Biblioteca Pinacoteca Accademia Ambrosiana

Address: Piazza Pio XI 2, Milan, 20123, Italy
Telephone: 02 806 921

- Expensive


See a real Da Vinci Codex at Milan's oldest museum.

Named after St Ambrose – the patron saint of the city of Milan, this is one of the city’s oldest libraries, founded by Cardinal Federico Borromeo in 1607 and open to the public since 1609. Among its priceless papers and manuscripts are the world’s most important collection of Leonardo da Vinci papers, the heavily illustrated Codex Atlanticus.

While the collection is undoubtedly extremely precious, looking at old books isn’t normally terribly exciting to those who are not scholars, but the Ambrosiana is a stunning building with mosaic walls and floors and is also home to one of the city’s finest art galleries. This is the oldest museum in the city, open to the public since 1618, filled with masterworks such as Raphael’s cartoon for 'School of Athens' fresco; Caravaggio’s 'Basket of fruit'; Botticelli’s 'Madonna con Bambino e tre angeli '. It also has many of Leonardo’s science and technology drawings and even a pair of white leather gloves worn by Napoleon at Waterloo.

Value for money

Price advice

Tickets cost 15 euros or 20 euros if you include the Bramante Sacristy, plus a 1.50-euro advance reservation to see the Atlantic Codex.

Expert tips

Recommended for

  • Backpackers / Students
  • Culture vultures
  • First-time travellers
  • Mature travellers
  • Seasoned travellers
  • Education
  • Sightseeing
  • Art