Vinci Travel Guide

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The town is situated on the slopes of Montalbano, surrounded by an agricultural landscape which has remained unaltered since the last century and the system of share cropping has allowed it to remain virtually intact until the present day, with agricultural production traditionally based on Chianti wine and extra-virgin olive oil.

In this context there is a widespread network of footpaths and cycle paths which can be used to reach hillside villages surrounded by dense vegetation, archaeological sites, ancient woods such as the ilex wood of Pietramarina. Some of the itineraries start directly from Vinci. Path number 14, with the first part called Strada Verde (1hour round trip), takes you to the Casa natale di Leonardo (Birthplace of Leonardo).

Modern day Vinci is still dominated by the primitive construction of the Castle of the Guidi Counts, dating back to the late Middle Ages when the town was conquered by Florence and changed into a Commune. After many changes of command and modifications the original castle returned to the ownership of the Commune of Vinci in 1919 and since 1953 it has been the seat of the Museo Leonardiano.

Inside we can still see frescoed and sculpted coats of arms, and the splendid ceramic Madonna and Child by Giovanni della Robbia.

3 km from Vinci, in the area of Anchiano, the Casa Natale di Leonardo can be integrated into a visit to the Museum. The building, surrounded by an attractive hillside panorama, contains a permanent educational show. The Biblioteca Leonardiana completes our cultural itinerary. It is a documentation centre specialised in the works of Leonardo, and is a meeting place for scholars both from Italy and abroad.

This library is one of the largest and most original collections of designs by Leonardo the Inventor, the Technologist and the Engineer. The machines on show are organised into different sectors of study and the large collection of Leonardo's drawings is just as vast and versatile, showing how the artist used to note down his intuitions or adapt and refine machinery and mechanisms that had been handed down from the technical literature of the 1400s.

At the start of the itinerary a large panel shows the important steps in the life and works of Leonardo in relation to the main historical cultural and social events of the time. But the visitor's attention is immediately caught by the models of Leonardo's machines, from war machines to ship-building equipment and scientific instruments.

The theme presented in the first-floor rooms is more homogeneous: Leonardo and machines for moving air, water, and on land, three different sections of research organically exhibited in a second panel dedicated to the Course of Technology from 1300 to the start of the 20th century.

The video room and the video library, which allow documentaries on Leonardo to be shown on request, contains 8 models of solid figures designed for the De Divina Proportione of Luca Pacioli.

With the opening of a New Section of the Leonardo Museum, the museum complex with the Library can be seen as a complete documentation centre on Leonardo and his age, as well as a location for educational programmes in the cultural heritage sector. The new buildings contain a multimedia laboratory and a well equipped teaching room.

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