Milan is the capital city of the Lombardy region in northern Italy. In the fifteenth century, under the leadership of the House of Sforza, Milan became one of the leading cities of the Italian Renaissance. The city is particularly noted for its architecture, art, and fashion; it is home to the world's largest Gothic cathedral. Lombardy had been under Austrian rule since the early eighteenth century, but 1848 saw the “Five Days” rebellion against Austria in Milan. Following the defeat of Austria by France and Sardinia at the Battle of Solferino in 1859, Lombardy became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia.


Latitude: 45.466586941986
Longitude: 9.190206534695

Timeline of Events Associated with Milan

Date Event Manage

Duke of Milan Hires da Vinci

In 1482, Leonardo left Florence to enter the service of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan. Under Sforza, Leonardo painted, sculpted, and made designs for machinery, weapons, & buildings. He also did several studies on geometry, construction, canals, and architecture, designing "everything from churches to fortresses." Though he did some traveling and advising on other projects during this time, Leonardo lived in Milan and worked for the Duke until his fall from power in 1499.



The Black Death

From 1484 to 1485, the Black Death swept through Milan, where Leonardo was living at the time. Several outbreaks occurred in a short period of time. The narrow and crowded city streets helped with the spread of disease, and in the end, about one third of Milan's population had been killed. It was this devastation that inspired da Vinci to make plans for a better city, and ideal city. Leonardo worked for several years to perfect the designs. The ideal city would have two levels. The lower level would feature a series of canals to be used for transportation of people & goods, it would also be used as a sewage system. The upper level would be the picturesque part of the city, with wide roads and extravagant buildings. Tradesmen and lower class workers would travel on the bottom level, while higher class gentlemen would be on the top roads. Though da Vinci's plans were a detailed and well thought out design for a more sanitary city, they were never put to use, as it would have required a complete rebuild of the city.


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1494 to 1498

Second Italian War

The Second Italian War began when King Louis XII of France pressed his claim on the thrones of Milan and Naples. Louis had a claim to the thrones through his paternal grandmother and in 1499, he invaded Italy. He took Milan, Genoa, and Naples. 

When Duke Lodovico Sforza was overthrown, Leonardo da Vinci fled Milan with his assistant and friend to Venice. In Venice he was employed as a military architect and engineer. He designed methods of defending the city from naval attack. 

Louis was driven out of Naples in 1503 by Spain after a defeat at Cerignola. The battle of Cerignola was the first battle in history won by gunpowder small arms.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Italian Wars.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 4 Mar. 2016,

“Italian War of 1499–1504.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Feb. 2019,

Battle of Cerignola
1499 to 2504

First Italian War

In response to threats from the Republic of Venice and the Kingdom of Naples, Duke Ludovico Sforza of Milan invited France and Spain into Italy to protect Milan. The First Italian War began when Charles VIII, the French King, invaded Italy in 1494 in response to Sforza's request for aid. He took Naples but was driven out by Spain after Italy and Spain created an alliance against him. 

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Italian Wars.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 4 Mar. 2016,

French troops under Charles VIII entering Florence