Friday, May 20, 2011

Italia in Festa: Leonardo Davinci comes to St Leonard

Fig.1. Dr. Guiseppe Manisco stands behind one of his working, Davinci models. This machine is capable of lowering and lifting buckets of well water simultaneously.

I've always been fascinated with characters. Someone, who for no apparent reason, just doesn't swim upstream with the rest of the tunnel-visioned members of society. A person who's uncomfortable with the mold assigned to him or her and proceeds to do things others would perceive as, 'not normal'. Enter Dr. Guiseppe Manisco, an engineer with a serious passion--some might say slightly obsessive. "In 2004 I received a book entitled, The Machines of Leonardo Davinci", say Manisco, "wouldn't it be fun to recreate [Leonardo's] models." And that's exactly what Manisco has been doing ever since. On display, in the Leonardo Davinci Centre's gymnasium, are 50 of Manisco's, Davinci models, all of which work I should add. Manisco is more than happy to show what all of the machines do, fervently demonstrating all of their moving parts. As he describes all of the machines to me I can't help but think how much a person is capable of if they would just stop watching television.

Fig.2. This one is my favorite. The pig or lamb is placed on a spit, the heat under causes the fan to turn, which then spins the animal; no 'arm power' necessary. This proves Davinci was a foodie.

Fig.3. One of Davinci's famous parachutes, flying wings, and a design for an emergency bridge used by warring soldiers who found themselves having to cross a small body of water. The bridge is self-supporting: no nails or rope anywhere.

Fig.4. This machine is made up of rotating blades, which when pulled by a horse, causes the long knives to spin very fast. Was intended to cut wheat but also used to cut the legs off of soldiers on the battlefield.

Fig.5. No idea what this one does.

Also on display is one of the largest private collections of art and publications about Leonardo Davinci and his works: Reproductions of his artwork, statues of Davinci, very old facsimiles of Davinci's workbooks, as well as some very old letters pertaining to Davinci are all on display. This vast collection of Davinci collectables belongs to Montreal neurosurgeon, Dr. Rolando Del Maestro.

Fig.6. A 60 year old wax facial model of Davinci. Part of the other exhibit featuring publications and collectables on the life of Leonardo Davinci.

Sunday, May 29th is "Italia in Festa", an all day and night affair. The streets will be closed and the front of the center will be filled with everything from entertainment for the kids to informational kiosks representing each province in Italy. The outdoor party culminates with a big musical concert under the stars.

Indoors, the center will be featuring free musical events, including a homage to Italian film soundtracks, under the direction of Italian grand pianist, Enzo De Rosa, who will be behind the piano playing along to the film scores.

As for the food, (this couldn't very well be a Hungry Italian post if I didn't make you hungry in some way, right?) The indoor trattoria will set up a command post outside where a team of cooks (myself included) will be armed and ready to cook for the estimated ten thousand hungry people expected to show up. On the menu: paninis (sangweeches)of porchetta and grilled sausages, and various pasta dishes.

Fig.7. The trattoria fashioned restaurant in the LDV center. Everything available during the big feast on May 29th will be cooked on the spot.

So come by and see Giuseppe Manisco's incredible, working reproductions of Davinci's models, (and bring your kids to this one); Del Maestro's private collection of Davinci publications, and get something to eat while you're here. Click here to see the whole itinerary.

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