Celebrating 500 Years of Leonardo da Vinci with Fiumicino’s Best Chefs

Leonardo da Vinci, one of Italy’s most celebrated polymath in the Renaissance period,  was commemorated with celebrations on his 500th anniversary. Following the exhibition of some of his flight machines that were replicated in their natural size and a multimedia area with his drawings on the Code on the Flight of Birds at Italy’s main airport hub, Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Fiumicino, a show cooking with recipes inspired by da Vinci took place last 30 May 2019.

The showcooking, organized by Aeroporto di Roma (ADR), was presided by two distinguished Michelin-starred chefs of the Tyrrhenean coast in Fiumicino, Chef Daniele Usai of Il Tino and Chef Gianfranco Pascucci of Pascucci al Porticciolo.

Although da Vinci had been notable for his scientific inventions and works of art, he also has a lesser-known side which is his passion for gastronomy.

From some of his notes and drawings, tools that are presently used in the modern kitchens like the garlic chopper, corkscrew, pepper mill, slicer and mechanical rotisserie were documented. It seems that his interest in culinary science came about during his apprenticeship at the Verrocchio workshop in Florence. History says that da Vinci worked as a waiter at the Taverna delle Tre Lumache in Florence when he was young. He was then promoted from waiter to cook when the proprietor found himself without anyone running the kitchen. In 1478, he opened Taverna delle Tre Rane with his friend Sandro Botticelli and it was during this period when he started to experiment with the futuristic kitchen tools. His interest in gastronomy didn’t end there because according to some historians, he also invented some recipes including Acquarosa, a drink that tradition attributes to Leonardo da Vinci made with rose water, dried rose buds, lemon, sugar and a little alcohol.

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Daniele Usai of Il Tino reinterpreted the da Vinci’s Acquarosa. It was used as a part of the sauce of his Spaghetto Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino e Ricci di Mare (Spaghetti with Garlic, Oil, Chili and Sea Urchin). Gianfranco Pascucci instead presented a dish that was inspired by inventions with the name Mare composed of vegetable seaweed sponge soaked in clam water with a powder composition of dried crustaceans, herbs and fermented kombu seaweed used to write the word Mare on the plates.

Through the showcooking, passengers at the boarding area were able to discover a unique gastronomic offer with the best of Made in Italy products including wine produced by Falesco Winery from the Lazio region. In addition to the dishes presented by the chefs, pizza al taglio was also presented by Sancho Pizzeria and pastries from Pasticceria Patrizi, both gastronomic activities in the town of Fiumicino. The showcooking commenced with the introductions of Aeroporto di Roma CEO Ugo de Coralis and Fiumicino Mayor Esterino Montino.