Sunday, May 2, 2021

Where to See Leonardo da Vinci Artwork in Italy

Painter, scientist, architect, and Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci left his mark all over Italy in frescoes, buildings, drawings, and even prototypes and blueprints for many of the world's technological milestones.

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While quite a few of da Vinci's masterpieces reside in museums outside of Italy, there are many examples of the master's works in his native land. You can follow the "Leonardo Trail" with this list of places in Italy where you can see his work. They're listed in alphabetical order by city name.

01. Leonardo da Vinci and Mona Lisa in Florence

There are places you can see today where the lives of da Vinci and Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo (believed to be the model for Mona Lisa) might have crossed paths.

Gherardini del Giocondo was a real Florentine woman, born and raised there. Centuries after her death, the painting, Mona Lisa, became the world's most famous and most recognizable work of da Vinci's.

As you wander art-filled Florence, there are areas reminiscent of the era when da Vinci painted there and engaged the young woman to be the subject of his painting.

02. Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

The legend of da Vinci's massive painting, "The Battle of Anghiari," lives on in the Palazzo Vecchio's Salone ​dei Cinquecento, although the painting is thought to be covered by a wall or another fresco. The location of the monumental painting, at times referred to as "The Lost Leonardo," remains a mystery.

On the exterior of the Palazzo Vecchio is a cornerstone imprinted with the silhouette of a man's face, which is thought to be Leonardo's unofficial signature.

03. The Uffizi Gallery in Florence

Italy's most important art museum, the Uffizi Gallery, has a few of da Vinci's works. Paintings include the "Annunciation," "Adoration of the Magi," and a self-portrait. Da Vinci is also represented by a number of sketches and under-drawings in the Prints and Drawings Collection in the Uffizi.

Room 15 of the museum is dedicated to the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and to artists who inspired (Andrea del Verrocchio) or admired (Luca Signorelli, Lorenzo di Credi, and Pietro Perugino) his work.

04. "The Last Supper" in Milan

Along with the Mona Lisa, which is the prized possession of the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, "The Last Supper" is da Vinci's most famous painting.

The Cenacolo Vinciano (or Last Supper) still resides in the refectory of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where da Vinci finished it in 1498.

The painting represents the scene of the Last Supper of Jesus with his apostles, as it is told in the Gospel of John. In the scene, Jesus has just found out that one of his followers will betray him. It is one of the most recognizable paintings in the world.

05. Milan's Top Museums

Beyond "The Last Supper," Milan holds several other da Vinci originals. The Leonardo da Vinci Science and Technology Museum has original da Vinci drawings as well as models based on the Renaissance man's inventions.

The Codex Atlanticus, one of da Vinci's notebooks filled with extensive observations and drawings, is housed in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana. Another Codex, the Codex Trivulzianus, a study in architecture and religion, is held at the Biblioteca Trivulziana in the Castello Sforzesco.

06. Biblioteca Reale in Turin

Besides the two codices kept in Milan, the only other da Vinci codex (notebook) in Italy is housed in Turin.

The Biblioteca Reale di Torino houses the Codex on the Flight of Birds, Leonardo's analysis of flight mechanics, air resistance, and currents.

In the codex, he proposes mechanisms for flight by machines. Da Vinci constructed a number of these machines and attempted unsuccessfully to launch them from a hill near Florence.

07. Galleria dell'Accademia in Venice

Da Vinci's renowned "Vitruvian Man," a study of the human form from both an artistic and scientific perspective, is kept at the Galleria dell'Accademia, which is one of the top museums in Venice.

The museum gallery contains a collection of pre-19th-century art in Venice. It is housed in the Scuola della Carità on the south bank of the Grand Canal.

08. Vinci, Tuscany

Leonardo da Vinci got his name from the town of Vinci, the small village outside of Florence where he was born in 1452.

Here you will find the Casa di Leonardo, the farmhouse where the master was born, and the Museo Leonardiano, which is a science and technology museum dedicated to models based on the master's prolific drawings. Vinci is small but is rich in things to see so makes for a good day trip to the Tuscan countryside.

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