Vinci, following the footsteps of Leonardo

Museo Leonardiano - Castello dei Conti GuidiVinci, where everything refers to the Genius, offers numerous possibilities for dedicated Leonardo fans: discover the house where he was born on 15th April 1452, loose yourself in the models of his inventions in the Leonardo Museum, walk along the Montalbano paths and try to recognise some of his famous landscapes or simply explore this small town discovering the various installations with which numerous contemporary artists have wished to reinterpret the legacy of the great resident of Vinci.

The origins of the Genius

If you are in the area you cannot miss a visit to the Birthplace of Leonardo, a destination which has become a real “cultural pilgrimage” for more than 50 years. Located just 3km from the centre of Vinci, park your car and follow the picturesque Strada Verde (Green Road) on foot for about 30 minutes (CAI path n.14). The nature and breathtaking viewpoints, similar to those that inspired the young Leonardo,will introduce you to the exhibition of his life and works. Not to be missed, the evocative meeting with the Genius!

Leonardo and the Renaissance engineers

The Leonardo Museum is home to much more than just amazing inventions and futuristic intuitions…the exhibition is a real journey into the study of science during the Renaissance period. The audio-video guide (ask at the ticket office) will be particularly helpful as you wander through the cranes, construction sites, war machines and mechanical looms. The guide also contains a brief city tour of the historic centre. Families can challenge themselves to solve the riddles and enigmas about Leonardo’s machines with the interactive GIOCAmuseo book suitable for children up to 11 years of age and available in different language versions. If you visit Vinci on the second Sunday of the month you can participate in the didatic activities of the Leonardo Sunday: check the website and book because places are limited!

The Horse, the Square and the Man of Vinci 

The brilliance and the works of Leonardo are still today sources of inspiration for many artists. The installations dotted around the historic centre of his birth town demonstrate this and represent a real contemporary art itinerary. Leave your car near Piazza della Libertà e begin your tour with the bronze Horse which the sculptor Nina Akamu has created, taking inspiration from Leonardo’s project for an equestrian monument to Francesco Sforza which was never finished. From here head towards the Castle of Conti Guidi and discover, right behind the tower, strategically placed for the panorama surrounding it, the famous sculpture of the Man of Vinci by Mario Ceroli, which reinterprets the drawing of the Vitruvian Man. Less monumental but still of great refinement are the sculptures dedicated to the History of Deliverance created by Cecco Bonanotte for the baptistery of the Santa Croce Church which conserves the font used for the baptism of Leonardo. Don’t forget to read the plaque with the words that Leonardo’s grandfather jotted down to remember the birth of his grandson. The last point of interest is the suggestive Piazza dei Guidi where Mimmo Paladino has reinterpreted the geometry of Leonardo with his unique artistic language, creating an original urban space which marks out the entrance to the Museum.

Travel Tips

The Leonardo Libraray conserves copies of all Leonardo’s manuscripts. For groups of at least ten people you can book a guided tour The Leonardo Codes for an up-close experience with the great Vinci citizen!