Grand Re-Opening of The Leonardo Museum!


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Saturday 22nd May 2010

Museum renovation

The Leonardo Museum in Vinci,Florence holds one of the largest and most original collections of machines and models by Leonardo the inventor, technologist and engineer, and it re-opens to the public with new productions and a renovated museum. After a series of important changes, started in 2004, with the opening of the exhibition centre Palazzina Uzielli and followed by the opening of the Piazza de' Guidi by Mimmo Paladino which marks the entry - the renovation project of the Leonardo Museum comes to an end with the reopening of the Castle of the Guidi Counts and all exhibitions to date, made completely accessible. The operation, co-financed by the Tuscan Region and the municipality of Vinci, with the support of Ente Casa di Risparmio di Firenze - has affected both the architectural renovation of the ancient fortress of the Guidi Counts and the collection of models in the museum.

Disabled access to the Castle of the Counts Guidi

The imposing medieval fortress in the centre of the village of Vinci, Leonardo's original core of the museum since 1953, has undergone a significant structural intervention, led by Jaff Studio of Florence, which made possible the architectural barrier removal and adjustment of local to international museum standards of exhibition venues. After planned maintenance to the cover the fortress, designed and directed by the Superintendent of Monuments of Florence, the project involved the installation of an elevator cable in the walls, able to unite the level land with two floors of the fortress where the museum is spread mainly. The castle will be fully accessible through the entrance to Piazza Guido Masi and is preparing to host exhibitions of great prestige thanks to the installation of modern alarm, air conditioning and light systems.

The Medieval Tower
The restoration of the Castle of the Guidi Counts, will even affect the medieval tower that rises from the body of the castle high into the sky. A point of observation and control for centuries, the top of the tower offers a panoramic terrace and a spectacular view: on one side there is Montalbano with its slopes covered with woods and groves, on the other the typical Tuscan landscape of medieval villages, immortalized by many medieval and Renaissance paintings, in addition to the profile of the Monti Pisani, drawn repeatedly by Leonardo da Vinci in the Codex Madrid II and other manuscripts. Adequately equipped with optical instruments, the terrace becomes the location for sightseeing on an original Tuscan landscape and a place of astronomical observation at night. An enchanting experience "from above" after visiting the museum.

The New Collection
The historical collection of machines has been enhanced with new sections and is renewed with a presentation of Leonardo's studies that are more rigorous, comprehensive and contextualized in the Renaissance. The aim of the museum, which parallels the reconstruction of models of machines with digital animation and interactive applications, is to offer not only insight into mechanical technology of Leonardo, but also scientific-technical studies, architecture and civil engineering . And not just Leonardo, but of artists, architects and engineers of his time, so as to provide a historically accurate presentation of debt, merits and originality of the 'genius' of Vinci.
The museum project, edited and managed by the management of Museo Leonardiano, saw the close involvement of historians (of science and architecture), engineers and technicians of digital modelling, as well as research institutions and university departments, national and international including the decisive contribution of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Technologies of Florence.

The exhibition begins in Palazzina Uzielli with the sections of construction machinery, textile machinery manufacturing mechanical watches and then moves on to the nearby headquarters of the Castello dei Conti Guidi (the Castle of the Guidi Counts) where most of the new productions are placed. The restored medieval rooms are on the ground floor with the sections on architecture, civil engineering and machinery of war with the studies of Leonardo on the techniques of fusion of artillery. In the cover letter to Ludovico il Moro, written to find credit as an engineer in one of the major courts of the Italian peninsula, Leonardo is said to be able to carry mortars and passavolanti of "beautiful and useful shapes, holes in common use." Without being able to tell if Leonardo was never directly involved in active military foundry, his handwritten notes and drawings illustrate the technique for the casting of artillery, from which, thanks to today's digital animation techniques, it’s possible to reconstruct the stages of the melting process of a gun made in the late fifteenth century.

The model of the large flying wing is the setting for the section of the flight, accommodated in the Gallery which displays the most popular models of mechanics such as Leonardo's flying machine (also available in the version with mechanical propulsion) , the study of a wing and the famous screw air considered the prototype of the modern helicopter. In the gallery you can also see the tools and moving parts: the clamp for oil, the drill, the fan, the equalizer and, in particular, the mechanisms for the movement of bells designed by Leonardo in the Atlantic Codex and the Codex Madrid I extraordinarily similar to those in the fifteenth century cathedral bells St.Etienne of Metz in France.

On the first floor in the Sala del Podestà, where a splendid polychrome terracotta of 1523 attributed to Giovanni della Robbia is kept, a large crane with a revolving circular platform is reproduced in 1:2 scale, designed by Brunelleschi for the construction of the Dome Santa Maria del Fiore, which refers to the history of construction equipment, extensively documented in the halls of Uzielli. The visitor then arrives in front of the model of Leonardo's bicycle, and with it also a curious question: 1818 or 1503? The unique design of the bicycle, discovered between two sheets of the Atlantic Codex that had been glued together until 1965, has always been debated. Some consider that the model has been designed around 1503 by a pupil of Leonardo, while some critics argued that the plan is instead of the modern era, or even a twin recently completed in the period of restoration of the 60 'of Novecento. In this case the invention of the bicycle could only go back to the first model in 1818 by the German Baron Karl von Drais to Sauerbon.
In the same room as the bicycle is the model of self-propelled craft cart, a self-propelled wagon driven by a spring-loaded device known as "the car of Leonardo".

The Hall of optics shows Leonardo's interest in documenting the physical optics and studies undertaken to resolve problems related to the pictorial representation of three-dimensional figures. Among the contents of the hall are Leonardo's experiments on the phenomena of refraction and reflection, on the use of 'lentil' glass to enhance vision and even a dark room where you test the effect of the projection image upside down.

With the reopening on the 22nd May 2010, the Leonardo Museum presents to the general public a documentation centre where the experience of Leonardo as an engineer, architect and scientist, and more generally the technique of the Renaissance, which are documented with scientific rigor and breadth through a variety of communication modes and the many activities by the Educational Department of the Museum.

Saturday May 22nd 2010 at 17:00 Vinci, Piazza del Castello
Opening and extraordinary visits Saturday, May 22nd (from the opening ceremony ) and Sunday, May 23rd free admission and free guided tours. Saturday, May 22nd extended opening hours until 23.00

For more information visit

Intercommunal Tourist Office Telephone:0571 568012 E-mail:


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