Leonardo conquers the Milanese and the tourists: a record number of visitors at exhibitions and initiatives

More than a start, it was a sprinter’s run: “Leonardo ever seen” – the program of exhibitions and initiatives, co-produced by the Municipality of Milan and Civita and set in the Castello Sforzesco – has collected 25 thousand visitors in just the first two weeks from the day of the inauguration, on May 16. But the race has continued also in the following months so that a number of days with extended hours had to be foreseen. By now every first Sunday of the month, the opening will be extended until 19.30 (ticket office closes at 18.30) with an entrance fee reduced to 5 euros. The hours’ extension has also been granted for the next Saturdays August 10 and 24, with a reduced ticket starting  from 17 hours.

Today, visitors to the Castello Sforzesco have exceeded the number of 110 thousand also thanks to “Leonardo ever seen,” which wins the title of the  most visited exhibition in Italy after the Biennale currently held in Venice. To be precise, in May, the entrances to the Castle were 52,534; in June, the wave settled to 41,927 visitors and “dwindled” to 34,079 in July. But with an increase compared to the same months of the previous year by 11.5 per cent (May); 27.97 per cent (June) and 11.72 percent (July).

Also the inputs in all other municipal museums were up 3 percent in July and this means that there are many more tourists in the city attracted certainly by the communication that the Municipality has done to promote the year of the fifth centenary of the death of Leonardo. A plan that devised the distribution of 30 thousand brochures in hotel, library, info-points, theaters, cinemas, schools, touristic bodies and on the Milan-Paris TGV train. Posts on Facebook and Instagram and a promotion campaign with Area, Sports, Tourism, Quality of life, and Ds Communication through totem, posters, screens, banners on the web, BikeMi, airports. Also positive the return of the tour made in the winter months at the international press of New York, London, Paris, Berlin and Dubai: in France alone it yielded the publication of 26 services, including television, to a total audience estimated at over 100 thousand readers/listeners and an advertising equivalent of 430 thousand euro.

In short, despite the competition of the mega-exhibition that from October 24 will be opened at the Louvre museum, holder of the world’s largest collection of paintings by Leonardo, Milan didn’t let itself «steal» the anniversary of the fifth centenary succeeding, so it seems, to communicate the importance of the discovery of the preparatory drawings come to light on the walls of the Sala delle asse in the Castello Sforzesco, the only absolute scientific news of these international celebrations. No longer able to aspire to loans of works, already requested for the exhibitions dedicated to Leonardo organized in 2015 on the occasion of Expo, Milan has focused mainly on the media (as also, in part, on the Sala delle asse) and on the idea of the Culture Department of a program in which to aggregate public and private initiatives to reach critical mass. Many of the proposals have turned out to be spurious, and ended up with watering down the name of Leonardo in all the sauces, but others have worked fairly good like for example “Leonardo & Warhol” at the Crypt of St. Sepulchre, extended to September 15, which has so far collected more than 30 thousand visitors. Also at the Ambrosiana, the inputs related to the Leonardo initiatives, from the beginning of the year, amount to over 70 thousand, a good number for a museum little known by the Milanese themselves, but which could, however, also count on the appeal of the restoration of the cartoon for the “School of Athens” by Raphael.

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