Italy commemorates the incredible life and achievements of Leonardo Da Vinci this year. 2019 marks the 500 year anniversary of the Renaissance polymath’s death, on 2nd May 1519. Across the world his brilliance will be celebrated, but where best to experience the real Da Vinci than his home country, Italy? His knowledge and skills influenced a wide ranging realm that includes art, science, engineering, architecture and anatomy. His legacy flourishes throughout Italy and this year is the perfect time to explore the country that claims him as their own. Journey through some of the beautiful regions, towns and cities in which he left his mark.
Tuscany is the perfect place to start, in the picturesque hilltop town of Vinci, where the genius was born. The town today is a celebration of his life and unsurpassed talents. As you stroll the cobbled streets you’ll notice, Mario Ceroli’s, Da Vinci’s Man (1987), a contemporary sculptural interpretation of Da Vinci’s drawing of Vitruvius’s architectural teachings, Vitruvian Man (1490). Head towards the Da Vinci Museum and you’ll pass through Mimmo Paladino’s Piazza dei Guidi. The square is a 21st century tribute to the great talent of Leonardo. Its geometric shapes are marked with carvings and motifs that recall his life’s work. The Museo Leonardo gives visitors a glimpse into his creative mind, exhibiting intricate models built from his original designs. Easy to reach from Florence on public transport, it’s well worth a visit during your Italian break.
Florence, the creative hub where Leonardo, at the age of 14 began a nine-year apprenticeship, to the famed sculptor, painter and goldsmith Andrea del Verrochio. In Florence’s historical centre, you’ll find the prominent Ufizi Gallery, home to Leonardo’s first known drawing, Landscape Drawing for Santa Maria della Neve (1473), drawn during his time in this city that is now considered to be the cradle of the Renaissance. Researchers believe this to be an example of the artist’s ambidexterity, writing, painting and drawing with both his left and right hands. Take a moment to admire the artist’s skill and notice his distinctive techniques. The gallery has recently opened a room dedicated solely to Leonardo’s Paintings, a look inside will give you an insight into the life and work of the master. There’s even more of Leonardo to see in Florence. The Leonardo Da Vinci Museum offers an interactive experience where you’ll be able to test and use life size recreations of the machines he deigned. Here you can engage with his most famous inventions, right in the heart of the city and spaces that Leonardo most visited.
In the north of Italy, Milan, today’s global capital of fashion and design has much to testify to centuries of art and culture, not least of all being the city where Leonardo spent over 15 years mastering his craft. Here you’ll have the chance to admire his Milanese works, including his world famous and highly acclaimed depiction of The Last Supper (1495-98) in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Also in Milan, The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana Museum celebrates the fifth century anniversary of Leonardo’s death in a unique way. The Crypt of the museum has been transformed into an experience where Da Vinci meets American pop artist Andy Warhol. Leonardo’s 15th Century Milan and his Last Supper is compared and contrasted with the contemporary interpretation of The Last Supper (1986) by Warhol. While you’re there, marvel at Leonardo’s eclecticism by viewing the collection of technical and scientific drawings by the Renaissance man with a genius ahead of his time.
Celebrations are taking place across Italy throughout the year to commemorate the 500-year anniversary since the death of Leonardo Da Vinci. Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of this visionary by experiencing his cultural legacy in the country famed for its many great works of art, architecture and gastronomy.
Leonardo da Vinci Museum, Vinci
Exhibition: Leonardo a Vinci At the origins of the Genius (15 Apr – 15 Oct 19)
Ufizi Gallery, Florence
See works of art by Leonardo and his contemporaries. (Open Tue – Sun 8:15am – 6:50pm)
Leonardo da Vinci Museum, Florence
See and interact with machines created from Leonardo’s designs and drawings.
Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan
See Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of The Last Supper (Open Tue – Sun 8:15am – 6:45pm) Tickets must be booked well in advance of your trip
Pinacoteca Ambrosiana Museum, Milan
Exhibition: The Genius Experience. Leonardo and Warhol. (1 Mar – 30 Jun 19)