Housed in an early sixteenth-century Olivetan monastery, the "Leonardo da Vinci" National Museum is the largest science and technology museum in Italy and is spread over 40,000m2.
The museum collections - initially set up only in the Edificio Monumentale and then also in the Naval, Air and Railway pavilions - illustrate the evolutions in science and technology starting from the era of Leonardo da Vinci.
The collection of historical models by Leonardo was created to celebrate the fifth centenary of his birth and the working models on display were constructed on the basis of da Vinci's manuscripts. Leonardo's drawings were not limited to design projects for new machines but were also adjustments of existing works, plus, proposals for upgrading objects and also nature studies.
The historic layout of the Leonardo Gallery, where the exhibition of models is enhanced by a series of drawings related to the great scientist’s various interests, is extended by a workshop where visitors can experiment with some of the interactive models to understand how they actually work and they can also try out the artistic techniques used in the Renaissance.
The collections and interactive laboratories are now organized in Departments: Materials, Transports, Energy, Communications, Leonardo Arte & Science, New Frontiers, Science for young children. A total of thirteen interactive workshops, related to the museum’s permanent collections, have developed over the years to enable visitors to experience science and understand the technology first-hand.
The fascinating S-506 Enrico Toti submarine. Specialist guides are available for visiting inside.
The Museum conserves a fragment of moon rock collected in the Taurus-Littrow Valley on the last Apollo mission, donated to the Italian Government by President Nixon.
The aerial screw model devised by Leonardo with which, centuries ahead of his time, the eclectic inventor hypothesised the potential of the propeller: it is impossible to observe the design and not see the antecedent of the helicopter in all the axes and oilcloths.
The famous Foucault pendulum, the simple device conceived as an experiment by the nineteenth-century French physicist to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth.