Rick Steves Reveals His Absolute Favorite Artworks To See In Europe

It is no secret that Europe is home to some of the world's most iconic art. From the emotional sculpture of Mary holding the body of Jesus created by Michelangelo in Vatican City to Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa expressing a somewhat lack of emotion in Paris, there is something to catch anyone's eye across the continent. This is a good thing, given that art seems to find itself both inside museums and in outdoor spaces.

For someone who has made it his life's work to travel all over Europe and help others do the same, it might come as a surprise that travel expert Rick Steves can narrow down his personal favorite European works of art. When traveling for pleasure throughout his life, traveling to film his PBS show "Rick Steves' Europe," or to update his dozens of guidebooks, Steves has found himself up close to plenty of works of art that are among the most influential in the world.

Michelangelo's David is among Rick Steves' favorite sculptures

Stephanie Craig, the travel blogger behind "History Fangirl," had the chance to interview Rick Steves in 2021. She asked him something which many travelers and art lovers likely want to know: What are his favorite works of art in Europe? "I've been alone with the greatest art in Europe. It's one of the joys of my work, to be all alone with Leonardo's Last Supper, to be all alone with Michelangelo's David, to be all alone standing in front of the great Botticellis in the Uffizi Gallery," Steves replied.

Michelangelo completed his iconic David statue in 1504. To witness it yourself, head to the Gallery of the Academy of Florence (Galleria dell'Accademia) in Italy. It houses the 16-foot-tall David among other notable sculptures and musical instruments from the 17th through 19th centuries. The Uffizi Gallery (Gallerie degli Uffizi) is also in Florence. This gallery has an entire room dedicated to Sandro Botticelli's paintings, including the Birth of Venus from the late 1400s. You can get tickets to both museums online in advance.

Look for the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie to find The Last Supper

Rick Steves went on to further elaborate on a memorable experience he had with one of his favorite works, which he visited for his PBS show. "One of the big thrills was to be all alone with Leonardo's Last Supper in Milan. And we brought our electric lights along, knowing they'd never let us plug in the lights and illuminate that amazing and fragile piece of art. We asked the cleaning lady if we could plug our lights in and she said, 'no problem,'" he told Stephanie Craig. "We were able to illuminate The Last Supper and the colors just popped. Our footage of Leonardo's Last Supper in Milan is the best footage of The Last Supper I think you'll see on any TV doc."

Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper painting was completed at the end of the 1400s. It is located at Milan, Italy's Cenacolo Museum (Museo del Cenacolo Vinciano), also known as the Last Supper Museum, which is attached to the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie. The masterpiece is just over one mile from the famous Duomo di Milan. Reserve your time slot well in advance through the ticketing website, as it is mandatory for all visitors.