Arte e cultura

At Vinci, everything speaks of Leonardo’s genius

If you keep Vinci in you heart, it won’t be only because this lovely village in province of Florence hosts Podere Jana, a prestigious structure ready to offer you the best of an authentic Tuscan holiday. We are sure that Vinci will remain in your heart also because you will associate it to a great talented man, a Renaissance genius who will certainly charm you during your stay in his birthplace: Leonardo, who was born in Vinci on 15th April 1452 and was the first-born child of the illegitimate relationship between Piero, a wealthy 25-year old notary, and Caterina, a lower-class woman.

No one better than Leonardo da Vinci can embody the Renaissance spirit. And nowadays it is difficult to find a complete definition for the “roundness” of this character, with his many facets and abilities: Leonardo da Vinci was in fact painter, engineer, scientist, designer, inventor… and he stand out in all these roles more than any one else before and after him, so much so that he has always been universally considered as one of the greatest geniuses of mankind.

A few steps from Podere Jana you will be able to visit the fifteenth-century farmhouse where Leonardo was born, which is surrounded by the green hills of Montalbano and is placed in Anchiano, a little hamlet of Vinci: in fact, his house has long been the centre of a cultural pilgrimage aimed at discovering where Leonardo da Vinci’s creativity originated. Inside you can find a renovated museum – in fact, the genius’ native house is part of the route of the Museo Leonardiano, which was opened in 1953 – employing the most advanced multimedia technologies aimed at helping the tourist to approach Leonardo, so that he can appreciate his pictorial and graphic works. Near the ticket office, there is a special room where you can interact with the Last Supper; there are many other digital reproductions of Leonardo’s works to be consulted on-site.

As shown on the website, today Leonardo da Vinci is almost completely well known, except for two aspects: his private life and his relationship with his town. This museum is meant to fill the gap. How? By making Leonardo himself welcome visitors in his most intimate and personal universe in Anchiano: a full-size hologram will give voice to an old and tired Leonardo who, from his last house in Amboise, looks back over his past and comes back virtually to Anchiano to tell about the people he knew, his studies, and the episodes that bound him to these lands. In fact, the Arno Valley, Padule of Fucecchio, Vinci and Montalbano are often portrayed in Leonardo’s maps and landscape drawings.

Besides his house, there are many other places in Anchiano speaking of Leonardo da Vinci: among these ones there is the Biblioteca Leonardiana, an internationally known library visited by scholars and lovers of books and opened in 1928. Here you can find the facsimile reproduction of all Leonardo’s manuscripts and drawings, besides all the printed edition of his works.

There is also the Church of Santa Croce, whose Baptistery still keeps the 15th-century font where Leonardo da Vinci was baptized: this is testified by a plate carrying the words of his grand-father Antonio da Vinci. In Piazza della Libertà you can also admire a bronze monument by the sculptress Nina Akamu and inspired by the famous Leonardo’s horse drawings; moreover, mention should be made also of the Guidi’s square, overlooked by the Museo Leonardiano, inside the Uzielli small building. Here you can find the exhibition sections of the yard and textile technology machines; the rooms of this museum exhibit the different models by means of a story through images taken from the paintings and the manuscripts of that time, accompanied by digital animated reconstructions showing the machines functioning.