Dedicated to one of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance, the Leonardo Museum (Museo Leonardiano di Vinci) is housed in two adjacent buildings—Palazzina Uzielli and Castello dei Conti Guidi—in the historic center of Vinci. The collection features models of Leonardo’s weaponry, clocks, and flying machines, as well as his drawings and notes.
The Museo Leonardiano in Leonardo da Vinci’s hometown showcases the genius of Italy's original Renaissance man, with sections where you can discover his inventions in construction and textile manufacturing, timepieces, and machines of war, and explore his innovations in architecture, mechanics, and flight. In addition, there are sections devoted to da Vinci’s scientific studies of optics and land and water transportation. Many of the displays are paired with digital animations and interactive applications, and the museum route ends in the video room, where Leonardo’s Renaissance technologies are brought to life in film.
Vinci is just 40 minutes from Florence, from where the Leonardo Museum is a popular day trip. It’s also a stop on some general sightseeing tours from Florence or shore excursions from Livorno that can also include the Tuscan towns of Pisa, Lucca, and San Gimignano. Family-friendly private tours of Florence and Tuscany often incorporate a visit to this interactive museum along with Leonardo’s birthplace. Vinci is also home to the Leonardo Library (Biblioteca Leonardiana), where you can view a limited selection of historical documents and publications.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Leonardo Museum is a must for science and engineering buffs.
- Because of the many interactive and multimedia displays, the Leonardo Museum is especially fun for kids.
- Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather if planning on walking between the museum in Vinci and Leonardo’s birthplace in nearby Anchiano.
- The museum is fully accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
The Leonardo Museum is located on Piazza dei Guidi in Vinci, a pretty hilltop town about 18 miles (30 kilometers) west of Florence. It is easily accessible by car along the Florence-Livorno highway; exit at Empoli.
When to Get There
The museum is open every day of the year. The town of Vinci holds the annual Leonardo Celebrations during the weeks marking the anniversaries of Leonardo's birth (April 15, 1452) and death (May 2, 1519) with special exhibitions, conferences, shows, and guided tours.
Casa Natale di Leonardo is in the village of Anchiano, 2 miles (3 kilometers) outside of Vinci. The state-of-the-art exhibit here focuses on Leonardo the artist, with a multimedia review of his life and achievements, and interactive digital representations of his famous works, including The Last Supper and his “lost” painting, The Battle of Anghiari.