Codice Leicester agli Uffizi


From 30 October 2018 to 20 January 2019

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From 30 October, 2018 to 20 January, 2019, the Uffizi Aula Magliabechiana hosts the highly anticipated exhibition 'Water as Microscope of Nature', which will display of the Codex Leicester, the famous manuscript by Leonardo da Vinci. The Uffizi exhibition is a sort of 'anticipation' of the many events in 2019 celebrating the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the greatest genius in the history of mankind! So, if you are in Florence during the event, make sure you do not miss it! It is a truly unique opportunity to admire one of the most interesting Leonardo Da Vinci’s codices. What’s more, exhibitions at the Uffizi also include the admission ticket: you will be able to visit all the other rooms of the splendid museum and dedicate a day to art and culture.



It is one of the most interesting and complete Leonardo da Vinci writings, handwritten between 1504 and 1508 using mirror writing, which consisted in writing the letters as if they were reflected in a mirror, from right to left.

The years in which he wrote the Codex Hammer coincided with a time of intense artistic and scientific activity: he devoted himself to anatomy at the Hospital of Santa Maria Nova, conducted experiments and studies to enable man to fly, painted the Battle of Anghiari at Palazzo Vecchio and, to top it all off, he also investigated solutions to make the River Arno navigable. More than just 'multitasking'! While he was pursuing all these studies, he also found time to jot down notes, ideas and brilliant intuitions that make up the incredible content of the Da Vinci codex. The document is also accompanied by some of Leonardo Da Vinci drawings.

Leonardo da Vinci codex Leicester on show at the Uffizi focuses on the theme of water. The great thinker worked to understand its nature and to see if he could exploit it as a source of energy but also how he could control its destructive forces. There are many notes on vortices and currents, rivers, hydrostatics and hydraulic engineering. The manuscript also contains reflections on other topics such as the material nature of the Moon, its luminosity and the history of the planet Earth. It is a sort of notebook composed of 18 double sheets of paper, for a total of 36 sheets written on both sides. It is a collection organized in a systematic way later integrated by underlining, erasing and new contributions. Simply fascinating!



The codex Leicester code is on show in Florence after having been exhibited in the museums of Venice, Rome, Paris, New York and Seattle in recent years. It is the only one of Leonardo's codices to be in private hands, it is currently owned by Bill Gates, president of Microsoft who bought it in 1984 for the truly dizzying and record sum of 30 million dollars, making it the most expensive manuscript in the world! But before falling in the hands of the American tycoon, a lot happened to it...

In fact, back in 1690 the painter Giuseppe Ghezzi found the precious manuscript in an old trunk he purchased from Guglielmo Della Porta, who apparently had owned it since 1537. In 1717, Ghezzi sold Leonardo Da Vinci's codex hammer to Thomas Coke from Leicester. In 1980 there was again a change of hands and the manuscript was bought by the American businessman Armand Hammer. For this reason, it was called the codex Hammer, a name that lasted until 1984 when it was bought by the president of Microsoft. After falling into the hands of Bill Gates the Leonardo Da Vinci codex changed its name again and became the Leicester Code. Although it is usually kept at the Gates Museum in a particular case to safeguard its preservation, at least once a year it is loaned to a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition around the world. Needless to say, the manuscript must be exhibited with extra care, in particular there can be no lighting.



The Leicester Code exhibition at the Uffizi in Florence, curated by Paolo Galluzzi, originates from a project of the Uffizi Galleries and the Galilei Museum and was created thanks to the contribution of the Fondazione CR of Florence and is sponsored by the National Committee for the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci. Thanks to the Caleodoscope, a latest generation multimedia device, you will be able to leaf through all the pages on a digital screen, access a transcription of the texts and receive lots of information on the topics covered. We are sure that Leonardo would have appreciated all these 'contraptions'! Alongside the Leonardo da Vinci codex book, the exhibition will also present a number of Leonardo da Vinci sketches and codex sheets of extraordinary importance compiled by the great thinker in the same years. Among these are the 'De Moto et Misura della dell'acqua' of the Vatican Library which integrates the content of the codice Leicester, Leonardo’s Code on the Flight of Birds on loan from the Royal Library of Turin, four spectacular sheets of the Codex Atlanticus on loan from the Biblioteca Ambrosiana of Milan, which illustrate Leonardo’s studies of the Moon and his invention of the crane, and finally two precious double-sided sheets from the British Library Codex Arundel that contain surveys on the course of the River Arno. In addition to Leonardo’s codices, the exhibition also includes incunabula containing the texts used during the compilation of the Da Vinci hammer codex. Altogether, the exhibition will consist of 80 sheets, the Codex Flight of Birds and an additional 10 precious manuscripts and incunabula.


From 30 October to 20 January the exhibition 'Water as Microscope of Nature' awaits you at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, do not miss it! If long queues at the entrance of the museum can put you off, do not worry, we have a suggestion for you: book our tour in Florence that includes skip-the-line entry and Bob’s your uncle! Sometimes you don’t have to be as clever as Leonardo to solve problems, but just a bit smart!


Location: Galleria degli Uffizi -

Date: from 30 October, 2018 to 20 January, 2019

Times: 8.15 to 18.50, closed Mondays and 1st January

By Insidecom Editorial Staff


Period: From 30 October 2018 to 20 January 2019

Event location: Florence

Contacts: more info on the official website

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