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Why 2019 is the year to explore Italy’s art history

Italy’s contribution to our global cultural history is hard to overstate – the great painters of the Renaissance left a legacy that still shapes our understanding of the art world today. 2019 is a banner year for arts and culture in the country, with celebrations and exhibitions celebrating this artistic heritage and looking forward to the art of the future.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance man, whose imagination and thirst for knowledge is still marvelled at, half a century on. Celebrations for the occasion are split between France and Italy, but to really understand the Renaissance mindset consider planning an art-themed trip to Italy.

To get a taste of the great artist’s works, head to Milan where da Vinci lived in for 17 years, Florence, where’s there’s a museum dedicated to his forward-thinking machines, or Rome, where a new exhibition celebrates his work.

2019 is also an Art Biennale year in Venice – where some of the biggest names in contemporary art congregate to show off their works in their country’s pavilion.

To see some of Da Vinci’s great masterpieces for yourself – and to have tickets, transport and everything else taken care of – take a look at our new Art & Culture in Italy trip, designed by local expert Teresa.

Italy’s contribution to our global cultural history is hard to overstate – the great painters of the Renaissance left a legacy that still shapes our understanding of the art world today. 2019 is a banner year for arts and culture in the country, with celebrations and exhibitions celebrating this artistic heritage and looking forward to the art of the future.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance man, whose imagination and thirst for knowledge is still marvelled at, half a century on. Celebrations for the occasion are split between France and Italy, but to really understand the Renaissance mindset consider planning an art-themed trip to Italy.

To get a taste of the great artist’s works, head to Milan where da Vinci lived in for 17 years, Florence, where’s there’s a museum dedicated to his forward-thinking machines, or Rome, where a new exhibition celebrates his work.

2019 is also an Art Biennale year in Venice – where some of the biggest names in contemporary art congregate to show off their works in their country’s pavilion.

To see some of Da Vinci’s great masterpieces for yourself – and to have tickets, transport and everything else taken care of – take a look at our new Art & Culture in Italy trip, designed by local expert Teresa.

Test out da Vinci’s inventions in Florence

If you’re holidaying in Italy as a family, the kids will love the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Florence, where you can test out some of the artist/inventor’s creations. It’s unique in that visitors are positively encouraged to play with the inventions, a welcome change for any child that has been dragged around multiple “Do Not Touch” museums. There’s his 15th-century version of a tank, flying machine, underwater diving apparatus and more, plus a room where kids (and adults) can try out some of his building techniques for themselves. https://www.mostredileonardo.com/en/leonardo-da-vinci-museum/

The Uffizi – Florence’s unparalleled Renaissance gallery – has a whole room dedicated to the artist, with works including the Annunciation and Adoration of the Magi. You can also pay homage to the great man by visiting the sculpture of him in the colonnade outside the museum, where many of Italy’s great artists and writers are celebrated. In the nearby Piazza della Signoria is the Palazzo Vecchio, where if you look closely you might see the profile of a man’s face chiseled into the wall to the right of the entrance. Some believe this is da Vinci’s unofficial signature while others contest is was Michelangelo. Whoever is right, this piece of graffiti has endured for 500 years.

See Leonardo’s Scientific Discoveries in Rome

Artist, sculptor, inventor… and scientist. To explore this latter aspect of da Vinci’s genius set a course for Rome, and a new exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale, until the end of June. The exhibition, titled La scienza prima della scienza, or Science before Science, brings together drawings and notebooks filled with da Vinci’s discoveries, and also looks at his collaboration with other great thinkers of the time including Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Donato Bramante.

The exhibition also includes the only book proven to have been Leonardo’s personal possession, with handwritten annotations in the margin, and investigates the development of the Leonardo myth as experienced in popular culture today.