The two buildings housing the Leonardo Museum, Palazzina Uzielli and the Conti Guidi Castle, in Vinci contain one of the broadest and most original collections devoted to Leonardo the engineer, the architect and the scientist, and to the history of Renaissance technology in general.
The machines and the models exposed – which straddle various different branches of study, just as Leonardo’s insights themselves were extensive and versatile – are presented with precise references to the artist’s sketches and hand-written notes, further supported by digital animations and interactive software.
The Leonardo route starts from the evocative Piazza dei Guidi, redeveloped to a project by Mimmo Paladino, onto which Palazzina Uzielli, the original site of the museum, opens.
The first floor houses the sectors devoted to building site machinery, textile technology and mechanical clocks.
The first room illustrates Leonardo’s further elaborations on Brunelleschi’s drawings for the construction of the cupola of Florence Cathedral. The young Leonardo, who was apprenticed
to Verrocchio’s workshop, was deeply impressed by the complexity of the machines on that site, where he witnessed the various phases of casting and setting up the large copper ball atop the lantern on the cupola.
The textile technology room illustrates Leonardo’s interest in the production cycle of cloth and shows his ambitious projects aiming to automate the manufacturing cycle.
Da Vinci’s passion for mechanisms is also documented in the mechanical clocks room, where the models of measuring instruments are on show.
The Conti Guidi Castle is home to the second part of the exhibition route. The ground floor rooms of the Mediaeval castle house on the ground floor the sectors devoted to architecture and civil engineering and that on war machines, with Leonardo’s studies on the techniques for casting cannon.
The model of the large flapping wing frames the Gallery where the flight sector is located, showing the most famous models of Leonardo’s mechanical works and the mechanisms and tools sector, in particular the devices designed by Leonardo to swing church bells.
On the first floor we come to the sala del Podesta with the large revolving annular-platform crane, designed by Brunelleschi for the construction of the cupola of Florence Cathedral, which reminds us of the history of building site machinery illustrated in Palazzina Uzielli.
The visitor then comes to the bicycle room, which also contains the model of the self-propelling car, and to the optics room devoted to Leonardo’s interest in physical optics and perspective for the two-dimensional representation of three-dimensional figures.
The water room presents Leonardo’s studies of movement in water, with particular reference to river navigation, a subject dear to Renaissance architects and engineers.
The exhibition route ends with the video room, decorated with models of the solids drawn by Leonardo for the De Divina Proportione by Luca Pacioli, where documentaries on the life and works of Leonardo are shown.
The Leonardo itinerary continues in the Castle tower, with a striking view “from above”. The panoramic terrace which Is open to the public offers a truly wonderful scene, still very similar to that depicted by Leonardo in his famous maps and landscape drawings: on one hand the hills of Montalbano, on the other little Tuscan villages and finally the outline of Monti Pisani, which appeared in the Codex Madrid II.
More Info: www.museoleonardiano.it
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