Discover a New Leonardo in Milan

“An interesting, beautiful, fun and educational exhibition. Suitable for all ages.”

“As a physics student and art lover, I feel admiration and inspiration.”

“This exhibition has helped me to discover a side to Leonardo that I never knew.”

This is just a snapshot of the glowing feedback from visitors to the fascinating “Il Mondo di Leonardo” exhibition currently taking place at Le Sale del Re in Piazza della Scala.

There’s not much that hasn’t been said about Leonardo da Vinci. He has been classed as the most diversely talented human ever to have lived. The epitome of the word polymath, he was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer. But he is probably best known as the world’s most famous inventor. Even inventions that weren’t his like the helicopter and the bicycle have been attributed to him, but as this must see exhibition proves; the true essence of his work has been overlooked. Until now.

The secret to Leonardo’s success was his immense curiosity coupled with his continuous desire to innovate and invent without fear of failure. The reality is, he had a whole host of failures since many of his projects were in fact unsuccessful like his flying machines which never actually flew, or his Clavi-Viola – the innovative musical instrument which was fully functional yet with the small drawback of its noisy motor, or what about his murals painted with unsuccessful experimental techniques? It’s true, The Last Supper has successfully stood the test of time but sadly it had already faded very soon after Leonardo completed it.

So how did Leonardo become history’s greatest innovator?

For most of his life, Leonardo studied the work of other artists and inventors. He was sent to Milan by the Renaissance’s most famous patron – Lorenzo de’ Medici – in 1482 where he stayed for 17 years. In Milan Leonardo painted, designed a dome for the cathedral and worked on sculptures. He also began reading about war machines from manuscripts and projects by the engineers who came before him; thus providing him with all the scientific and technical basics for military machines like tanks, scythed chariots, bombard cannons, catapults and other devices which Leonardo then copied, studied and attempted to reproduce. In a curious aside, other innovative creations which weren’t conceived by Leonardo found their way into his manuscripts including the bicycle – which was actually drawn hundreds of years later on a page of Leonardo’s Codex Atlanticus – and which became confusingly listed as one of his inventions.

However, the real problem is that until now, only a small part of his manuscripts have been studied and presented, giving priority to the more artistic aspects and selecting only the most easily recognisable machines. The world has only seen the tip of the iceberg as the pages of the staggering six thousand manuscripts which have been discovered, contain the real corpus of Leonardo’s inventions.

And so the academics and Leonardo devotees Mario Taddei and Edoardo Zanon started with a clean slate, giving life to a new research philosophy which has brought about the rediscovery of the real Leonardo da Vinci, far more mysterious and surprising than the world has seen until now.

The results of this immense project are on show in Leonardo 3 – Il Mondo di Leonardo. The exhibition has received extraordinary success (95 thousand tickets sold in 4 months) and has been extended to 28th February 2014. Visitors have the unique opportunity to see world premieres and meticulous reconstructions of the Clavi-Viola, the Mechanical Lion, the Robot-Car, the Robot Knight, the Multiple Barrel Cannon, the Mechanical Submarine, the Time Machine, the Flying Machine of Milan, the Magic Cube and the Mechanical Dragonfly.

Il-Mondo-LeonardoFlying Machine

IlMondoDiLeonardo---libellula2_10x15Mechanical Dragonfly

The entire exhibition features interactive 3-D displays including a premiere of the complete edition of the Codex Atlanticus with over 1100 digital pages. The interactive displays are also in English (as is the audioguide), opening this wonderful exhibition up to an international audience.

The following comments were written in the exhibition’s guestbook:

“Finally an exhibition that’s fun and engaging even for young children”.

“Lots of fun: it was like becoming a child again at 30.”

“Even my 5 year old grandson enjoyed it!”

As the exhibition’s popularity and positive feedback proves, it doesn’t matter if you’re a six year old child or an 80 year old grandparent, what’s important is a desire to observe, learn and innovate, just like Leonardo da Vinci himself did throughout his life.

Lite Cantor


“Leonardo3 – Il Mondo di Leonardo”

Exhibition featuring discoveries, world premieres and interactive multimedia displays

Until 28th February 2014

Open on 15th August

Piazza della Scala, Entrance Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Open daily from 10.00 to 23.00 including holidays

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