If you are travelling to Rome this year you are in luck! Last month a fabulous new exhibition opened right around the corner from St Peter’s Basilica all about one of the most famous Italians of all time, Leonardo Da Vinci.
If you’ve already visited the Eternal City, then the unique Leonardo Da Vinci Experience is a wonderful excuse to come back! A perfect place to visit with your kids, adults will be equally enthralled by the life-sized models of Da Vinci’s inventions and full-scale replicas of his paintings. Leonardo Da Vinci’s works are scattered far and wide, from Paris to Florence to Milan. Now you can get the next best thing all in one place!
Who was Leonardo Da Vinci?
Thanks to Dan Brown’s popular book-turned-film The Da Vinci Code, various conspiracies over the Mona Lisa and the presence of Da Vinci’s works across popular culture in general, most people have a rough idea of who Leonardo Da Vinci was. But it’s easy to get in a muddle between the Italian Renaissance ‘Greats’.’ In fact the other day I was strolling through Piazza del Popolo when I overheard a couple of tourists having a chat. The girlfriend turned towards the boyfriend and asked, ‘who was Leonardo Da Vinci?’ My heart sank a little. I was initially buoyed by his response ‘you know, the one who painted the Mona Lisa.’ So far so good, ‘and the Sistine Chapel’… ah! To avoid any social faux pas, here are the basics.
Where was he from?
Leonardo Da Vinci was born in a place called…. Vinci! In Italian da means from, so his name literally translates to Leonardo from Vinci. Vinci is a little town in the Tuscan countryside near to Florence. Today you can still visit Da Vinci’s house, a peaceful oasis where it is easy to see how the Master’s imagination was free to fly.
What was his occupation?
It seems a silly question but Da Vinci is given many titles: including painter, architect, sculptor, scientist, mathematician and inventor. Phew! To simplify things, historians have come up with an umbrella term to describe Da Vinci: The Renaissance Man. Basically he was an expert in everything. Do you remember that kid at school who was top of the class, great at sports and acted, danced and sang? That was Leonardo Da Vinci.
What is he famous for?
You will certainly recognize many of Da Vinci’s paintings. The three most known would have to be:
The Last Supper
The Vitruvian Man
Of his many inventions, he is probably most famous for his prototypes of flying machines. Most of his inventions were only ever on paper, or at most little prototypes. Da Vinci was simply ahead of his time. He did not have the technology and techniques at his disposal to realize the ideas in his head.
Unlike many of Da Vinci’s peers his greatness was recognized during his life. In fact he was a friend of the King of Francis I of France.
Leonardo Da Vinci is widely considered to have possessed one of the most extraordinarily brilliant minds of all time.
Leonardo Da Vinci Experience - what’s all the fuss about?
Ok, so Da Vinci was surely a fascinating man. But is it really worth the trip? After all, the Leonardo Da Vinci Experience doesn’t even contain the artist’s original works.
That said there are many reasons why a trip to the Leonardo Da Vinci Experience really is not to be missed.
1) All under one roof
Perhaps you have been lucky enough to see some of Leonardo Da Vinci’s original works first hand. But unless you are a real enthusiast you are likely to be missing a few off the list- they can seem more elusive than gold dust and each presents it own challenges!
The Last Supper is housed in Milan in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Even if you do happen to visit Milan, getting a ticket is no mean feat. Tickets bought directly on their website are practically permanently sold out, so it is almost always necessarily to go through a secondary seller.
A trip to the Louvre is easy enough- turn up, pay for your ticket and go inside. Many visitors make a beeline for the Mona Lisa. But you might be left a little disappointed. My Grandmother left my Aunt mortified as they stood in front of this invaluable piece of cultural heritage and my Grandmother loudly proclaimed, ‘well, is that it?’ Perhaps not the most discreet way to go about it but she did have a point. The problem is that the Mona Lisa is always swamped with tourists and its almost impossible to get a good view. A mixture of the vastness of the Louvre and the security barriers that force you to stand meters away from the painting itself dwarf the painting and it does feel decidedly tiny.
At the Leonardo Da Vinci Experience you don’t have to travel from city to city, replicas of all Da Vinci’s major works are all in one Museum. What’s more you can get up closer than you can to the originals and without fighting away the same immense crowds, which form in front of the originals.
2) Masterpieces in their own right
Yes, the works inside the museum are not Da Vinci’s originals and nothing can compare. But they’re not exactly cheaply made prints either. The reproductions housed inside the Leonardo Da Vinci Experience are the work of Bottega Artigiana Tifernate, an artist in his own right. In fact they fulfill the standards of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Toursim. Authenticity is also guaranteed as Tifernate used the same techniques and materials as Da Vinci himself.
3) Leonardo’s mind brought to life
For the first time, a grand total of 50 of Da Vinci’s inventions have been realized in life-size form. His sketches have been faithfully followed to create the devices technology in the Renaissance period simply did not allow.
The Leonardo Da Vinci Experience is designed to be an interactive and engaging multimedia experience. There really is no better way to delve inside the mind of this Genius than through this audiovisual journey.
What are you waiting for? Book your trip to Rome today and get to know one of the most intriguing men who has ever lived! Why not enhance your visit in the company of a private guide? Contact Rome Private Guides today and we will be happy to help!