Renaissance Rivals: Leonardo and Michelangelo — an amazing new tour from Orient-Express and the National Gallery, London16th August, 2011 - Inspired by the National Gallery’s forthcoming Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, and as part of a series of escorted tours in association with the National Gallery, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is launching an exciting new itinerary from London to Milan and Florence, which will open up the wonderful worlds of Leonardo and Michelangelo to anyone with an interest in art and a passion for travel.
Commencing on 16 May 2012, the 9-day itinerary will enable guests to see some of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo’s finest works in the cities of their creation. An expert from London’s National Gallery will accompany the tour, bringing alive the magic of the Renaissance while shedding light on two of its most influential artists.
The journey begins with an exclusive viewing of the British Museum’s remarkable collection of drawings by Leonardo and Michelangelo — which are not normally on show to the public — followed by a visit to the National Gallery, London to see Leonardo’s poignant altarpiece painting, The Virgin of the Rocks, together with the Gallery’s two paintings by Michelangelo.
Following a night at London’s Goring Hotel, guests board the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in London for the overnight journey to Milan, where Leonardo da Vinci was court painter to Duke Lodovico Sforza in the late 1480s and 1490s. The two-day trip allows passengers ample time to soak up the train’s richly artistic interiors, from the beautifully polished marquetry to the Lalique glass panels.
In Milan, the first breathtaking treat brought to life by the National Gallery guide is Leonardo da Vinci’s famous fresco in Milan’s 15th-century Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie: The Last Supper. This dramatic work takes up a whole wall of the church and despite suffering the ravages of time, has recently been beautifully restored to glow with renewed light in its refectory setting.
A visit to Milan’s Ambrosiana Library to see Leonardo’s Codex Atlanticus follows. Leonardo wasn’t just an artist, but a scientist, engineer, anatomist, musician, geologist and mathematician, and The Codex Atlanticus, a magnificent 12-volume collection of drawings and writings, displays his multifarious interests, with subjects as diverse as musical instruments, flying machines and botany.
The impressive fortification of the Castello Sforzesco is the home of further treasures, including Michelangelo’s great Rondanini Pietà, one of the artist’s very last works which was began when he was in his 70s and was left unfinished at his death.
Guests can also visit the Brera Art Gallery, which houses Milan’s most important art collection, including works by Raphael, Piero della Francesca and Caravaggio.
Dinner at Savini, one of the city’s most famous restaurants, is included and there may be the opportunity to attend a performance at world-renowned opera house, La Scala.
After three nights in Milan, guests travel to the Renaissance city of Florence. Three nights at the beautiful Villa San Michele hotel, nestled in the tranquil hills outside the city, will help replenish energy reserves. The National Gallery guide accompanies guests to the Franciscan church, Chiesa di Ognissanti, of which the star attraction is Ghirlandaio’s beautiful fresco depicting The Last Supper, a work that influenced Leonardo, who painted his own Last Supper over a decade later.
More enlightening sojourns follow: a tour of the Accademia Gallery, where Michelangelo’s original David is housed; a trip to Santa Maria Novella, the magnificent 13th-century church, which boasts frescoes by Ghirlandaio and his young apprentice Michelangelo; and a visit to the world-famous Uffizi Gallery.
Throughout the trip, there is free time to explore the cities at leisure, and a variety of meals both in local restaurants and at the hotel are provided. Guests return by plane from Florence.
The price per person starts from £7950.
Reservations www.orient-express.com or tel: 0845 077 2222
For further media information or images contact Anna Nash or Emma Wylde at Orient-Express Public Relations on 0207 921 4050/4064 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Notes to Editor:
Orient-Express and the National Gallery, London formed an association in 2010 to offer a series of unique escorted journeys to Venice and Paris which commenced in April 2011, and saw these two great names brought together for the first time creating unique voyages, hosted by an expert guide from the National Gallery.
Orient-Express, (NYSE: OEH, www.orient-express.com) the name behind an elite collection of travel experiences, first came into being in 1883 as one of the world’s most exciting and indulgent train journeys. Today that evocative name also embraces hotels, cruises and other luxury rail adventures in 24 countries, across five continents. The Company has offered exceptional luxury travel experiences since 1976, when it first purchased Hotel Cipriani in Venice and then shortly afterwards, recreated the celebrated Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, linking London, Paris and Venice, along with other European cities. Today, the company owns or part-owns and manages 49 businesses, 40 of which are highly acclaimed hotels, each unique in style, from the Mount Nelson in Cape Town and Rio’s Copacabana Palace, to the Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg and Maroma Resort & Spa on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. There are six luxury tourist trains, two river cruise operations and ‘21’, one of New York’s most iconic restaurants.