Stroll in the heart of Milan in the steps of Leonardo da Vinci
Visit to Castello Sforzesco
Visit to Museum of Science to see his machines
Chocolate break at Neuhaus
Visit to Leonardo’s vineyard
Access to his famous Cenacolo at Santa Maria delle Grazie (on request)
LEONARDO IN MILAN: A FAMILY TOUR
Leonardo arrives in Milan from Florence in 1482, at the age of thirty, probably recommended to Ludovico Sforza the Moor, ruler of MIlan, by Lorenzo de’ Medici, the Magnificent, ruler of Florence, who was regarded at the time as the arbiter of taste in art. Italy was then split into many small States: Florence, Milan, Venice, being the wealthiest.
Curiously enough Leonardo and his traveling companion, the musician and lyre player Atalante Migliorotti, were invited to play the lyre and sang their own songs in front of the court of Duke Ludovico Sforza, obtaining a great success at a musical competition. But Leonardo’s dream was to become the official court engineer. It took him a while, though!
Milan was then, as it is today, a big bustling city, with many man-made waterways (called ‘navigli’) powering hundreds of mills. Main trading involved silk, wool, armor and weapons. The biggest buildings of the time were the enormous Duomo and the huge (and newish) Castle, that Duke Sforza wanted to improve and decorate calling the best available artists.
Leonardo, still fundamentally known just as a painter, was hired to portrait the Duke’s young and beautiful girlfriend, Cecilia Gallerani, that he represents while holding an ermine in her arms. The Duke was so fond of this portrait that he began to like and trust Leonardo, who was given a very good salary and could live comfortably near the Duomo.
During his first years in MIlan, Leonardo had to face several plague outbursts, that he imputed to the filthiness of the city and to bad sanitation. These terrible events inspired his projects for an ‘ideal city’, with a net of canals to be used for transportation but also as sewage system, divided into multiple vertical ‘layers’ to be used for different activities.
By this time (around 1485) Leonardo had acquired an official position as court engineer and painter. He and Donato Bramante, one of the most renowned architects of the Renaissance, worked together on the crossing tower of the Duomo, and the two great men made very good friends. At court Leonardo also met Luca Pacioli, from which he learned mathematics.
During our ‘Leonardo in Milan’ tour we shall visit the Sforzas’ Castle, the impressive building that Ludovico wanted to embellish. From May 2nd, 2019 it will be possible to visit the newly restored ‘Sala delle Asse’, a ceremonial room that was transformed by Leonardo into a trompe-l’oeil luxuriant garden, rich in mysterious symbology and totally stunning!
Here at the Castle Ludovico charged Leo, with the assistance of the court astrologer, to design interior decoration and costumes for the Feast of the Planets, a special wedding party for the Duke’s nephew, converted into an interior and costumes’ designer, Leonardo devised a Paradise with the 7 planets moving round. You can bet it was truly amazing!
While enjoying the great courtyard of the Castle, you’ll learn from your guide about the enormous
equestrian statue Leonardo had conceived for Ludovico il Moro, a huge bronze horse, more than three-levels high, that unfortunately he would never build. The clay model was used as a target and destroyed by the soldiers of King Louis XII of France (1499).
Our walking tour continues in the steps of Leonardo to the Museum of Science and Technology, named after the great Renaissance poly-math himself. The collection stars 130 machinery models based on da VInci’s drawings. Most of the works on engineering and machines were compiled in the ‘Codex Atlanticus’, stored at the Ambrosian Library in Milan.
The full-scale objects range from optic instruments to heavy cranes and excavators, instruments for war and siege, land transportation and, of course, the famous flying machines! In 2018 the museum’s interactive section was renovated: it is now half an artisan atelier and half a science lab. You’ll feel like wizards, hands on between past and future.
At this point of our walking tour on the tracks of Leo da Vinci we’ve conceived for you a sweet and energizing stop at Neuhaus Chocolate Makers, just steps away for the museum. It is a unique place in Milan and in all of Italy, as chocolates arrive every week from Belgium. You can delve into a variety of 96 very fresh delicious connoisseurs’ pralines and chocolates!
Once you’ve recovered, we proceed to what was labeled as ‘Leonardo’s vineyard‘. More than 500 years ago this beautiful garden was Ludovico il Moro’s truly fitting gift to Leo, who enjoyed natural landscapes and fresh wine! You’ll learn about this fascinating place and how it was recently (2015) recreated.
Right across the street is the imposing Renaissance complex of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where he worked between 1495 and 1498. By adding an extra hour to our 3-hour tour and above all by PLANNING OUR VISIT IN ADVANCE we could round off our discovery with da VInci’s iconic ‘Last Supper’, meticulously restored in recent years and listed by the UNESCO.
It will be our last moment of reflection about Leonardo, his Milanese experience, his life.
THIS TOUR LASTS THREE HOURS …
WE CAN ADD AN EXTRA HOUR TO INCLUDE THE “LAST SUPPER”, but we remind you that reservations need to be done at least two months in advance
Cost of this tour
This tour lasts 3 hours and costs: 240 euro up to 6 people (not per person)
We can add an extra hour to include the “LAST SUPPER”, but the reservation need to be done at least two months in advance. The tour will lasts 4 hours and the cost will be 320 euro up to 6 people (not per person)
Only private parties.
For larger parties: please send us an email!
Castello Sforzesco 10€ full fare – 8€ student fare(closed on Monday)
Museum of Science 10€ full fare – 7.50€ student fare(closed on Monday)