May 2 2019 – January 2020


The extraordinary genius and Leonardo Da Vinci’s works will be celebrated this year on the occasion of 500th anniversary of his death.

Since October 2017 the official Committee for the Year of Leonardo da Vinci has approved and developed about 80 events focused on this subject, although Milan is considered the core of the project. This is due to his long stay at the service of Ludovico il Moro since 1482, the innovative projects carried out there and the importance of this collaboration in his career.

Last July the Da Vinci parade got started with the Museum of Science and Technology, one of Europe’s largest science museums that hosts a wide spectrum of mechanical machines, submarines, trains and now the new Leonardo Gallery after long restoration works. You will see his original designs for a scuba outfit with waterproof leather suit, a glass facemask, wooden air tubes, and a hands-on educational laboratory for children or adults to peruse models of his inventions, inclusive of a lifebelt!

In addition to it, last October the preparatory drawings of the Last supper were displayed at the refectory hall of the medieval Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery, where the painting was originally commissioned. You will discover the long and challenging creative process for the largest fresco ever made in Milan by the master.

Most of the exhibits and events will begin on May 2nd, 2019 and will end in January 2020. The Castello Sforzesco will lead the way with the renewed Sala delle Asse, after six years work, decorated by Leonardo in 1498. From the catwalks you will have the chance to admire the close-up sketches of the old fresco, while on the ground level a geo-reference visual map will show the way Milan looked like at the age of Leonardo, when he was operating for the Sforza family.

The Ducal Chapel, one of the highlights of the Castello Sforzesco, will host an exhibit about the relationship among Nature, Art and Science. The iconographical program of the Sala delle Asse is compared with the style of other local and Tuscan painters, as well as the Northern European ones.

The Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana, founded in 1607 by the Cardinal Federico Borromeo, was one of the earliest public libraries in Europe and became a prestigious art gallery in 1618 when Borromeo bequeathed his private collection of paintings. Nowadays in addition to its original purpose, the Pinacoteca section hosts regular exhibits based on its treasuries, like “The mysteries of the Codex Atlanticus” opened on January 18th, 2018 until March 3rd, 2019.  A total of 46 sheets will be shown in two parts, each lasting three months, which represent a selection of the most impressive and intriguing drawings that Leonardo created throughout his long career.

The amazing Atlantic code inspired the Leonardo Da Vinci specialist Pietro Mariani for the exhibit “Leonard in France. Drawings from the Atlantic code of the French period”, from June through September 2019. Last but not least, you will find in the same building “Leonard and his legacy: the artists and the techniques” curated by Benedetta Spadaccini about the drawings made by Leonardo’s circle.

Palazzo Reale too will join the 500th years celebrations with “The wonderful world of nature before and after Leonardo” from March 4th through June 23rd 2019, based on Leonardo’s contribution to a brand new perception of nature in Lombardy.

Fall 2019 is rich in significant events related to the Florentine master.

The second remarkable exhibit at the Palazzo Reale is “Leonardo’s Dinner for Francesco 1st: a masterpiece of silk and silver”, from October 7th 2019 through January 23rd, 2020. The exclusive showpiece is the tapestry based on Leonardo’s Last Supper, praised by Luise of Savoia and Francis Duke of Angouleme, who could not take the fresco home! So the painter Bramantino was commissioned a copy on paper, which was hand-woven and embellished with silver and silk threads. For this distinguished and refined donor the Last supper was an iconic work, and one year after his rise to the throne in 1515, he asked Leonardo to stay at his Castle of Amboise where the master died in 1519.

The Baroque style Palazzo Arese-Litta, built by the architect Francesco Maria Richini in 1642, will honor Charles d’Amboise, the French Governor in Milan who was Leonardo’s patron and close friend. “The court of the great master: Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles d’Amboise and the district of Porta Vercellina” will pay homage to the project developed by the Tuscan genius for the Governor’s house in Milan located at the Porta Vercellina neighborhood, where today Palazzo Litta stands.

The varied program dedicated to Leonardo in Milan includes also more events in Florence, Rome, France and other European cities, and a movie based on Da Vinci’s Walter Isaacson book, starring Leonardo Di Caprio!