Vinci is situated in the hills of Montalbano
A green area divided between the provinces of Pistoia, Prato and Florence. The municipality of Vinci is part of the province of Florence. There are plenty of things to see in Vinci and many of them are related to Leonardo’s life: the house in which he was born, just 3 kilometres from Vinci in the middle of the countryside, the church of Satna Croce where he was likely baptised, and the museum and the library that take his name.
In fact, The Casa Natale di Leonardo (the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci) is just outside Vinci, between Anchiano and Faltognano. It is a farmhouse immersed in greenery with some reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings and there is also a life-sized hologram of Leonardo, who narrates the events of his life and work. Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452, along a country road, where he could see the surrounding green hills, and he was an illegitimate child of a domestic servant and Sir Piero da Vinci, owner of the house at that time. The home, its splendid landscapes and the drawings by Leonardo of the surrounding territory represent the only testimonials of the deep bond between the master and his Tuscan land.
Vinci dates back to the early middle ages, when Vinci was under the rule of the Guidi counts. In the town centre you’ll find the Guidi castle, also known as the “castle of the ship” because of its elongated shape and the tower shaped like a sailing vessel. It contains the Leonardo museum and bears painted and sculpted coats of arms as well as a ceramic Madonna and Child by Giovanni della Robbia, made in 1523.
Sitting amidst the hills of Tuscany below the Apennine mountains
The romantic village has tidy, twisting streets and splendid views from its main piazza, overlooking the valley that is dotted with olive groves and striped with grapevines. The singular focus is now entirely on Leonardo and his accomplishments.
Start at the Museo Leonardiano with its full scale models of some of Leonardo’s inventions and visionary projections recreated from his detailed notes. You’ll find advanced ideas that demonstrate the depths of his genius, modeling everything from bicycles, cars and flying machines to an underwater suit and weaponry well before any of them were developed in the following centuries. Bridges, domed buildings, civic plans, and artistic drawings of the great artist and inventor are all on exhibit, along with interactive displays and computer points for further learning.
The Leonardo Library is across the street, with a full body of manuscripts and drawings by the master. In Piazza della Liberta’ is a bronze equestrian statue installed in 1997 by artist Nina Akame, inspired by the many sketches Leonardo did of horses.
You can feel in the air the deep connection that exists between Leonardo and those landscapes and the impossibility of separating them. The gentle hills, the wide fields of vineyards and olive trees and the sun itself are integral parts of the museum and of its history: this beauty has doubtless contributed to envelope and influence the fantasy, wits, creativity and genius of one of the greatest men in the world.