Château du Clos Lucé

This museum is dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian mastermind whose ideas have contributed greatly to the world as we know it today. He is considered to have spent the last few years of his life in this stately mansion, working on his ideas free from the prying eyes of the Church in Rome who didn’t like the fact that he did dissections on corpses to learn more about human anatomy. As a kid, I remember reading a non-fiction book on his life, his art, his inventions and designs. I was greatly impressed by the fact that he would often write back to front, as though his writing was reflected in a mirror, to disguise his ideas from others who would have liked to claim them as their own. I spent a total of about 3 days of my holidays practicing this strange way of writing before I grew bored of and decided to return to the more practical standard form.

The museum has a great selection of models created from the original drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, and you can see how these forms and ideas have been incorporated into many of the machines we use today. There was such a wide array of designs: flying machines, bridges, bicycles, pumps and pistons, automatic canons, even a prototype for an early tank. I loved his staircase designs: often spiral in form, they were constructed so that you could pass each other going up and down without ever meeting.

The garden surrounding the museum was also impressive, despite the winter cold. There was lots to see- old buildings, life size bridges designed by Leonardo, larger scale models and, my favourite, a sideways swing!

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