Nomad by Trade

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Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Venice, Italy

The Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Venice

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Located just a short walk from the most popular tourist spots in Venice, the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum is an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours of hands-on fun. Da Vinci invented so many incredible things – like ball bearings that are still used in machinery today – and this museum brings them to life with wooden recreations that you can operate yourself.

The first floor of the museum contains several replicas of da Vinci’s most famous works of art with descriptions and information about their significance. You can also see some of his handwritten manuscripts. I passed through these displays pretty quickly because I was anxious to get up to the hands-on portion of things.

Manuscript at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Venice, Italy

Before I left this gallery, I waited in line for a few minutes for a virtual reality exhibit. I had no idea what was actually being played in the headsets, but like a tourist, I saw a line and I stood in it. It wasn’t all bad – I got to watch a couple short movies about da Vinci’s life while I was waiting. I’m not much of a video person, so I usually pass by those kinds of things.

The VR line was slow-moving because there were only two sets, but I thought it was a cool experience. It introduced you to a couple of da Vinci’s inventions – the precursor to the machine gun and a wooden tank. The tank was never constructed during his lifetime, but the VR reconstruction took you inside of it and showed how it, along with his rapid fire gun, could be used in an assault on an enemy.

Inside the tank Leonardo da Vinci invented

The last stop before heading upstairs was a mirror room that he designed so that he could observe his subject from all angles without having to move around. It’s kind of fun to play around in, and I totally support making elaborate inventions to minimize movement.

Mirrored room in the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Venice, Italy

This is more versions of me than the world needs.

Hands-on activities at the da Vinci museum

The best part of the da Vinci museum is located upstairs. The whole second floor (or first in European terms) is full of wooden reconstructions of da Vinci’s designs. Not all of them are intended to be played with, but let’s face it, the coolest ones are. I spent most of my time at the museum playing with the various inventions, and it was one of my favorite things that I did in Venice.

Flying machine at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Venice, Italy

Kids (and fun adults) can assemble a special portable bridge da Vinci designed, among other cool building activities. This would definitely be one of the best things to do with kids in Venice.

Portable bridge invented by Leonardo da Vinci - Top things to do in Venice, Italy

This automated hammer was one of my favorites. The disk with the notch in it is spun by the crank and as it gets wider, the hammer is raised. Once the notch comes back around, it causes the hammer to drop. I’m terrible at explaining this. Just watch the video.

Other fun things included the prototype flywheel and ball bearings. I mean ball bearings are used in your car today. They’re in your desk chair at work. They’re everywhere, and these original wooden ones were invented by Leonardo DaVinci.

Practical information for visiting the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Venice

Here’s all of the info you need in order to plan your visit.

Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Venice, Italy

Getting there

The Leonardo da Vinci museum is located near the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the Santa Lucia train station. The nearest vaporetto stop is San Toma. It’s less than a 5-minute walk from there.

Admission

At the time of my visit in January 2018, admission was 8 euros for adults. Children 6 and up were 5 euros.

Hours

Da Vinci museum hours vary by season. Check the hours before planning a visit.

Check out these other great things to do in Italy:

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The Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Venice, Italy is full of his inventions and gives visitors a chance to play with them. See a machine gun, tank, ball bearings, automated hammer, and more. #Venice | #Italy | #DaVinci | Things to do in Venice | Venice museums | Family activities in Venice | What to do in Venice

The Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Venice, Italy is full of his inventions and gives visitors a chance to play with them. See a machine gun, tank, ball bearings, automated hammer, and more. #Venice | #Italy | #DaVinci | Things to do in Venice | Venice museums | Family activities in Venice | What to do in Venice

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5 Comments

  1. Oh this is great, I’m heading back to Venice soon, having been a couple of times but over a decade ago since the last trip. We didn’t go here but I think I’d really enjoy it, he was such an incredible man, so many fields of expertise!

  2. Sophie

    Whoa! I just went to a similar traveling exhibit about DiVinci’s inventions here in Galveston. It wasn’t as extensive or cool, but still cool!

  3. While I’m not a big science nerd I love to find museums like this. The Galileo Museum in Florence is kind of like this with a few hands on things. Great find and nice post.

  4. I’ve been to Venice multiple times and never realized this was there. Shoot, it looks like I need to go back to visit this museum! 🙂 It would be so fun to learn more about this amazing pioneer!

  5. Wow! I had no idea this was in Venice. Great article. I love hands-on museums. I have been to the Leonardo da Vinci museum in Florence and loved it. It looks like the two museums are similar.

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