Leonardo da Vinci 500 Year Tribute Tour

The Last Supper mural painted in the Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy
A 9 day trip to Italy 
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Bring the Renaissance alive and embrace the ingenuity of the world's best artists and innovators with a custom-tailored tour of Italy that celebrates the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death. Renaissance experts will guide you on your private tours of celebratory exhibitions while luxury accommodations will immerse you in the luster of Milan, Florence, Vinci, and Rome as you follow in the footsteps of the renowned master. Trace the origins of Leonardo's genius that characterizes his long, illustrious, and inspiring career with viewings that are only available with this rare opportunity. Experience how elegant architectural marvels and captivating technological inventions combine to illustrate the unforgettable culture and beauty of Italy.

Explore Further: Leonardo's contributions only scratch the surface of what Italy has to offer. View our wide selection of immersive Italy Tours or our featured "Made in Italy" Itinerary for more inspiration.

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General Information

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Italy - Florence - San - Lorenzo - Basilica
Italy - Florence - Uffizi
Italy - Florence - Palazzo - Vecchio
Italy - Milan - Castello - Sforzesco
Italy - Florence - Palazzo - Medici
Italy - Florence - Laurentian - Library
Italy - Tuscany - Grapes - Vineyard
Italy - Rome - Leonardo - Saint - Jerome - Wilderness
Italy - Florence - Medici - Chapel
Italy - Rome - Saint - Peter - Basilica - Vatican
Italy - Florence - Sfera - Armillare - Santucci
Italy - Florence - Palazzo - Vecchio
Italy - Florence - Uffizi
Italy - Tuscany - Vinci
Italy - Milan - Duomo - Cathedral
Italy - Codice - Atlantico
Italy - Rome - Colosseum - Sunrise
Italy - Milan - Pinacoteca - Ambrosiana
Italy - Milan - Last - Supper
Italy - Florence - Bargello
Italy - Milan - Museum - Science - Technology
Italy - Rome - Saint - Peter - Square - Vatican
Italy - Rome - Vatican
Italy - Florence - Palazzo - Vecchio
Italy - Milan - Leonardo - Statue
Italy - Milan - Cripta - della - basilica - del - santo - sepolcro - acquapendente
Italy - Rome - Vatican - Museum
Italy - Rome - Museo - Leonardiano - di - vinci
Italy - Rome - Vatican - Museum
Italy - Florence - Palazzo - Pitti
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Milan, Florence, Vinci, Rome, Vatican City

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departure.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Milan – Arrive in Milan with an Introductory da Vinci Tour

Milan is a city of fashion and influence, rich in cultural heritage and prestige as reflected in the artistic majesty of the Duomo, the alluring sounds of the famous composer Verdi, and the captivating works of Leonardo da Vinci. Your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival at Malpensa International Airport and escort you to your luxurious hotel located in the heart of Milan. The streets bustle with activity and are beautiful with the elegant architecture set on foundations that were laid by Romans and later decorated with art deco and rationalist 20th-century architecture set beneath the futuristic skyline.

After you have a chance to settle into the comforts of your accommodation, your guide will greet you in the hotel lobby eager to introduce you to the marvels of Milan. You will begin with Castello Sforzesco, the former home of the Sforza family and originally a Visconti fortress. The iconic red brick will shine in the sunlight and reflects the affluence of the Renaissance rulers of Milan with the thick, dramatic walls designed by Leonardo da Vinci with a moat and draw bridges removed during the reign of Napoleon. The specialized museum galleries host works by Michelangelo and Mantegna, and you will enter the room of wooden panels known as the Sala delle Asse, where da Vinci painted the frescoes on the ceiling in the late 15th century with intertwining trees, fruits, and a natural landscape. The exhibit re-opens on May 16th after a long period of restoration, and there is much anticipation building for this long-awaited opening.

You will continue to the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia, and you can enter “Leonardo’s Corridor.” The long passage allows you to examine the fascinating scale models of the famous inventor’s creations. The displays range from concepts of a machine gun to a hang glider to the aerial screw, the latter of which acted as the predecessor to the helicopter, while the greater exhibit immerses you in the war studies and anatomy sketches. Upon reaching San Sepolcro Crypt, you will have a unique experience in one of Milan’s most fascinating and yet hidden highlights as you venture deep into the underground chamber that once inspired da Vinci. Your guide will lead you across the stone floor and around the faded Biblical frescoes with monuments that date back to the 11th century and truly capture the heart of da Vinci.

What’s Included: private airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Milan – Discover the Fascinating Exhibitions and Celebrate da Vinci

In the morning, you will find the aromas of fresh brioche and decadent espresso drifting through the dining room of your hotel before you meet your guide for a private tour of Maria delle Grazie church, Palazzo Reale, and Pinacoteca di Brera. You will continue your exploration of Leonardo da Vinci’s history in Milan at Santa Maria delle Grazie Church to see the breathtaking work of The Last Supper. The painting decorates the refectory wall of the former Dominican monastery and dates back to the late 15th century. The cool temperature of the room protects the artwork but also adds to the chilling effect of seeing the magnificent painting in person as it depicts the Apostles and Jesus with delicate humanistic traits.

You will continue with your expert guide as you traverse the grandeur of Palazzo Reale, which is hosting an exhibition that highlights the 500th anniversary since the death of Leonardo da Vinci with the most extensive public display of the Renaissance Man’s work ever. Your guide will lead you through the galleries that shine a light on the multifaceted figure that was established as a scientist, an architect, an inventor, and an artist. You will find drawings, paintings, sculptures, and sketches dedicated to the imagination of da Vinci, as well as his tendency to break through existing barriers as captured in several original codices on display, as well as seven pictorial masterpieces such as St. Jerome and the Head of a Woman.

At the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, your guide will introduce you next to the wonders of da Vinci’s Codice Atlantico. Dating back to the early 17th century as host to Europe’s first public library, the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana houses more than 75,000 books and manuscripts. The scent of leather and vellum filters through the space and accentuates the paintings in the galleries that go back to the 14th century. Your guide will provide amazing detail on the words of da Vinci found inside the priceless drawings that adorn the Codice Atlantico for deeper insight into the scientist and artist’s mind.

What’s Included: accommodation, private tour, breakfast

Day 3: Florence – Travel to Florence for a Historical and Scientific Tour

The mornings in Milan fill with a casual vibrancy as the locals of the city make their way to work as the aromas of freshly brewed espresso weave beneath the dramatic statues and pillars of the famous Duomo. Your private transfer will escort you from your hotel to Stazione Milano Centrale for your scenic train ride to the gorgeous city of Florence. You will then enjoy your private transfer from the Santa Maria Novella train station to your luxurious accommodation in the heart of the historical city center.

As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence overflows with elegance and charm, from the goldsmiths found inside the antique shops along the Ponte Vecchio to the enchanting 346-foot tall brick dome that crowns the Cathedral. After settling into the beauty of your hotel, your guide will meet you in the lobby and take you back in time through the charming ambiance of the city by introducing you to the majestic Renaissance history that begins at the Museo Galileo. The museum is located inside an 11th-century castle dedicated to history and science alongside the rushing waters of the Arno River.

The gallery holds one of the largest collections of scientific instruments in the world and reveals the crucial role of families like the Medici and the Lorraine as related to financing these scientific advancements. You will follow your guide through the exhibitions that highlight scientific achievements of the Renaissance including the temporary exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci and Perpetual Motion. You can wander through centuries of ancient and modern ideas and explore the possibility of perpetual motion as designed, examined, and studied by da Vinci.

You will move next to the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi and marvel and the architecture of the Renaissance in the townhouse built for Cosimo the Elder in the 15th century and designed by Michelozzo. You can stand within the grandeur of the detailed frescoes that adorn the Cappella dei Magi, in which the artist portrayed members of the Medici family in an enlightening Biblical context.

What’s Included: train ticket to Florence, private transfer, accommodation, private tour, breakfast

Day 4: Florence – Traverse the Uffizi in Search of Leonardo’s Early Works

When the shops of Florence open alongside the famous outdoor market of San Lorenzo, the scent of leather fills the air from the delightful collections of shoes, purses, and belts on display. After breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel and lead you into the heart of the historical art scene in the Galleria Degli Uffizi. As you walk through the vast halls and offices of the former magistrate of Florence that date back to the 16th century, you can hear the footsteps of visitors echoing against the beautiful marble floors.

The various galleries are displayed by century, which allows you to easily see the works of famous artists and their contemporaries between the 13th to the 18th centuries. You can see works such as Botticelli’s Primavera and Titian’s Venus of Urbino, and your guide will introduce you to three early Florentine works by Leonardo da Vinci consisting of Annunciazione, Adoration of the Magi, and Battesimo di Cristo. When viewing the Annunciation, your expert guide can offer unique insight into the dynamics of the painting, including how you are meant to view Mary and Gabriel from the lower right-hand side.

What’s Included: accommodation, private tour, breakfast

Day 5: Florence – Revel in the Bargello and Palazzo Strozzi Galleries

The scent of flaky, buttery dough emanates from the hidden bakeries that are scattered around Florence with incredibly sweet brioche stuffed with Nutella and traditional cornetti abounding. These morning treats are delivered to the neighborhood bars where locals enjoy an espresso and pastry before work. After your guide greets you at your hotel, you will continue your search for the remarkable artwork of the Renaissance, this time visiting the decorative arts and sculptures displayed in the Bargello Museum.

The galleries showcase ivory carvings, collections of delicate majolica, and works of master artists like Donatello, Brunelleschi, and four works by Michelangelo. To celebrate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, you will find wonderment in the 13th-century prison with a special section dedicated to the pupils of Verrocchio, which includes da Vinci. The gallery reconstructs the career of da Vinci as you explore the juxtapositions of the master thinkers overlapping between teacher and pupil between 1460 to 1490. The exhibit connects to the galleries inside the 15th century Palazzo Strozzi, which towers above the public square with rusticated stone and mullion paired windows.

You will continue with your guide to Palazzo Vecchio, which stands over the large public square of Piazza Signoria. Before entering the palace, you can hear the water from Neptune’s Fountain trickling into the basin. The palace was once the home of the Medici family and retains a sense of grandeur and mystery deriving from the elegant frescoes and the secret passageways. The palace also hosts the temporary exhibition with several sheets from Leonardo’s Codice Atlantico for a better look at the workings of the Renaissance genius as you can view individual sheets on a digital screen.

What’s Included: accommodation, private tour, breakfast

Day 6: Florence – Visit da Vinci’s Home and Museum in the Town of Vinci

Today you will travel to the birthplace and home of Leonardo at Vinci. Vinci is a small town in the Tuscan countryside surrounded by the quintessential rolling hills, lush vineyards, and cypress trees for which the region is known. The works of Leonardo are displayed in the first museum dedicated to the artist, architect, scientist, and inventor located in the 12th-century Castello dei Conti Guidi di Poppi. Replicas and sketches of inventions fill the small galleries and offer an authentic view of the 60 models and numerous drawings of military machines and traveling devices. Da Vinci’s home hides outside of the historical town center in the shade of olive groves as the herbaceous aroma from the trees linger along the cobblestone lanes.

For lunch, you will stop at a local villa to indulge in traditional Tuscan dishes during a multi-course meal paired with wines cultivated in the area. The mouthwatering aromas of garlic, grilled eggplant, and luscious olive oil will drift out of the kitchen upon your arrival. As you settle into the scenic views across the Tuscan countryside, you will combine the beauty of the region with the charm of the nearby town, crowned by a wine crafted specifically in celebration of Leonardo da Vinci, without whom Italy would not have the ice maker or spaghetti maker.

What’s Included: accommodation, private tour, breakfast

Day 7: Rome – Venture to Rome for a Special Display at Scuderie del Quirinale

The bells from Giotto’s Bell Tower ring in the morning and echo gently beside the legendary dome of Florence’s central cathedral. You will have a private transfer to the station and then board your train bound for Rome’s Termini Station. The exciting city embraces the past with a contemporary ambiance with ancient wonders like the Colosseum and Pantheon permeating daily life. Medieval architecture lines the streets decorated with blossoming wisteria, while water splashes into the basin of the Baroque design featured on the Trevi Fountain.

After meeting your driver and reaching your hotel in the heart of the city’s fascinating historical city center, you will meet your guide that specializes in the Renaissance for an engaging private tour of the special exhibition of “The Science Before Science,” inside Scuderie del Quirinale. The gorgeous palatial complex tops Quirinale Hill, one of the legendary seven hills of Rome and it once acted as a summer residence for Pope Gregory in the 16th century. The galleries highlight the opulence of the papacy with lavish gardens and an affluent carriage collection while the exhibit traces the scientific advances da Vinci made. His connection to his contemporaries is also in view in the development of machines for large construction sites, innovative war technologies, and intuitive studies for waterways that rediscovered the classical world while looking towards a different future.

What’s Included: train ticket to Rome, private transfer, accommodation, private tour, breakfast

Day 8: Rome – Enjoy the splendors of the Vatican and Vatican Museums

The day will begin with you and your guide visiting the sensational collection of art and history on display at the Vatican. The world’s smallest independent state shines like a beacon as the center of the Catholic world with the magnificent dome of St. Peter’s Basilica soaring above the piazza designed by the Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Your guide will take you through the glinting interior of the Basilica where the scent of frankincense and myrrh carries into the nave.

You will view Giotto’s captivating mosaic adorning the space above the main doorway, and Michelangelo’s breathtaking Pietà depicting a young Mary cradling Jesus after the crucifixion. When wandering through the galleries of the Vatican Museums, you will end your private tour standing beneath the extravagant masterpiece of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo’s best-known work embodies the Renaissance in nine panels that depict scenes from the Book of Genesis including the fascinating image of the creation of Adam and Eve.

What’s Included: accommodation, private tour, breakfast

Day 9: Rome – Depart for Home

The streets of Rome have a vibrant ambiance as locals embrace their morning espresso at the neighborhood bar before work and visitors venture to the elegant remains of the ancient empire rising out of the Forum. The sunlight washes over marbled stairs of the Spanish Steps that connect Piazza dei Spagna with the forecourt of the Trinità dei Monti church. Enjoying your morning with one last wander will be a perfect end to your journey.

You can always extend your journey in Italy with time in Venice to view the Vitruvian Man on display in the city’s Accademia Gallery, but if you must continue home your private transfer will meet you in your hotel lobby and escort you to Fiumicino Airport for your flight home as you end your celebration of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death.

What’s Included: private airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$4,299
The price is per person based on double occupancy. This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • 17 Admissions including access to the Castello Sforzesco, Science and Technology Museum, Uffizi Gallery, Vatican Museum, The Last Supper at Santa Maria della Grazie, and many more
  • 8 Private walking tours that give you authentic perspectives of Milan, Florence, and Rome
  • 1 Private driving tour that reveals the Tuscan countryside
  • 1 Private wine tasting at a Tuscan winery with multi-course lunch included
  • 8 Nights at premier accommodations with breakfast included
  • 4 Private transfers that will make transportation between airports, train stations, and hotels seamless
  • Second class train tickets from Milan to Florence and Florence to Rome, with the option to upgrade to first class
  • 24/7 Telephone assistance while travelers stay in Italy