Christmas in Italy – The DaVinci Museum

Christmas in Italy – The DaVinci Museum

In keeping with the tradition of adventure, Sarah and I went on a big trip for Christmas and New Years!

This year, we met up with Sarah’s family in Italy, traveling to Rome and Florence; not quite a perfect midpoint for everyone, but it was close enough. And, also, you know. Rome. Florence. Amazing!

Please forgive me for some of these being a bit out of order… the posts are organized somewhat chronologically… but also organized by theme and location.  Some may not be exactly in chronological order, so for reference please see the initial summary post, which has a complete day-by-day, blow-by-blow account of the adventure.



Saturday, 30-Dec-2017


As we wandered the city on Saturday, we unexpectedly stumbled across one of the spots that I’d earmarked for later in the week – the Leonardo DaVinci museum. Since we didn’t have any specific plans for the morning, our original plan of seeing The Duomo being derailed by sold-out tickets, we stopped in to explore.

This museum was a bit smaller than the large art galleries that we’d been seeing so far – it was honestly mostly luck that we noticed it at all, catching sight of the small placard on the wall and by the street corner. As a specialized museum it didn’t seem to draw in the same crowds as the Uffizi or Academie… but we quickly learned (to my joy and everyone else’s slight concern) that this “specialized” museum was actually targetted directly to the 4 year old in me.


Seriously. I was transported to when I was little, giggling and playing with tinker toys, legos, and rocks and ropes in the woods. This museum was a playhouse for me, and I never wanted to leave.


The DaVinci museum was, obviously, dedicated to Leonardo DaVinci, but specifically to interactive recreations of his mechanical inventions. Where Galileo was known for advancing science, DaVinci advanced engineering, using known principles in unexpected ways to solve countless problems faced in Renaissance life. And this museum was full of those solutions… most of which I could play with.

So, I stayed and giggled and acted like a giddy toddler on Christmas morning.

I ended up staying a fair while after everyone else had headed out – going through each individual project, seeing how each one solved a specific problem in a novel way, and trying to somehow absorb Leonardo’s ingenuity by touching his creations.

The picture gallery included has snapshots of almost everything in the museum, but a few standouts that bear mentioning:

  • A workout machine. You know those Cybex machines that you find in gyms? Leonardo created one purely to study human motion, and which muscles were activated by which actions.
    Sarah and I got a quick workout in.
  • A hydraulic saw. Using a water-wheel for power, this was effectively the precursor to present-day lumber mills, automatically loading, advancing, and cutting trees down for lumber.
  • An underwater breathing apparatus. Not a SCUBA kit, technically, but this would allow divers to breath underwater by pumping air through a suit.

Short version – Ben could not even. Continued not-evening even after everyone else had left. Bought a book on not being able to even, and reads it every so often. Still cannot even to this day.

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