What year is this? It’s Leonardo’s year (in Italy at least)! In 2019, a series of exhibitions will celebrate the artist, inventor and all-round genius – and arguably the most famous Italian in history. The celebration will be so ubiquitous that the official app that collates the information on all means of transportation in Italy has started planning routes designed to help users discover Leonardo’s work through these amazing events. We decided to join in, with a special activity, reserved for our corporate clients.
The official Leonardo trail
The itinerary for the official celebrations of Leonardo’s life and work is set to start in his birthplace: the village of Anchiano, in Tuscany. The second, obvious stop is in Vinci, where the artist resided and where he is believed to have been baptised, in the local Church of Santa Croce. Vinci is also home to the Leonardo Museum, containing artefacts and a wealth of information that will thrill anyone intent on cracking the authentic Da Vinci Code. The following stops are, obviously, Florence and Milan, where some of Leonardo’s most iconic works of art are kept, but also Parma, where the famous drawing Head of a Woman, also known as La Scapigliata is kept. Visitors are then invited to explore Leonardo’s masterpieces in Rome. The Vatican museums are home to his famous Saint Jerome, while the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo has a whole museum dedicated to the Tuscan genius.
What we did: Leonardo’s secret
This year, we will be reprising a fascinating team building activity we originally created for Burger King, called Leonardo’s Secret. This is a very special version of our beloved scavenger hunt, involving clues that are intended to help participants learn about Leonardo’s work and his contribution to the progress of technology. We divided our client’s staff into two teams and equipped them with mini iPads – thus adding a hi-tech touch that we are sure Leonardo would have appreciated – and sent them on a city tour of Milan. In order to solve our puzzles, the teams needed to answer questions that required them to tap into their shared knowledge of history and art. Each clue was designed to be challenging but approachable and to lead to a new nugget of learning, in order to lead to the next clue and eventually to the ultimate goalpost. The true “treasure” to be found, of course, was a deeper connection to the city and its history, as well as with the incredible and unique legacy that Leonardo left behind for the whole of humanity to enjoy and benefit from.
The thrill of learning
Team building activities are often associated with dull and slightly awkward afternoons outside the office: we want none of that. We want our clients to enjoy the authentic thrill of a unique experience, that leaves them with something valuable to show for it. And we are aware that there are fewer thrills, in the life of a human being, stronger and more pleasurable than the thrill of discovery, of learning something new and making a connection to places, people and our shared history. The feedback on this kind of team building activity, so far, has been overwhelmingly positive and we are working on improving it further, to meet the needs of a variety of clients.