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How the Navigation lock works: from Leonardo da Vinci’s project to today

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The invention and the history of the navigation lock, from Leonardo da Vinci to today, easily explained.

The Navigation Lock, among whose inventors there is Leonardo da Vinci, is the solution to overcome any differences in altitude that can be encountered during the navigation. It is a sort of "lift" for boats that allows the boats to go up or down the step created by a water jump. But when and where are Navigation locks born?

The history of the Lock: the intuition of Leonardo da Vinci

The invention of the navigation lock is attributed probably to Filippino degli Organi and Aristotile Fioravante, two architects from Bologna who used a basin to overcome a height difference of about three meters in Viarenna, near Milan.

Leonardo da Vinci, made a fundamental contribution during a stay in Milan in 1482, as shown by the projects in the "Codex Atlanticus".
He planned to connect the Naviglio Martesana to the other local existing waterways. Leonardo da Vinci, who had already designed a dams system to solve the problem of height difference, made improvements to that system. His project consisted in the creation of two basins that would allow to cross the city by water, connecting the Adda river to the Ticino river.

Often the invention of the Navigation Lock is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, of whom Venice hosts a permanent exhibit, because his project is what is still used today to build the waterway lock.
A history of 600 years that makes navigation more fun and dynamic. But, how do navigation locks work?

 

chiuse-houseboat-veneto-e-friuli.JPG

 

The cross of the Navigation Lock, explained in simple words

The navigation locks consists on a basin, called "filling tank" or "reservoir", with o two doors, originally made of wood. .
If the door is open, the boat can enter into the basin. The door closes, isolating the basin, like a pool. The is few minutes tha level of the water in the basin changes by going down (if the boat has to go down) or up(if the boat has to go up)
Once the external water level is reached inside the reservoir, the second door is opened and the navigation can continue.

It is a simple mechanism, but at the same time quite complex, of hydraulic engineering, that allows in a few minutes to overcome the differences in water levels and create a pleasant interlude in navigation.

 

 

What are the most beautiful navigation locks you will find during your stay in Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia with Houseboat Holidays Italia?

During the river cruises in Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia with Houseboat Holidays Italia, it will be possible to cross different locks. For example, during the journey from Padua to Venice it will be possible to meet five navigation locks, in Noventa Padovana, Dolo, Mira, Moranzani and Strà. The latter is of particular historical importance because it is one of the oldest locks in Italy, being dated 1481 as evidenced by a stone engraving still present on the spot.

Another important navigation lock that you can meet during the navigation is at Portegrandi, the only lockin the Sile Park that allows you to enter the Venetian lagoon.

Discover our itineraries and all the navigation locks that you will encounter during your trip, for a unique and fun navigation experience, by downloading our catalog.

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