The Machines of Leonardo da Vinci Museum is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Inaugurated by Gabriele Niccolai in 2005, the exhibit showcases Niccolai’s collection of interactive models built from Leonardo’s da Vinci’s designs. With 52 of its 300-plus handmade models on display, the Niccolai Collection is the largest private collection of Leonardo’s machines in the world. Visitors are guided through the interactive exhibit with labs, videos and 3D reconstructions in multiple languages.
The museum is divided in four sections – mechanical projects; hydraulic, civic and war engineering; anatomy; and flight machines – and it is situated next to the historic Caffè Michelangiolo. This is where the first coffees were served to the Macchiaioli painters in the nineteenth century, whose revolutionary movement began right here in this bar. The Florentine group included famous painters such as Telemaco Signorini, Giovanni Fattori, Adriano Cecioni, Silvestro Lega and Giuseppe Abbati.