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It's set in 1467 Florence, where young Leo is an apprentice artist, and spends his spare time designing fantastic machines and hanging out with Lovable Rogue Niccolo "Mac" Machiavelli and Lonely Rich Kid Lorenzo de' Medici. In the first episode they meet Tomaso, who also wants to be an artist.
However, a sinister society has discovered Leo's mechanical designs. This group tricks Tom into stealing Leo's notebooks, wanting to create war machines that will let them overthrow the Duke of Florence. Leo and his friends (including Tom, who turns out to be a girl called Lisa) have to stop them, unaware that they're led by Lorenzo's father.
This show contains examples of:
- Anachronism Stew.
- Arranged Marriage: Lisa is escaping one. In Episode 4, Complete Monster moneylender Lucio Zengari is marrying a woman in exchange for not sending her father to debtor's prison.
- Attractive Bent Gender: In Episode 5, Leo falls for Lorenzo's manipulative cousin Valentina. Valentina, while flirting with Leo out of habit, falls in love with "Tom", in part because her usual seduction techniques don't work.
- Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: It's a Running Gag that Leo's fascination with everything means that he hardly ever finishes a painting.
- Batman Gambit: Piero seems fond of these. The final two episodes both have Leonardo believing Piero plans to kill the Duke, only to learn his real plan is more convoluted, and Leo's own actions have played into it.
- The Beard: In Episode 9, Lisa tries to convince her mother she's married to Mac.
- Big Bad: Piero de' Medici.
- Black Vikings
- Chase Scene: Episode 3 has Mac on the run from a nobleman he sold a fake gold chain to. Instead of a Fruit Cart or Sheet of Glass, they get blocked by Leo and Lisa carrying Leo's glider wings.
- Clock Punk
- Cool Bike: Leo invents the bicycle in Episode 1. In Episode 5, he adds a gunpowder engine: the Boom Bike.
- The Conspiracy: The Luminari, or Il Illuminatum.
- The Dandy: Lorenzo.
- In Episode 8, Michelangelo dresses in purple silk and is healded by the BGM playing Adam Ant's "Stand and Deliver".
- Dark Horse Victory: The painting contest in episode 8 presented as all about Leo and Michelangelo. The winner is "Tomaso".
- Did Not Do the Research: There was no Duke of Florence in 1467. When the title was created in 1532, it was given to Piero's great-grandson, Alessandro de' Medici, because the Medicis had been de facto rulers of Florence since 1434.
- In episode 8, Michelangelo's painting is presumably meant to be the real Michelangelo's famous Battle of Cascini. Except it's actually The Battle of Anghiari, which was by Leonardo.
- Not to mention that before his commission for the Sistine Chapel in 1508, Michelangelo was better known as a sculptor.
- Face Heel Turn: In the final episode Lorenzo discovers his father's plans, but is convinced they're for the good of the city. He therefore turns agains Leo and his friends.
- The Fagin: Mac is the "good" version, and not much older than the kids who work for him.
- Follow in My Footsteps: Lorenzo finds banking incredibly boring. On the one occasion he feigns interest in the Family Business, Piero says "Now you sound like a Medici!"
- For Science!: Leo creates for the sake of creating, and is enthusiastic about everything. When Piero makes his pitch for Leo to join him it's not We Can Rule Together, it's "Wouldn't you like to see your inventions in action?"
- Friend to All Living Things: As in real history, Leo is a vegetarian, and buys caged birds to release them into the wild.
- Friends All Along: Mac and Carlo Cazali in Episode 6.
- Gilligan Cut: Leo needs a bird of prey to study. Lorenzo casually mentions that his dad has just got a falcon.
Lorenzo: The most expensive bird in all of Florence, cost a fortune ... (notices Leo's Cheshire Cat Grin) Oh, no! Absolutely no way. I know what you're thinking and no way! He'd skin me alive! He'd feed me to the fishes! There's absolutely no way I'm doing it.
Gilligan Cut to Lorenzo creeping into his father's study in the middle of the night.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Lorenzo is a bit like this, constantly having to amend his comments about girls not to include Lisa. In one episode he claims that making up excuses to avoid going on dates is his hobby.
- Historical Domain Character: All the main characters.
- Historical In-Joke: In Episode 4, Leo's Batman Gambit involves pretending that he creates copies of stolen paintings and sells them to people who think they're getting the original -- exactly what happened when the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Piero de' Medici. Who pretty much did rule Florence in 1467.
- Hypocritical Humour: In episode 13, a man comes running down the street screaming. Mac comments "Probably seen a three-legged dog. You know what these peasants are like; still living in the DarkAges." When Mac actualy sees the mechanical man the peasant was running from, his reaction is "Run! Run! It's a demon!"
- I'd Tell You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You: Piero says this when he employs Lucio Zengari to buy weapons:
Lucio:What do you want 'em for?
Piero: I could tell you, but then I really would have to kill you.
- It Will Never Catch On: Leo's inventions.
- The Duke of Florence thinks Leo's painting of Lisa is "almost perfect, but there's something not right about the mouth".
- Jerk Jock: Michelangelo, with painting instead of sports. Represents the Opposing Art School in Episode 8.
Michelangelo: Have you heard the rumours? They're saying you're going to win. Everyone loves an underdog story. I find underdog stories incredibly tedious, so I've decided I'm going to win.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Episode 7 involved an incredibly accurate (but backwards) pocket watch that both Leo and Piero believe allows Time Travel. A scene near the end suggests they may be right.
- Parental Abandonment: Mac never talks about his parents. Leo's dad is still in Vinci, and is supposed to visit in one episode but doesn't.
- Pet the Dog: Several episodes show that however ruthless Piero may be in his desire to rule Florence, he does genuinely care about his son.
- Right Behind Me: Lorenzo on Valentina:
Lorenzo: All pretty and charming and tinkly laughter, but really she's spiteful and nasty and ... and she's behind me, isn't she?
- Science Hero: Leo.
- Shout-Out: Obviously, the episode where the Luminari realise they can't read Leo's notebooks has to be called "Da Vinci's Code".
- Sweet Polly Oliver: "Tom" is actually Lisa. As in "Mona..."
- Race Lift: Mac is black.
- The Renaissance
- Revealing Injury: In Episode 6, Lorenzo tells Leo that someone tries to steal the "lightning box", but his father's guards put an arrow in the man's leg. Cut to Mac's old friend Carlo bandaging his leg.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: Piero has a clockpunk security system involving numbered levers ... and has it programmed with his birthday. And then changes it to Lorenzo's birthday. Amusingly, such devices are apparently common enough that Mac says "It's almost always that."
- Translation Convention: Everyone speaks English, with occasional breaks into Gratuitious Italian, such as mi scusi and magnifico.
- The Vamp: Lorenzo's cousin Valentina de' Medici, who says boys are "all gullible fools".
- The Wise Prince: The Duke of Florence. His cousin Piero de' Medici would disagree.
Piero: He's taken to walking through the streets, listening to his citizens and any old riff-raff! Imbecile! If that isn't asking to be assassinated, I don't know what is!
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Happens to Professor Pico in Episode 2.
- You Have to Believe Me: Leo at the end of episode 12, when he tries to convince the Duke that Piero plans to assassinate him.