit the number of visitors per day which means only a certain number of people at a time can go in and stay for only a certain length of time and then they de-humidify before letting in the next group. As I said, it is common for tour companies both small and large worldwide to book in advance certain things and this is not a scam. It is necessary for their businesses and their customers. The painting is well worth seeing.

Posted by
1264 posts

I want to add that like Julie, I got my ticket for my October 2013 on line from the vivaticket website without calling or any problem. It is possible to get the 6,50 euro tickets on line. I'm sorry you had trouble but I don't want others to be too discouraged. For me, The Last Supper was well worth seeing and in better condition that I expected.

Posted by
950 posts

We took a tour because we couldn't get tickets alone, and must say that we would not have seen as much of Milan had we not. I particularly enjoyed seeing the Michaelangelo in Sforzy Castle, wished we had time to view the Egyptian collection there as well. It included a tour thru La Scala and much more that wasn't on our Rick Steves walking tours. I thought it was worth the money.

Posted by
30 posts

I've been trying for 2 weeks to get the 3 hour tour through Autostradale. They keep referring me to the Duomo office, but no one replies to my e-mails. Someone at Autostradale even suggested the tram tour, which is not what we are interested in. I bought Milano cards from the same company and they promise a 10% discount on their tour. The card seems like it will pay for itself with free public transportation. I only wish I could get some response regarding the LookMi tour.

Posted by
2 posts

I appreciate those who have gone before, those thrown to the lions of the creators of the Last Supper tickets website & phone sales system, and survived to talk about it. I would not have persisted, and instead would have resorted to letting myself being fed upon by Colosseum lions—I mean scalpers. The website is a ruse, to keep you thinking the tickets dates and times are sold out, and your only recourse is to hire a tour for 10 times the cost of admission, but with the assistance of Saints to get through to an operator, you find there are loads of ticket dates and times that the site shows completely unavailable. After over 3 solid hours trying to get through their antiquated phone system on a Friday, from their 8am opening to noon, I can say that kneeling while on hold and praying for divine intervention was the only option that held hope. My phone charges show 20 attempts to hold ( I couldn't remember, being in a daze after 3am PST). The 200 disconnects (about 1 speed dial a minute) due to the system defaulting to a message that the lines are busy, in Italian, thankfully did not get charged to my calling card if I hung up quickly. The louder, welcoming voice to the ticket sales office invites you to press 2 for English, and this rare event allows you to be pacified by a piano concerto for 2 min until you are hopelessly hurled out of the system at the end of a recording in Italian with the lovely words grazie & prego. Once, it wouldn't respond to the touchtone, and the voice carried on demanding I press 1 for Italian, 2 for English. I found myself screaming the number 2 (in English, sadly) after wearing out the button on my phone. It dropped me after a few minutes in the language-unknown category of their overwhelmed, but still adamant answering system. About 1am, in desperation and sleep deprivation, I decided that I would try pressing 1 to just see if the Italian operator would speak enough English to rescue me from my plight. The first one hung up when I said hello. The second one, after about another 100 speed dial attempts, greeted me back in English and offered to help. I nearly dropped the phone. Yes, she could help me in English; of course there were loads of tickets still available for nearly every day in September, though the site showed only 4. (Mind you that would have still been enough for me to choose from, but even these 4 would direct you to a try back later notice on the site, and I did attempt 2 days of the trying-back ploy until I knew my fate was sealed for the direct approach). There were options for all different hours on a date I chose that showed was totally blacked out on their website. I eagerly pulled out my card that I had the international block removed just that morning, and here's where it get's challenging: the card did not go through their system...twice. I suddenly had unpleasant thoughts toward my local bank phone rep that walked me through the debit card unblocking process. I pulled out my credit cards. One, two, three, all declined. After the 5th card, I was wearing her down, and amid apologies she directed me back to the website. I was lost. How this could be happening? and she was going to hang up on me? I stared down at the worthless cards I had dropped to the floor. Had all failed me? placing blocks on this transaction? Chase Sapphire, 1st National, Alaska Premier Visa. How could they be that efficient to protect me from fraud? I was only able to plead with her to try the unblocked debit card one last time, but her voice was now wary after all the evidence against me. What does the decline note say? Unauthorized transaction. I found a movie, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and watched it in its entirety as I returned to my robotic speed dialing. A quick call to a CC company confirmed my cards were not blocked, & never even hit by her attempts. Eyed dazed, at the end, I got through to another agent who swiped the 1st card with no problem, & told me I MUST arrive 20m early!

Posted by
11613 posts

Jonah, what a great post! This is why I will pay twice the cover price to a broker online, and have the email voucher in less than a minute.

Posted by
1103 posts

Zoe,

Only in this case there is no broker where you can get the ticket at twice the price. The multiple is much higher.

Jonah's experience is the extreme. I applaud him for his tenacity. Most of us have been successful with 3 or 4 tries. Giving in and going to one of these "tour" companies only perpetuates the scam/scalping.

Posted by
11613 posts

Bob: There are brokers. I got tickets from Select Italy three months in advance. They also offer tours. I chose them because I needed tickets for several museums in different cities, and my transaction was completed in less than three minutes. Worth the markup for the convenience, for me.

Posted by
715 posts

There really needs to be a "like" button for posts.

Posted by
33 posts

I had posted earlier that I was having no luck getting through on the phone and then one morning, I got through and got our tickets at the time we wanted. It seems that it just takes persistence. I probably called over 20 times in a period of 3 weeks. But it worked!

Posted by
1103 posts

I guess the difference is that I would not think of going to Machu Pichu other than on an organized tour. Not sure why I feel that way about traveling in South America vs Europe where I go it alone.