As one of most well-known figures of the Italian Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci is most often associated with the country of Italy. Yet while da Vinci was born in Italy — near the quaint town of Vinci in the Tuscan countryside to be precise — and spent much of his adult life there, it wasn’t the only place he called home.
That’s not just referring to the location of his few surviving masterpieces, including his notebooks, though, which are now scattered around the world. After spending many years in Italy, da Vinci spent the last few years of his life in France. Today you can discover some of his works during (as well as before and after) a cooking vacation to Italy and France, where you’ll have the chance to visit some of the places that da Vinci spent his life.
After growing up in the Tuscan countryside, a young Vinci started his apprenticeship in Florence under the tutelage of Verrocchio. After about five years, he then joined the painters’ guild in Florence, and people began to commission him to create works of art, such as the Adoration of the Magi.
Next, it was on to Milan, where da Vinci painted for the duke Ludovico Sforza. While in this city known for its fashion, the artist created his most famous work, The Last Supper, in the convent Santa Maria delle Grazie. While little of the original remains today, despite attempts at restoration, visitors can still see what remains of the impressive work.
Following more than a decade in Milan, da Vinci spent a bit more time in Venice and Florence before being invited to France by the king in 1516. While 64 at the time, da Vinci continued to work until his death in 1519, when he died in Amboise, where you can stay during our Biking through the Loire Valley food and wine tour.
So where can you see his surviving works, other than The Last Supper? While there are a handful in Germany, London, and other locales, a great number of his works are appropriately still in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. A sizable amount are also in Paris’s Louvre, including the famous Mona Lisa.
While our cooking vacations are naturally focused on the food and local producers of an area, you’ll be doing more than eating during our trips. You’ll discover the culture and art of a place too, and, if you’d like, you can see some of da Vinci’s magnificent works.
By Liz Hall
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