What did you eat and drink for dinner last night? An exercise at the UCLA Writing Success Program asked students to explore Leonardo da Vinci’s inquisitiveness about life and the patterns and connections in the world around him to answer that question. Here’s what they came up with using a bowl of linguine as an example. The mind map of the journey from producer to table with thought given to how the ingredients were grown and converted into the masterful presentation on the plate encourages students to look at their interconnectedness of all things and improve their creativity.

Connessione, the Italian word for connection, association, joint, juncture or link and one of the seven principles of thinking “allo Leonardo” has been used by life coaches and consultants to encourage and inspire an innovative way of thinking to accelerate learning, improve organizations and maximize personal potential. Popularized by Michael Gelb’s book How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci the ideas and exercises associated with his “phenomenal systems thinking” has provided modern Renaissance thinkers a road map for improving their brain power, investments, career search, even their wine drinking.

As a teacher and author who writes about taste traveling in Italy, I could immediately see the connections between a style of travel that pairs the pleasures of eating with the history and art of the region; a travel experience way beyond a show and tell tour where travels are influenced by what and where you have eaten and the artisan producers and purveyors of the food. With a degree in the biological sciences I taught about the “web of life”, the connections within an ecological community that show how the actions of one organism affect the outcome for all. Now I began to see how this scientific principle could be applied to re-defining how we travel with lifestyle itineraries that speak to the richness and abundance of the different components and individuals that make up the experience of travel. Traveling with a sense of connectedness to the physical environment, the cultural and culinary landscape of the country, the historical traditions and the warm hospitality of the Italian people creates a travel experience that maximizes the infinite potential of Conessione.

After all there’s no better place to ask what did you eat and drink for dinner last night then in Italy.


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