Fodor's Expert Review Pinacoteca Ambrosiana
Cardinal Federico Borromeo, one of Milan's native saints, founded this picture gallery in 1618 with the addition of his personal art collection to a bequest of books to Italy's first public library. The core works of the collection include such treasures as Caravaggio's Basket of Fruit, Raphael's monumental preparatory drawing (known as a "cartoon") for The School of Athens, which hangs in the Vatican, and Leonardo da Vinci's Portrait of a Musician. The highlight for many is Leonardo's Codex Atlanticus, which features thousands of his sketches and drawings. In addition to works by Lombard artists are paintings by Botticelli, Luini, Titian, and Jan Brueghel. A wealth of charmingly idiosyncratic items on display include 18th-century scientific instruments and gloves worn by Napoléon at Waterloo. Access to the library, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, is limited to researchers who apply for entrance tickets.