Natural sciences started to address the nature of the human mind and brain really only after the Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci was amongst the first to realize that life on earth was not simply the story written on the sacred book of the times, the Bible. He noted that the shells easily found up in the Appennine mountains could have been there only if these mountains had been once below the seas. This insightful observation and the realisation that the Earth is just one of the planets revolving around a star, started the revolution going from a human centered universe to a larger cosmology, where human are only one of the animal species on the crust of a small planet, evolved naturally like all others living beings. These views are now widely accepted, even by many of the major religions. However the acceptance that also the human mind and consciousness are natural phenomena, which must have emerged by evolution, remains a difficulty to many thinkers. This last frontier of scientific knowledge is the challenge that modern Neuroscience undertakes. The story of the exploration of the brain and the mind starts also during the Renaissance with Leonardo being one of the first to draw the human brain. Scattered along the following Centuries Italian scientists contributed greatly to this exploration. Marcello Costa will place Italian scientists in the context of exploration of the human brain from the Renaissance to the late Nobelist Rita Levi Montalcini.
The audience will be able to engage in conversation, ranging from the molecular aspects of the brain to the higher functions of the human brain.