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“Art, Science, History: it is all here.”

Pinacoteca Ambrosiana
Experience for Yourself
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Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus Admission in Milan
Ranked #30 of 808 things to do in Milan
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana was established in April 1618, when Cardinal Federico Borromeo donated his collection of paintings, drawings and statues to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, which he had founded in 1607. Inside the Pinacoteca's expositive path, articulated in 24 rooms, we can admire some of the greatest masterpieces of all times, like The Musician by Leonardo, The Basket of Fruit by Caravaggio, The cartoon for the School of Athens by Raphael , the Adoration of the Magi by Titian, the Madonna del Padiglione by Sandro Botticelli and the magnificent Vases of Flowers by Jan Brueghel. In addition to Renaissance artworks, the museum's collections include paintings by important 17th century Lombard artists (like Morazzone, Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Daniele Crespi and Carlo Francesco Nuvolone) as well as 18th century artists like Giandomenico Tiepolo, Fra' Galgario, Francesco Londonio, and also a notable cluster of 19th and early 20th centuries authors like Andrea Appiani, Francesco Hayez and Emilio Longoni. Walking from a room to another you can also discover a series of genuine curiosities, like the gloves that Napoleon wore at Waterloo, the armillary spheres from the Settala Collection, or the case that keeps a lock of Lucrezia Borgia's hair, in front of which many famous poets like Gabriele D'Annunzio and Lord Byron came to take inspiration. The ideal end of the visit is the Biblioteca Ambrosiana's old 17th century reading room, the Federiciana Room, which is the frame for the Codex Atlanticus exhibition.
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
116 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Art, Science, History: it is all here.”
Reviewed March 14, 2013

I only went because I got a joint ticket from Santa Maria delle Grazie to see lots of Da Vinci pieces. However, I am glad I did because the paintings I saw were brilliant. The scraps of paper that Da Vinci wrote on show how advanced he was for the times (great), and I got to see people working on restoring The Last Supper.

Worth having a map/asking for directions - it took me a while to find and I could see it wasting your day away if not too careful.

Visited May 2012
Thank TheBob623
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Halifax, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
49 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Its's an art gallery...”
Reviewed January 22, 2013

The decision to visit was taken solely on the the flyer Codex Atlanticus - The World's Largest Collection of Works of Leonardo Da Vinci and this proved to be a mistake. Being of a scientific and engineering background, the opportunity to see the great man's work seemed to be an unmissable event.

Imagine then the disappointment of having arrived there (and it's not the easiest to find) and to have paid €15 to spend the first part of the visit wading through gallery after gallery of pictures I had no desire to see to finally end up at the pages of the Da Vinci codex that were nondescript to say the least. Indeed one page on display only had a couple of lines on it and the rest of the page was blank.

To make matters worse, the exhibition deposits you out of the back of the museum so you can't even raise your issues with the staff that runs this place.

Having said all that, if the flyer had also explained that the codex was apart of an art gallery my expectations would have been different so do your research before you go. Indeed for the art lover the gallery is home to artists such as Caravaggio and definitely worth a visit. For the scientist and engineer its a disappointment.

Visited January 2013
Thank Richard T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AmbrosianaMilano, Responsabile relazioni pubbliche at Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, responded to this review, February 11, 2013
Dear Visitor,

we are sorry to know that your visit of the Codex Atlanticus exhibition and of the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana was disappointing and we would like to answer to some points of your review.
The sentence on the flyer “The World's Largest Collection of Works of Leonardo Da Vinci” refers to the Codex Atlanticus, which is composed of 1119 sheets with original drawings and manuscripts by Leonardo. The Codex is being showcased completely in a series of exhibits taking place from 2009 to 2015 in the Ambrosiana gallery and in the Bramante Sacristy.
Due to conservative reasons, it is impossible to show this material all at once, so the sheets are rotated every 3 months, each time with a different theme. Since 2009, various exhibits have been devoted to Leonardo’s machines and engineering studies, but the current one “Floods and prophecies” is dedicated to Leonardo’s prophetic sentences and literary production. An archive of the past exhibits and the programme of the future ones is available on our website. The price, € 15,00, is comprehensive of the whole museum, with 25 rooms featuring great masters like Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael, Botticelli and many others. We are sure you could appreciate them too during your visit at the Ambrosiana.

Kind regards

Fernanda Casiraghi
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
395 reviews
208 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 333 helpful votes
“Brilliant art gallery”
Reviewed December 15, 2012

The Ambrosiana seems to sell itself mainly on the basis of the 'Atlantic Codex' exhibition - selected pages from Leonardo da Vinci's notebook. This is fairly interesting, although you would need to make a very detailed study to get much out of it.

Much better is the brilliant art gallery, particularly the main Borromeo Collection. It is beautifully arranged and cleverly lit to show the paintings at their best. Highlights include works by Luini, Titian and Caravaggio, as well as Raphael's huge 'cartoon' for the 'School of Athens'.

The gallery is only five minutes from the Duomo, but a little tricky to find (especially as they are digging up the roads in the area!).

Visited December 2012
Thank Dohfar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
43 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Well worth a visit”
Reviewed November 25, 2012

I went for the Da Vinci things, but all the other things they had there meant I spent a couple of hours happily browsing the other works, before I every made it to D.V at the end! A definite Must See. I could wish the Da Vinci pages weren't quite so low down (displayed at an optimal height for children, rather than adults), but it was so fascinating to see what a polymath he was, with a single page that might have a sketch and some notes on an invention he was considering next to some anatomical diagram and then calculations on something else. One of the highlights of my trip to Milan.

Visited November 2012
2 Thank Jmbau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Stunning collection and library”
Reviewed November 19, 2012

The collection is stunning, with many manuscripts, models and hand drawings. The da Vinci manuscripts alone are most certainly worth seeing!

Visited May 2012
Thank Kat L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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