There is no doubting the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci. His move to Milan from Florence at the age of 30 to design military machines was a moment in the life of a man determined to fulfill his potential.
In the 1480s Da Vinci resided in Florence, the city of the Medici family. Patrons of Michelangelo, Botticelli, and dozens of other luminaries at the time. Commissions for high art were ubiquitous and Florence, a humanist city, eager to reintroduce classical culture to it's populace, was at it's height. Milan, on the other hand, was a rather more more pragmatic city, open to experimentation with one eye on the future, a city where cultural shift and change was embraced - ideal for Leonardo's many aspirations and absolutely supportive of his work.
Ludovico il Moro, the Duchy of Milan, was wealthy, modern and industrious but his city was lacking military might. Reinforcements were needed as Milan was still at war with Venice and coveted by most of the rest of Europe. He was very interested in all of Leonardo's war machine models which had real potential to strengthen the city and made no bones about his admiration for Leonardo's artistic prowess - Italian city states were tete-a-tete in a bitter struggle to establish seniority in cultural supremacy and Da Vinci was his secret weapon in every sense. During this Renaissance period, was was viewed as a form of art, therefore Da Vinci was in his element.
When Leonardo arrived in Milan for the first time at the end of the 15th century (he was to return in 1506 to study anatomy), the Sforza family controlled the city and they faced the difficult task of erecting a domed crossing tower above the intersection of the Duomo's nave, chancel and transept. The family requested an audience with Bramante, Francesco di Giorgio Martini, and Da Vinci. Leonardo was living in Corte Vecchia, where Palazzo Reale stands today beside the Duomo, therefore he was in the Cathedral every day assessing the building site. Leonardo made several intricate drawings for the intended domed crossing tower but they never reached the construction phase. Superior plans proposed by court architects Amadeo and Dolcebuono were accepted.
This tours connect travelers with the influence of Leonardo da Vinci in Milan, in the remarkable surroundings of the magnificent Duomo.