Erected on the remains of an old Roman forum and located just a short distance from the Duomo, the Ambrosiana Art Gallery exhibits Italian works from the 14th to the 20th century, including Leonardo da Vinci’s priceless collection of drawings, the Codex Atlanticus.
The Ambrosiana Art Gallery (Pinacoteca Ambrosiana) was founded by Cardinal Federico Borromeo in 1618 and encompasses 26 rooms where visitors can admire several of the most extraordinary masterpieces of all times, including Leonardo’s Portrait of a Musician, Caravaggio’s Basket of Fruit, Raphael’s Preliminary cartoon for the School of Athens, Titan’s Adoration of the Kings, Botticelli’s the Madonna of the Pavilion and Brueghel’s magnificent Vase of Flowers.
While walking from one room to another, art lovers will also have a chance to discover a number of rarities, including the gloves worn by Napoleon at Waterloo, the astrolabes and armillary spheres from the Settala collection, or the case containing a lock of Lucrezia Borgia’s hair.
2009 saw the onset of a project designed to allow visitors to view Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus in its entirety. The latter comprises 1,119 sheets covering forty years of Leonardo’s intellectual life – from 1478 to 1519 – featuring a number of highly disparate subjects. The Codex will be displayed at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Sala Federiciana, see photo) and at the Sacrestia del Bramante until 2015, 44 or 45 pages at a time for three months at a stretch – the longest the International archival norms will allow such documents to be exposed to light.

By Diana Orlando

Open Tues-Sun 9am-7pm.
The Atlantic Codex is on show in two different locations: Sala Federiciana (Pinacoteca Ambrosiana – 10am-6pm) and Bramante Sacristy (Santa Maria delle Grazie church – 8.30am-7pm).
Full ticket for the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana  15€, 10€ for the Bramante Sacristy, 20€ for a unique ticket.
Piazza Pio XI, 2
M1-M3 Duomo, M1 Cordusio