This past weekend, twenty Umbra students and one of their Italian classmates took a whirlwind tour of Florence and Milan with Professor Adrian Hoch’s Leonardo da Vinci course. The first stop in Florence was, fittingly, the historical Bar San Firenze café, where a young Masaccio once had his workshop. Fortified with coffee, everyone was toured open-mouthed through the famous Uffizi and then the Palazzo Vecchio. By late afternoon, everyone got onto the bus next to the Arno and was sped up to the hotel in Milan.
The day begin with a blue-skied stop at the Castello Sforzesco, known as much for its Michelangelo sculpture as for the enormous, complex Da Vinci frescos that can be found on the ceilings of the castle’s many rooms. A jump across the city brought them first to Santa Maria della Grazia before the main event: Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” which is held in a humidity-controlled room and for which reservations must be made as many as five months in advance.
After a break for lunch, students strolled through the stunning duomo of Milan and then into a Da Vinci exhibit at a local museum at which they saw an enormous, full-sized “cartoon” (sketch) of Raphael’s of a fresco that can be found in the Sistine Chapel. After attempting to read Da Vinci’s backwards handwriting in his Atlantic Code, they all walked out into the crisp Milanese day and off to the waiting bus.
A long weekend, but well worth it.