Following Leonardo da Vinci through Milan

Following Leonardo da Vinci through Milan

Discover works created by Leonardo da Vinci and places dedicated to him in the capital of Lombardy.

Thanks to an abundance of gourmet restaurants, clever museums, creative spaces, and lively events, Milan grows more splendid by the day. Hidden gems that had seemed lost forever have been brought to light much to the pleasure of locals and visitors alike. Among these, many of them are thanks to the presence of Leonardo da Vinci. During his 18 years spent in Milan, the Renaissance genius enriched the city with his art and other projects.

Here are six places in Milan where you can discover the genius of Leonardo da Vinci.

1. The Last Supper in Santa Maria delle Grazie

There’s plenty written about Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, a work commissioned by  Ludovico Sforza. The Duke of Milan, Sforza wanted to decorate the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in honor of his family. Not only is The Last Supper one of the world’s most famous artworks, but it is also one of the most fascinating and mysterious. From the imaginative theories of Dan Brown to the story of its complicated restoration, the painting attracts millions of tourists every year who try to grasp all its secrets while admiring its beauty. This masterpiece is one of the best UNESCO Sites in Italy.

2. The vineyard at Casa degli Atellani

Leonardo lived at Casa degli Atellani, the home of one of Ludovico Sforza’s courtiers, while painting The Last Supper. The Duke gifted the property’s vineyard to Leonardo during his stay. However, it was completely destroyed when it was bombed during World War II. Casa degli Atellani was restored in the 1930s by iconic architect Piero Portaluppi. Not only was Leonardo’s Vineyard re-planted, but Casa degli Atellani also opened to the public for Expo 2015. The palazzo’s rooms showcase frescoes, coats of arms and paintings dating back to the fifteenth century as well as neoclassical elements from the 1920s. The magnificent garden, home to the vineyard, is filled with findings that date back to the Atellani era. This authentic gem in the heart of Milan is behind the massive wooden door at Corso Magenta 65.

3. The Codex Atlanticus in the Ambrosiana Library

The Ambrosiana Library, adjacent to the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, was founded by Cardinal Federico Borromeo in 1607.  The library, located just behind Via Torino, houses rare and precious collections and codes. Some of these treasures include the only surviving fragments of Plautus’s Vidularia,a variety of Arabic and Oriental manuscripts, and more. Among these treasures, Leonardo’s Codex Atlanticus is one of the most famous. The largest collection of Leonardo’s writings, the Codex Atlanticus touches every area of human knowledge: Mechanics, mathematics, astronomy, botany, geography, physics, chemistry, architecture, and philosophy. Some of Leonardo’s other projects, drawings, inventions, and fables are also included. For conservation purposes, the display of 22 files in the library’s  Federiciana Hall rotates every three months.

4. Axis Hall at Sforza Castle

In 1498 Ludovico Sforza commissioned Leonardo to paint a room on the ground floor of Sforza Castle’s Falconiera Tower, where the falcons were once kept. Today, the Axis Hall (Sala delle Asse) is one of the castle’s most famous areas. Following the foreign dominations of Milan, the painting seemed to have disappeared forever. But in 1893, architect Luca Beltrami and historian Paul Müller-Valde found enough traces to call for reconstruction and restoration of Leonardo’s work. This dense, multi-colored vegetable plot complete with branches, fruit, roots, and rocks is simply breathtaking.

5. The Science and Technology Museum 

The National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan is named after Leonardo da Vinci. The museum, suitable for all ages, showcases Leonardo’s brilliancy through constructions and models of his inventions. Visitors can admire the world’s largest collection of models made from Leonardo’s drawings. Some of these works include a multitude of machines for flying, war, everyday use, and hydraulics. In addition to this incredible collection, the museum hosts interactive workshops with models and artifacts that will lead guests through a journey through the history and evolution of science and technology. (Via San Vittore 21)

6. Conca dell’Incoronata in Via San Marco

For a long time, Milan was a ‘city on the water’. Not like Venice of course, but at one time the Navigli crossed the entire city. The construction of the surrounding Navigli canals, such as the Martesana, and the need to combine them with those of the inner canals called for the construction of some basins. The Conca dell’Incoronata, next to the Tombun de San Marc, was built using a layout designed by Leonardo- which happens to be present in the Codex Atlanticus. In fact, Leonardo himself acted as a consultant during the construction.

Discover Milan through da Vinci’s footsteps with these experiences:

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