Widely regarded as one of the greatest minds in the history of the human race, Leonardo da Vinci not only created sketches for machines that were centuries ahead of his time but he also produced some of the world’s most beloved and iconic pieces of art. As 2 May 2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the Renaissance master’s death, special events and exhibitions are planned all across Europe to pay homage to his life and legacy. Whether or not this is the year you plan to take that bucket-list trip to Milan to see The Last Supper for yourself, to honour this moment in time, Booking.com has put together a list of five phenomenal stops across Europe where you can revel in Da Vinci’s artistic and scientific contributions. Following in his footsteps from his humble beginnings in Tuscany to his last happy days in the French countryside is sure to put much more than just a Mona Lisa smile upon your face.
Whether you’re an amateur archaeologist, student of sculpture or a greenhorn historian, you’ll find your dream museum here, as visiting museums it is by far the most popular activity among visitors to the city. In that spirit, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, the city is hosting several unique exhibitions throughout the year. A couple of highlights include an exhibition dedicated to his beautiful fresco The Battle of Anghiari at the Museum of Palazzo Vecchio and a collection of the artist’s extraordinary machines at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum.
While not actually the place of his birth, Vinci is the city of his namesake and is just a short drive to the west of Florence. Housing one of the most extensive collections of Da Vinci’s inventions and machines, the Museo Leonardiano Vinci is also presenting a special temporary exhibition organised in collaboration with the Uffizi gallery till 19 October 2019, focusing on one of the earliest known works signed by the artist himself, Paesaggio (literally landscape).
Set in a former royal palace on the Seine’s Right Bank, the vast complex of the Louvre is probably best recognised by the modern glass pyramids that rise above its 14th-century courtyard. The world’s biggest art museum is also home to what is probably the most famous painting in the world, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. After you’ve braved the crowds for a peak at the most notorious smile in history, you can admire what amounts to one-third of da Vinci’s known works, which are also on display in this massive museum. In the fall of 2019, the Louvre will present a unique exhibition bringing together additional drawings and paintings from the master’s oeuvre, as well as new insights based on the latest research into his life and artistic output.
Clos Lucé, Amboise, France
The Château of Clos Lucé in Amboise was where Leonardo Da Vinci spent the last years of his life at the invitation of King François I and where he died on 2 May 1519. In addition to a special exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of his death, you can visit the spaces where he lived and worked from 1516 to 1519, as well as take a stroll through the same garden that he enjoyed during his final, happy days in the Loire valley.
While not a place that featured in da Vinci’s life, Buckingham Palace is one of the most sought-after sights for visitors to London. And to celebrate the anniversary of Leonardo’s death, The Queen’s Gallery is hosting the exhibition “Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing”, which will present more than 200 of the Renaissance master’s drawings in the Royal Collection from 24 May to 13 October 2019.