Florence
Florence

Things to do in Vinci, the home town of Leonardo

Vinci, following of the genius of Leonardo

Vinci is a pretty hilltop town famous all over the world for having given birth to one of the greatest geniuses in the history of humanity: Leonardo da Vinci. In fact, in 1452 the great Renaissance painter, inventor, scientist, engineer (and so on) who, with his works, left an indelible mark in all fields of knowledge and art, was born here.

Located about fifty kilometers from Florence, Vinci is located on the slopes of Montalbano in Lower Valdarno and is today part of the Museum System “MuDEV – Museo diffuso dell’Empolese Valdelsa” which also includes the municipalities of Capraia and Limite, Cerreto Guidi, Empoli, Fucecchio, Montelupo Fiorentino, Montespertoli, Montaione Gambassi Terme and Certaldo.

Things to do in Vinci

Things to do in Vinci

The visit to Vinci is focused on the discovery of the places that linked to Leonardo as his birthplace and the museum dedicated to him. But not only that, as we will see Vinci and its surroundings also offer other interesting ideas.

  • Leonardo’s birthplace
  • Museo Leonardiano in Vinci
  • Conti Guidi’s Castle

Leonardo’s birthplace

Unlike what one might think, Leonardo’s birthplace is not exactly in Vinci but in the hamlet of Anchiano, a couple of kilometers away. Recently restored, the home of Leonardo presents a beautiful tour route rich in multimedia content and interesting ideas.

In the first room we find a virtual path that traces the history of the great artist through his production from the origins in the workshop of Verrocchio to the realization of the most famous and important works. In the rooms of the house we find numerous testimonies relating to the life of the master and his connection with his homeland. One of the main attractions of the house is undoubtedly the hologram of Leonardo da Vinci which tells visitors the story of the great artist.

Leonardo's birthplace
Leonardo’s birthplace (Photo by AlbaCiC / CC BY)

Leonardo’s house can be visited with the single ticket that also provides access to the Leonardo Museum in Vinci. For detailed information on timetables and prices, I refer you to the official website of the museum.

Museo Leonardiano in Vinci

The Leonardo Museum of Vinci is the second unmissable step in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci. Housed in two historic buildings such as the Conti Guidi’s Castle and the Palazzina Uzielli, the museum is dedicated to retracing the life and works of the great master, making use of the reconstruction of over 60 of his machines and projects as well as the reproduction of many of his works. Here there are often educational workshops, activities dedicated to children and very interesting temporary exhibitions.

Museo Leonardiano in Vinci
Museo Leonardiano in Vinci (Photo by Sailko / CC BY)

As well as the birthplace, the Leonardo Museum also makes extensive use of technological tools and there is also a dedicated app called “Museo Leonardo Vinci”, very rich in information on Leonardo and the museum.

Conti Guidi’s Castle

House of the Leonardian Museum since 1953 (year of opening of the museum), the Conti Guidi’s Castle hosts numerous models of Leonardo’s machines and some valuable works of art such as the Madonna with Child by Giovanni della Robbia and L’Uomo di Vinci, a great wooden culture by Mario Ceroli inspired by the famous Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci. Among the various machines reproduced inside the castle, we find the “automobile” wagon, the swing wing and a 1: 2 scale model of the tower crane used to complete the cusp of the dome of the Duomo of Florence. Also inside the castle we find the Biblioteca Leonardiana (library), an optical room dedicated to the studies conducted by Leonardo on light and, in the tower, a video room that projects documentaries about the great master. Finally, I recommend you climb to the top of the tower to enjoy a great view of the surrounding hills!

Conti Guidi's Castle in Vinci
Conti Guidi’s Castle (Photo by Sailko / CC BY)

What to see in the surroundings

If you are in the Vinci area, I suggest you also visit Cerreto Guidi, a pretty village with a beautiful sixteenth-century Medici Villa.

How to get to Vinci

By train and bus: with the train at most you can get to Empoli which is about 10 kilometers away; near the station of Empoli you can take the bus that takes you to Vinci (it takes 25-30 minutes).

By car: by car it is generally advisable to take the Florence-Pisa-Livorno (FI-PI-LI) to Empoli and then follow the signs for Vinci.

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