Vinci, Italy Review – For All Things Leonardo, and Village Charm

 

Learning about Leonardo da Vinci may be the draw that brings you to the town,  but actually you’d probably find it a charming village to linger in even if it didn't have this historic connection to the famed artist and inventor.

 

 

You see it arising from the hilly countryside, perhaps appearing in much the same way as it did for Leonardo. 

 

 

But this IS Leonardo’s home and all things Leonardo are the cottage industry of Vinci

 

 

You can visit his birthplace, and be reminded that genius can be born and bred in modest surrounds. 

 

 

The town’s Vinci museum that showcases Leonardo’s many inventions, and not his art per se, is broken up into sections including machines for textiles, building, war, and many other mechanical devices. 

 

 

 

You get to ponder the things that captured the imagination of Da Vinci and his Renaissance peers, from the first aerodynamic studies in water to optics and flight. 

 

 

 

The audio-video guide seems essential to get the most out of the museum. 

 

 

There are also video displays throughout that show you the various machines in motion. 

 

 

This museum seems to be a magnet for school trips, which has both a plus and minus for the average tourist. The teachers or guides seem to have clearance to work the various machines that otherwise are hands-off territory.  If you linger near the school group you’ll get to see more of the machines in action. Then again, well-behaved though the children may be, doing so does cut into your ability to do a peaceful self-guided tour.

 

 

Curiously, for those of us with a more superficial knowledge of Da Vinci before arrival, what comes across most in this museum is not that notion that Da Vinci was a genius, which you already knew.  Rather, it’s how his various inventions were in response to works by others, giving you a peephole into the Renaissance conversations when so much was again new.   Those must have been truly exciting times, picking up a trail of innovation that had been cold since the time of the Romans!

Scenic Vinci is also not far from either Pisa or Florence, making this a calmer place to stay in Tuscany when you first arrive or are about to depart.   If you’re doing a Tuscany tour this is a recommended add to the itinerary.

Also, this was one of the most helpful tourist offices we found in Tuscany, with several bi-lingual staffers. To reach them

 

Ufficio Turistico Intercomunale

Le Terre del Rinascimento

Via della Torre, 11 - 50059 Vinci (FI)

tel. 0571 568012; fax 0571 567930

 

Photos:  Courtesy of Ufficio Turistico Intercomunale Le Terre del Rinascimento, unless otherwise indicated

 

 

 

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