SOUTHLAKE, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–April 27, 2006–As the May 19
release of The Da Vinci Code(a) movie approaches, the buzz surrounding
the tale has turned from enthusiastic to fanatical. Whether it’s the
religious controversy created by Dan Brown’s insanely-popular novel or
the A-list actors starring in the film (Tom Hanks and French phenom
Audrey Tautou), The Code has generated more than pop-culture hype. It
has spawned a devoted following of da Vinci “Codies”.
Codies and curious travelers alike are flocking to true-life sites
– like the famed Denon Wing of the Louvre in Paris where the Mona Lisa
gazes past admirers as well as the gardens of the pope’s summer home
outside of Rome. Travelocity’s editors reveal a wealth of ideas for
enthusiasts, from the quintessential hotspots to the lesser known
American highlights. There’s something for everyone – even on a
“For those who want to immerse themselves in the intrigue of The
Code this summer, you can go on an international adventure or stick
close to home,” said Travelocity editor Natasha Carvell. “You don’t
even have to own a passport to schedule a private viewing of da
Vinci’s sketches at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or check out the
only da Vinci painting in the Western hemisphere in DC.”
The Da Vinci Code Essentials:
Paris, France – From the famous opening museum murder scene to our
hero’s night at the famed Ritz Paris hotel, the car chase down the
Champs Elysees to the villain albino monk’s surreptitious search of
Saint-Sulpice, the City of Light plays a major role in both the
dramatic plot of The Code and the creative legacy of the artist. If
the Mona Lisa is a mob scene at the Louvre, sneak away to see other da
Vinci works, including Madonna of the Rocks, Bacchus, Virgin and Child
with St. Anne, and St. John the Baptist.
London, England – Can you find the Holy Grail in London’s Temple
Church? Not likely. But, tracking down da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks
in the National Gallery shouldn’t be nearly as perplexing. Pay
additional homage to The Code at Sir Isaac Newton’s grave in
Westminster Abbey and with a stroll through leafy St. James Park.
Italy – Learn about The Code’s religious backdrop in Vatican City
and relive the book’s intense moments in the shadows of Castel
Gandolfo, the papal retreat outside of Rome. For more Leonardo da
Vinci artwork, travel to Milan where the book’s centerpiece work, The
Last Supper, is on display in the refectory at Convent of Santa Maria
Delle Grazie. Visit Florence where da Vinci completed his first solo
painting, and his Adoration of the Magi, Annunciation, and Baptism of
Christ are on display in the world-famous Uffizi Gallery.
Da Vinci In America:
Washington, DC – The National Gallery of Art is home to the only
painting by Leonardo da Vinci on display in the Western Hemisphere.
Ginevra de’Benci is the artist’s oil-on-wood portrait of a young
Florentine noblewoman around the time of her wedding. In the spirit of
intrigue, there has long been controversy about whether Leonardo
actually painted the work or not (it is now widely accepted that he
did), and the reverse side of the piece has an illustration of a
juniper spring surrounded by a palm and laurel wreath with the phrase
“Beauty Adorns Virtue” in Latin. Could there be another secret message
here? The nation’s capital is also likely to figure prominently in Dan
Brown’s forthcoming novel, The Solomon Key. Learn more about the
city’s secrets at the International Spy Museum in downtown DC.
New York, NY – At 243 Lexington Avenue at 34th Street in
Manhattan, you’ll find the unmarked, 17-story, 133,000 square foot
headquarters of Opus Dei, the controversially devout Catholic sect
which figures prominently in The Da Vinci Code. After admiring the
building’s handiwork and gathering some anti-Code leaflets, head to
the Metropolitan Museum of Art where you can make an appointment with
the Drawings Department to see the da Vinci sketches held in the
museum’s permanent, but not-on-display collection. Or get even more
into the super-sleuth act on one of Watson Adventures’ Murder at the
Met Scavenger Hunts. Warning – these Da Vinci Code-like public hunts
sell out fast!
Grand Rapids, MI – A quiet admiration of Leonardo da Vinci turned
into proactive recreation of his work when Charlie Dent, a pilot and
avid art collector, read a 1977 article about Leonardo’s doomed 1482
attempt to sculpt a 24-foot bronze horse, commissioned by the Duke of
Milan. Dent decided to finish the job. After assembling data from
Leonardo’s sketches, and working with Renaissance scholars to match
the design of the horse to the great artist’s intent, he began work.
While Dent died five years before its completion, the work was
finished by celebrated sculptor Nina Akamu and installed in Milan in
1999. A second cast of Da Vinci’s Horse, appropriately titled The
American Horse, was also made to majestically hold court at the
Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids.
More Da Vinci Destinations: Beyond the famous da Vinci sites or
those here at home, make Dan Brown proud and go on an international
adventure to cities you won’t find included on the standard Code tour
Munich, Germany – The Alte (Old) Pinakothek art museum in Munich
is home to The Madonna with the Carnation, also known as The Virgin
with Flowers, which was once attributed to Leonardo’s tutor. It is now
widely-accepted as one his first independent works.
Krakow, Poland – The Duke of Milan was one of Leonardo’s greatest
patrons and the charming Lady with an Ermine depicts his young
mistress. The work now hangs in Krakow’s Czartoryski Museum after
being seized by the Nazis during WWII, and rediscovered by Allied
troops in Bavaria.
Budapest, Hungary – A highlight of Budapest’s Museum of Fine Arts’
antique sculpture collection is da Vinci’s bronze Equestrian Statue,
sometimes considered one of the last works completed by the great
St. Petersburg, Russia – The Benois Madonna, also known as Madonna
and Child with Flowers has earned special notice and popularity for
its animated depiction of Mary and her child. Long considered one of
Leonardo’s lost works, it was revealed by a private owner in 1909, and
entered St. Petersburg’s Imperial Hermitage Museum in 1914.
Find great last-minute deals to da Vinci-inspired places at
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