Vinci, Home Town of Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci is one of Italy's most famous artists and Renaissance figures but people often aren't aware that his name comes from his place of birth, Vinci, a small town in Tuscany. Thus his name is Leonardo of Vinci where he was born in 1452. The town of Vinci has been awarded the Bandiera Arancione by Touring Club Italiano for its touristic qualities and ambiance.
Leonardo's work includes paintings, frescoes, drawings, blueprints, machines, and early technological inventions. There are several places where you can see works by Leonardo da Vinci in Italy but a good place to start might be with a visit to Vinci.
Where is Vinci?
Vinci is about 35 kilometers west of Florence. If you're coming by car, take the FI-PI-LI (the road that runs between Florence and Pisa) and exit at Empoli east if coming from Florence or Empoli west if coming from Pisa direction. It's about 10 kilometers north of Empoli (you can see Empoli on our Tuscany rail map).
If you're traveling by train you can take a train to Empoli (from Florence or Pisa) and then take a bus, currently line 49, to Vinci from Empoli Stazione FS to Vinci, here's the Copit bus web site (in Italian).
Museo Leonardiano - Museum of Leonardo da Vinci
Museo Leonardiano, the museum of Leonardo da Vinci, is easy to find in Vinci's small historic center. Exhibits are displayed in a new entrance hall where you'll see textile manufacturing machines and on three floors of the Castello dei Conti Guidi, a 12th century castle. In the museum you'll see many drawings and over 60 models, both small and large, for his inventions that include military machines and machines for travel.
Leonardino Museum Hours: The museum currently (2010) opens at 9:30 every day except Christmas and New Year's Day (when it's open from 3:00 to 7:00 PM). Closing times are 6:00 PM in winter and 7:00 PM in summer. Tickets in 2010 cost 6 euro.
Check the Museo Leonardiano web site for updated times and prices (orari e tariffe).
La Casa Natale di Leonardo - House where Leonardo was Born
La Casa Natale di Leonardo is the small farm house where Leonardo was born on 15 April 1452. It's 3 kilometers from Vinci in the locality of Anchiano (follow signs). It can also be reached by a footpath through olive groves. Opening times are the same as the museum above and admission is free as of 2010.
Vinci Historic CenterBe sure to take time to walk around Vinci's small historic center where visit Piazza Giusti where you'll see works by Mimmo Paladino. Leonardo is thought to have been baptised in the church of Santa Croce. Around the center there are restaurants and bars, shops, tourist information, public restrooms, parking lots, and a park with picnic area. You can also visit the small Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci (open 10:00 to 1:00 and 3:00 to 7:00 in the old castle cellars that has a private collection of documents and reconstructions).
Where to Stay in Vinci
- Bed and Breakfast Leonardo (read reviews and book direct) is 900 meters from the historic center of Vinci.
- Hotel Mona Lisa (read reviews and book direct) is a 3-star hotel a short walk from the town.
- Farm House Il Piastrino (read reviews and book direct) has rooms and apartments on their farm surrounded by olive groves and vineyards.