VisitMantua is now happy to share with its readers these ten tips, to help you in planning your visit (and your queue too) to this extraordinary exhibition.
Although the exhibition opens at 10am, the queue starts earlier. You should be at the gate about 7am.
The exhibition is in the Sainsbury Wing, which has several entrances. The queue for the visitor without a booked ticket is at eastern gate. Let’s stand in the right line!
Each person can purchase up to three tickets. If you are a small group, you should choose the most eligible members in resisting to the cold, or you can plan queuing shifts.
In the path of the queue, there are no benches or other seats (low walls, steps etc.). Bring a pillow inside a large plastic bag, so that you can sit on the floor and preserve your energies for the exhibition. You can then leave your pillow in the bag at the cloakroom.
If you are queuing with other mates, shift with short breaks to drink something hot: there are several cafes in the area. In addition, about 8.30, the National Gallery will put a cart with hot drinks and pastries near the queue.
Have at your fingertips a book or a magazine. About mid-morning the staff of the National Gallery will provide you with the exhibition guide, with captions of all the paintings on show. And have a chat with the other people in the line: you are there for the same reason, so you surely have something in common.
Daily tickets are issued with entry slots. So, although you have stayed in line all morning, you may have tickets for the afternoon. Check the admission time on the tickets, because you are not allowed to visit the exhibition prior to your turn.
If your ticket is for an afternoon entrance, take the opportunity to get some rest . You'll need almost two hours to visit the exhibition. So, avoid to do it tired both physically and mentally.
Deposit coats, scarves, etc. in the cloakroom: the exhibition is very hot.
Watch the introductory video. Then move to the exhibition rooms following the numbers of the works on show. If you can not get close enough to read the captions, just remember they are all listed in the booklet they gave when you were still queuing. And - finally - remember that the last section of the exhibition, dedicated to the Last Supper, is located in another part of the Gallery. Follow the directions to get there and have on hand your ticket, you will be asked again for it.
And, least but not last... enjoy it!