2019 is the year of Leonardo da Vinci. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of his death.
On May 2, 2019, infact, Italy and the world honor the day, 500 years ago, when Leonardo da Vinci died. A host of celebrations are planned in Italy and will last much of the year.


Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15th, 1452 in Vinci, Italy (which is just outside of Florence). Da Vinci was an illegitimate son of a twenty-five year old notary, Ser Piero, and a peasant girl, Caterina. Leonardo’s father took custody of him a short time after birth. Leonardo da Vinci had seventeen half brothers and sisters. While Leonardo was growing up in his father’s home in Italy, he had access to knowledge databases such as books and scripture. Also, Leonardo was exposed to Italy’s rich, vibrant painting community. At the age of fifteen, his father apprenticed him to the workshop of Andrea Del Verrocchio in Florence where his skills as an artist developed, flourished and even intimidated his mentor.

In 1482, looking for a broader scope of work, da Vinci moved from Florence, widely considered the cultural capital of Italy, to Milan, a much more political and militaristic city. There, da Vinci sold himself to Duke Ludovico Sforza (a successful military leader called “the dark one”) as a military engineer. In the city that “lived and died by the sword”, da Vinci began developing many of his famous war inventions.

Da Vinci spent many years in Milan working for the Duke, inventing, painting, sculpting, studying science and conceiving an endless stream of innovative and daring ideas. Without a doubt, the 17 years spent in Milan were da Vinci’s most productive period.

In 1499, the French invaded Milan and Duke Sforza was sent fleeing the city. Leonardo spent the remaining years of his life traveling to cities like Venice and Rome to work on different projects, with a greater concentration on his art (starting on his most famous piece, the Mona Lisa, in 1503) and studies in anatomy (da Vinci conducted over 30 autopsies in his lifetime).

Leonardo da Vinci died at 67, on May 2 1519, near Amboise in France where he’d lived his last three years as a guest of the French King Francis I. Writing in 1550, Giorgio Vasari, in his  Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, recorded that Leonardo actually died in the king’s arms, with the king “supporting his head to give him such assistance and do him such favour as he could, in the hope of alleviating his sufferings.” 

One year of events and activities

MILAN: “Leonardo 3 – The world of Leonardo” in Milan (Piazza della Scala), which will be open until the end of 2019 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of this extraordinary figure’s death (on 2 May 2019). Visitors will be invited to interact with the Tuscan artist and scientist’s contraptions through two hundred 3D interactive devices and working physical replicas, many of them built for the first time in history – it’s your chance to maneuver a special flying machine built from sheet 176r of the “Atlantic Code”, featuring a special junction that allows wings to move in every direction.

TORINO: The Royal Museums of Torino will host “Leonardo da Vinci. Drawing the future, an important exhibition with over fifty works, among which the Codex on the Flight of Birds and the extraordinary Self Portrait

TORINO: The Royal Museums of Torino will host “Leonardo da Vinci. Drawing the future, an important exhibition with over fifty works, among which the Codex on the Flight of Birds and the extraordinary Self Portrait

FLORENCE: Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi will have an exhibition of work by his master, Verrocchio, from 8 March-14 July.

ROME: The show at the Scuderie del Quirinale palace, entitled “La scienza prima della scienza” (‘science before science’), traces the technological and scientific work of da Vinci and reflects on how “the myth of Leonardo” was developed. The exhibition runs until June 30th and tickets are €15.00. Admission is free for under-18s.

In italiano (Livello B1)

Leggi il testo e sostituisci i verbi all’infinito con lo stesso verbo coniugato al passato prossimo o all’imperfetto.

Leonardo da Vinci (nascere) |       | a Vinci nel 1452, (essere) |       | figlio illegittimo di un notaio e di una contadina, ma (crescere) |       | e (studiare)|       | in casa del padre.
Già a 10 anni (cominciare) |       | il suo apprendistato nella bottega di Andrea del Verrocchio, a Firenze. Il maestro rimase, fin da subito, impressionato da alcuni disegni del piccolo Leonardo.
(Rimanere) |       | alcuni anni a Firenze dove (avere)|       | la possibilità di avvicinarsi alla Corte di Lorenzo il Magnifico. Nel 1582 però (partire) |       | per Milano e (essere)|       | ospite di Ludovico il Moro. Leonardo era arrivato a Milano come pittore ma in poco tempo (farsi) |       | conoscere anche come genio in molte altre discipline. E’ stato in questo periodo che (dipingere) |       | La Dama con l’ermellino e L’ultima cena.


Leonardo (essere) 9) |       | spesso accusato di essere “omo sanza lettere” (uomo senza cultura) perché non (conoscere) |       | il greco e (conoscere) |       | poco il latino, ma si (difendere) 12) |       | sempre ricordando che lui tirava fuori il sapere dall’esperienza e non dalle parole degli altri.
Quando Milano (essere) 13) |       | occupata dai francesi, Leonardo (cominciare) 14) |       | a viaggiare per altre varie città italiane: Venezia, Mantova, Firenze, Roma.


Probabilmente (essere) |       | proprio durante i suoi viaggi che (cominciare) 29) |       | a dipingere il suo quadro più famoso: la Gioconda. Leonardo porterà sempre con sé questo dipinto.
Nel 1517 (trasferirsi) 30) |       | definitivamente in Francia, alla corte di Francesco I.
Leonardo (morire) 31) |       | il 2 maggio del 1519.

Sul passato prossimo e imperfetto vedi anche:

Rita Levi Montalcini

Passato prossimo e imperfetto

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