THE MYSTERY OF
Leonardo da Vinci
A fantastic three-week vacation in search of the Great Leonardo da Vinci through Italy and France to better understand this incredible genius and some other important figures of the Italian Renaissance such as Raphael, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, the Borgias, and the Medici Family.
EXPLORING THE ITALIAN RENNAISANCE
It is always fascinating to create from scratch an extraordinary trip to explore the life and work of an artist so, when we started working on this incredible trip encompassing three of the greatest artists of all time, all our team was pretty excited.
It took us several months of research, careful planning and countless preparatory trips to deliver an outstanding trip to explore the Italian Renaissance through its most illustrious artists, thinkers and politicians. In the end, we delivered one of the most extraordinary trips ever, unveiling the secrets of one of the greatest geniuses of all time: Leonardo da Vinci.
Our Leonardo da Vinci tour began in Rome, where we spent several days exploring the Italian Renaissance through the work of several of its most important representatives.
One of our initial focuses was the papacy and how some Popes, such as Alexander VI Borgia and Julius II, shaped with their vision and patronage this incredible artistic movement. It was a chance to discover the intrigues and power plays at stake in Rome during an incredible (and very confidential) visit to the Vatican Secret Archives (the Apostolic Archives) and a private visit to the Vatican (including several areas usually off-limits). This was a fantastic opportunity to see (privately) the Borgia Apartments, the Sistine and Niccoline Chapels, the Raphael Rooms and, of course, Leonardo's St Jerome in the Wilderness guided by the curator of the Vatican Museums and a world-renowned expert in the Renaissance.
After Rome, we travelled through the regions of Lazio and Umbria, visiting several places linked with Leonardo da Vinci and discovering some local products. Among the surprises we prepared was a private visit to the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi to the Cimabue and Giotto's frescoes.
When reaching Tuscany, we started with a visit to Vinci, Leonardo's birthplace. We visited the museum, and his house and a vineyard that follows Leonardo's research in winemaking and now have developed the Metodo Leonardo.
After Vinci, we spent several days in Florence with an authentic Renaissance immersion. On top of several private visits (Uffizi Gallery, Pitti Palace, Galleria dell'Accademia, Palazzo Vecchio), we opened secretive places like a cellar with Michelangelo's drawings and other private palaces. Our goal was to explore the Renaissance through the Medici Family, and most of all, Lorenzo de' Medici, whose patronage shaped the 15th century.
Our next stop was Imola to discover the Rocca Sforzesca, Cesare Borgia's stronghold, when Leonardo was appointed his chief military engineer and architect. This visit was the perfect opportunity for us to create a surprising experience to learn about the extraordinary meeting in October 1502 between Leonardo da Vinci and Niccoló Machiavelli, where the two geniuses teamed up to steal the River Arno.
Our last Italian stop in Milan lasted three days, and we explored Leonardo's two Milanese periods (1482-1499 then 1508-1513), where he worked for Ludovico Sforza. While in the city, we had the opportunity to open privately two incredible landmarks. Santa Maria Delle Grazie to see Leonardo's Last Supper and the Biblioteca Ambrosiana to see parts of the Codex Atlanticus, the letters between Lucrezia Borgia and Pietro Bembo (the prettiest love letters in the world)and parts of Aristotle's treatise On the Soul.
After Italy, we travelled to France. First to the Loire Valley to visit Chambord, Amboise, and most of all, the Clos Lucé where Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519 at the age of 67, possibly of a stroke.
Our last stop was Paris, where we wrapped up some of the storylines we started in Rome. During our three days in the French capital, we visited Chantilly (Leonardo and Raphael), opened the French Institute to see Da Vinci's Codex and finally, organised an extraordinary private visit to
the Louvre (to see the Virgin of the Rocks, La Belle Ferronniere, the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, and of course, the Mona Lisa and several drawings never shown to the public), where we had a refined and memorable dining experience.
TURNING HISTORY INTO AN ADVENTURE
To create this incredible vacation, our team worked for months, and we hired for the occasion several experts to help us design several intertwined storylines. Our goal was to better understand the art of the Renaissance, the politics and the influence and rivalries between Leonardo da Vinci and artists such as Michelangelo.
But such a long trip needed to be fun and have many relaxing moments, so we created several experiences (vineyards, local food, handcraftsmanship, fashion and well-being) as an excess of culture can be overwhelming.
Lastly, we had to find some extraordinary people to help us tell the story of the Rennaisance, from diplomats passionated by the Renaissance, renowned art historians to prestigious luminaires we can't disclose (one of the world's most famous best-selling authors, a prince, a famous artist and a head of state).