• Leonardo da Vinci Museum: An aeronautical heaven in Milan

    Magni P.M 3/4 Vale aircraft in Leonardo da Vinci museum

Embark on a captivating journey through one of Milan’s most iconic cultural spaces, the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. This venue is more than just a museum; it’s a bridge linking the past with the future, where science and art converge, and a special emphasis is placed on aviation.

As many might not know, Leonardo da Vinci was the pioneer in studying bird anatomy and conceptualizing designs to mimic their movement, inadvertently laying the groundwork for the grand venture of aviation.

Stay with us in this article, and discover one of the best aircraft exhibitions in the world!

Leonardo da Vinci Museum’s historical and geographical context

Opened in 1953, the Leonardo da Vinci Museum quickly became a pivotal educational and cultural landmark.

Its foundation was inspired by the desire to preserve and disseminate the scientific and technological legacy of not only Leonardo da Vinci but also the trailblazers that followed.

The museum is situated in the historic San Vittore al Corpo Monastery in Milan, merging Renaissance architecture with contemporary museum amenities.

Strategically found in an easily accessible area of Milan and close to other tourist attractions, the museum stands at the intersection of history, science, and art, integral components of the city’s identity. It’s located at Via San Vittore 21, 20123 Milan, Italy, a key detail for anyone planning a visit.

Exhibitions and collections

The museum dedicates a significant section to Leonardo da Vinci, displaying replicas of his inventions and sketches. Visitors can closely observe how this Renaissance master envisioned the world and its technology. On display are a variety of models based on his designs, from flying machines to mechanical contrivances.

Macchi Nieuport Ni 10

Introduced in Italy in 1916 and reproduced under licence by Macchi (then called Nieuport Macchi), the French aeroplane Ni 10 (better known as Ni 18 mg) was the first Italian fighter plane to actually enter into combat; it was a “scout” plane, in other words a fast observer plane. Its use as a fighter was a makeshift solution due to the need to combat enemy air raids and the first fighter planes that the enemy had launched against our aeroplanes.

Indeed, the first two-seater models were not armed, and both the defence and attack was left exclusively to the crew’s individual artillery; later, the Ni 18 mg was also provided with defensive weaponry. Towards the end of 1915 the plane equipped the 1St Squadron of fighters, based at Aviano and a detached unit at Campoformido.

  • Length: 7.01 meters
  • Height: 2.85 meters
  • Empty weight: 440 kg
  • Maximum speed: 140 km/h
  • Range: 300 km
  • Endurance: 2hours 30 minutes
  • Service ceiling: 4.000 meters
  • Time to altitude: 15 minutes 30 seconds

Bleriot XI

This iconic French monoplane gained fame for its 1909 Channel crossing. It played a critical role in WWI and significantly influenced Italian military aviation. It was used by Louis Blèriot to make the first flight across the English channel, on 1909.

  • Length: 7.62 meters
  • Height: 2.69 meters
  • Empty weight: 230 kg
  • Maximum speed: 75.6 km/h
  • Service ceiling: 1.000 meters
  • Blèriot XI aircraft in Leonardo da Vinci museum

Breda BA 15

Designed in 1929, this was a response to a Royal Italian Air Force tender for a training aircraft. Its design, while not winning the tender, gained popularity for its flight qualities and ease of handling.

  • Length: 7 meters
  • Height: 2.25 meters
  • Empty weight: 770 kg
  • Maximum speed: 200 km/h
  • Endurance: 6 hours
  • Service ceiling: 4.000 meters

De Havilland DH 80 Puss Moth

From 1930 to 1933 the English firm De Havilland Aircraft Company produced 260 monoplanes like this one, named Puss Moth.
They are among the first aircrafts used by private pilots and no longer exclusively intended for military use.

At the end of the 1920s, the number of amateurs encouraged aeronautical companies to open up to a new marketplace: civil aviation. Their wealthy clients requested vehicles to be more comfortable, manageable and stylish. The Puss Moth has a closed cabin and it can take off from a small 300 meter-long lawn. It can also fold its wings to fit into a garage, just like a moth, hence its name.

  • Length: 7 meters
  • Height: 2.25 meters
  • Empty weight: 770 kg
  • Maximum speed: 200 km/h
  • Endurance: 6 hours
  • Service ceiling: 4.000 meters
  • De Havilland DH 80 Puss Moth aircraft in Leonardo da Vinci museum

Magni P.M 3/4 Vale

This is an italian civil monoplane used as an acrobatic trainer. It was designed by Piero Magni-Aviazione. He was a First World War pilot, and in 1919 had already obtained the first patent for a monoplane with load bearing struts and aerodynamic brakes; these features then became widely used as standard.

    • In 1924 he built the PM1 Vittoria and the PM2 Vittoria in the Costruzioni Aeronautiche workshop in Meda that he founded; these planes were fitted with the “minimum penetration cowling” which then became widely known as the “NACA cowling”.
    • In 1934 Magni built the PM 3/1 “Vale” in the new factory in Taliedo; this was followed in 1937 by the PM ¾ “Vale”, which he donated to the Museum.

General characteristics:

  • Length: 5.5 meters
  • Height: 2.02 meters
  • Empty weight: 540 kg
  • Maximum speed: 250 km/h
  • Range: 1.000 km
  • Service ceiling: 7.000 meters
  • Magni P.M 3:4 Vale aircraft in Leonardo da Vinci museum


The G.91 was the first jet of Italian design and build. It won of the competition organized by NATO in 1954 to equip the countries of the Alliance with light tactical fighters.
During the Cold War, the two opposed blocks needed to control the air space and developed projects in the aeronautical field.
The proposal of engineer Giuseppe Gabrielli for FIAT Aviation contributed to bring back Italy in the rose of the most advanced nations in the field.
This version of the G.91 R (scout), appears in 1959 and it represents a great commercial success.
It differs from the previous series mostly because of the nose, which contains photographic equipment for day and night reconnaissance operations.

  • Length: 10.3 meters
  • Height: 4 meters
  • Empty weight: 3.100 kg
  • Maximum speed: 1.075 km/h
  • Range: 1.150 km
  • Service ceiling: 13.100 meters

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