Discover da Vinci in downtown Bradenton

October 28, 2013 

Discover da Vinci and downtown

If you've ever wanted to see the works of Leonardo da Vinci firsthand, you may think that you need to go to a place like the Louvre in Paris, the Smithsonian in Washington, or da Vinci's very own birthplace, Florence, Italy. However, with the help of the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium and the South Florida Museum, you'll be able to see da Vinci's genius right here in the Bradenton area.

Starting Nov. 15, the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium (1005 1st Ave. W.) will host The Da Vinci Machines Exhibition. Da Vinci Machines is on loan from the Museum of Leonardo da Vinci in Florence and is one of only three such exhibitions in the world. The exhibition will run through mid-April and will showcase more than 60 hand-crafted recreations of Da Vinci's most recognized and influential designs. Three generations of Florentine artisans have tirelessly recreated the ideas and concepts originally produced by the famous inventor and artist.

Presented in four major themes (Military machines, Flying machines, Nautical and the Principles of Mechanics), this will be a draw for anyone with an appreciation for science, history or just sheer creativity. Many of the machines included in the exhibit are based off of designs that were the first of their kind and are considered precursors to their modern day equivalents like the helicopter, hang glider, bicycle and tank.

Many of the designs on display are interactive and include explanatory notes with Leonardo's sketches accompanying them, offering a unique and fascinating view into one of the greatest minds in history. Admission hours for the exhibition are Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. The exhibition is also available for private events and receptions.

Da Vinci Machines is a perfect fit for our community's thriving culture and art scene. The exhibition's partnership with the South Florida Museum offers visitors plenty to do. So purchase a combo ticket and head over to the museum, where you can view a film on da Vinci in the newly renovated planetarium and say hi to Snooty!

We all know November through April offers some of our area's best weather of the year. So when you're done with da Vinci, head outside and check out some of our local art on the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk features 19 pieces of art -- from interactive "Sound Dishes" to Tower Banners and glass art -- created specifically to add another dimension of discovery to the experience. So forget the plane ticket and explore downtown Bradenton instead; you'll find a bit of history and a ton of beauty right in our own backyard.

Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, can be reached at or 941-729-9177, ext. 222. For more information on the Da Vinci Machines Exhibition, visit or

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