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Art & Entertainment

A visit to Italy’s biggest Science and Technology Museum

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A visit to the Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia isn’t the ordinary visit one would expect. From the early history of technological advances in Italy to the latest frontiers, it informs the visitors about the scientific wonders as well as sheds light on Leonardo Da Vinci’s work through a dedicated exhibition. It’s a symphony of art and technology combined bringing out a truly memorable experience.

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the National Museum of Science and Technology located in San Vittore, Milan. It’s the largest Science and Technology Museum in Italy and one of the most important ones worldwide. The trip was inspired by one of my course professors at Bocconi University suggesting us to visit the exhibition to get new perspectives on technology that would come in handy for our upcoming course project.  

The tour starts off with a visit to the telecommunications exhibition which offers an overview of the milestones of this fascinating history. It takes on a journey to help us find our way among the latest digital innovations that lead to the new era of Information and Communication Technology. As we move, we enter the air transport exhibition with different aircrafts hanging. Not many people are aware that the Lombardy region was one of the most significant places of major experimentation in the aeronautical field and a couple of civil aircrafts on display give a glimpse into the first attempts at making aircraft a common means of transportation. It also offers curious experiments of the past, such as the convertiplane, an aero plane that takes off and lands like a helicopter. There are further exhibitions dedicated to early history of Italy’s iron, steel, foundry, aluminum, and energy industry and how they evolved over time. 

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Next up is the main attraction which is the exhibition dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. The exposition presents the figure of Da Vinci as an exceptional man of his time once compared to his contemporaries, emphasizing his unique traits and magnitude of his thought. The exhibition possesses around 130 unique models built by examining and interpreting Leonardo’s drawings. The museum path follows both chronological and thematic criteria and leads the visitor to immerse themselves in the world of the Renaissance through the different fields of study and research to which Leonardo dedicated himself. From the training in Verrocchio workshop in Florence to the thought of maturity that dwells on the idea of a cosmos governed by universal laws, passing through military engineering projects it covers them all. Also on display are the technical solutions studied to improve working and production tools during his first stay in Milano, the flight studies inspired by birds’ anatomy, the observation of the Lombardy territory and his influence in regional painting of the late Renaissance. 

The exhibition on space presents fascinating and original objects such as the Moon Rock which as the name suggests was collected in 1972 by astronauts during the Apollo 17 on Moon. It is a stone of immense value with a relevant symbol of human passion towards exploration and a quest for uncovering scientific challenges. The museum also houses the Vega launcher which was developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), divided into 4 stages and able to release satellites of up to 2000kg. In an outside pavilion, the museum has a host of steam locomotives. There is also an opportunity to get up on the driver’s carriage of one of the trains and experience how it felt to drive one back in the day. Finally, as we move forward, we get to see the Toti submarine which was the first one to be built in Italy after the WW2 and remained in use until 1997 patrolling the waters for any enemy infiltration. 

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The end of the tour was marked by the customary visit to the souvenir shop, and it is here where I learnt one valuable piece of information: “the origin of the symbol of Ferrari: the prancing horse”. Enzo Ferrari adopted it from the symbol used by aviator Francesco Baracca, a major and pilot during WW1 on his fighter plane which was unfortunately shot down in 1918.  

My trip helped me explore a newer side of technology and I particularly enjoyed the air transport section, informing visitors with a plethora of amazing facts. I would highly recommend anyone interested to learn more about technological innovations to pay a visit. 

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I am a 1st year MSc student studying EMIT at Bocconi University and I come from New Delhi, India. I am highly interested in innovation and technology, love travelling and following different sports.

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