On the trail of a great man 

When are you to old for a bit of Road school ?

Today Paloma, our motorhome is parked in the free official Sosta in the small Tuscan hillside town of Vinci (N43.78087 E10.92843).

But why are we here? 

Looking for a stop over after leaving Florence, and we stumbled upon this interesting sounding museum, Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the greatest talents to emerge from the Italian Renaissance. Not only was he hugely influential as an artist and sculptor, but he was also an inventor, mathematician and engineer.

Of course, he is most remembered for the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and the Vitruvian Man.

 His sketches of prototype helicopters, bicycle, parachutes, a machine gun and tank were considered ahead of his time, 500 years before they were invented. (Yep I said bicycle- more on that one later) .

And the mans talents didn’t end there he wrote about anatomy as well 

His focus on anatomy was in order to paint the human body more accurately. The mixture of science and art is evident in his works and if it wasn’t for all his artwork which survives today, his legacy could have been as a scientist.

Ok so it’s not an art gallery, but Museo Leonardiano is dedicated to his scientific discoveries and inventions. 

The museum brings to life many of da Vinci’s innovative designs in an exhibition models reproduce from his sketches. 

Many are matched  by animations on video screens perhaps designed to work alongside the numerous ‘don’t touch’ signs to help people keep their hands in pockets, well some people as I always got far to involved in how they might work and kept spinning the cogs and wheels- as Michele looked on in fear, but no fun police appeared today !

After spending a couple of hours looking (and touching ) the models of the machines we climbed the tower that is part of castle, Conti Guidio get the best view over the town, and even Michele agrees the 120 steps were worth it …

Just behind the musem you will notice a wooden sulpture of the Vitruvian Man, a drawing by Leonardo in which he represented a man with the ideal proportions. From this terrace, you can enjoy a wonderful panorama of the surrounding hills, good will we ever tire of the view? 

We finished off our day with a walk around the rest of the town where you will find the Church of Santa Croce apprently Leonardo da Vinci was baptized here and the bronze monument sitting in Piazza della Libertà called Leonardo’s Horse. 

The bike question …….

Ummm that bike , an interesting story emerged the uncomfortable-looking  impossible to operate contraption demonstrates all the key features, with the exception of steering, of a bike, but bikes only came on the scene 300 years later, so it turns out it might be a hoax. 

Everyone still seems to agree Leonardo didn’t draw the sketch of the bike  but nevertheless the model bike stays in the museum and unless you ask ……

Included in our €11 euro ticket price is entrance to the birth place of this great man ,the home of Leonardo isn’t found within the town of Vinci, it is just outside its center on the foothills of Montalbano in a village called Anchiano. Here, Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 as an illegitimate child of a domestic servant and Sir Piero da Vinci, owner of the house at that time.

So what did we learn / here are few cool facts about the man ……

  • He was unschooled.
  • Most of his works was unfinished.
  • He had a militant side ( googled his war horse) 

So another perfect slice of Italy !


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