Pinacoteca Ambrosiana

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Pinacoteca Ambrosiana

Milan
Italy

Much to the appreciation of art lovers who waited through the late 1990s for the museum to reopen, this exquisite collection is housed in newly restored galleries. The collection focuses on treasures from the 15th through 17th centuries: An Adoration by Titian, Raphael's cartoon for his School of Athens in the Vatican, Botticelli's Madonna and Angels, Caravaggio's Basket of Fruit (his only still life), and other stunning works hang in a series of intimate rooms.

Notable (or infamous) among the paintings is Portrait of a Musician, attributed to Leonardo but, according to many scholars, of dubious provenance; if it is indeed a Leonardo, the haunting painting is the only portrait of his to hang in an Italian museum. The adjoining Biblioteca Ambrosiana, open to scholars only except for special exhibitions, houses a wealth of Renaissance literaria, including the letters of Lucrezia Borgia and a strand of her hair. The most notable holdings, though, are Leonardo's Codice Atlantico, 1,750 drawings and jottings the master did between 1478 and 1519. These and the library's other volumes, including a rich collection of medieval manuscripts, are frequently put on view to the public; at these times, an entrance fee of 9€ ($11) allows entrance to both the library and the art gallery.

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