Highlights of this tour
- 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
Cost of this tour
- This tour lasts 3 hours and costs: 270 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 360 euro up to 6 people (not per person)
- Only private parties.
- For larger parties: please send us an email!
- Admission fees:
- Castello Sforzesco 6€ full fare – 4€ student fare (closed on Monday)
- Museum of Science 12€ full fare – 9.50€ student fare (closed on Monday)
- Leonardo’s Vineyard 16€
- Santa Maria delle Grazie (Last Supper) 17€
Dress Code and advice
- No shorts and no sleeveless garments.
- Short sleeves and knee-high are ok!
- Please wear comfortable shoes and a hat in summer