Vinci: Leonardo’s Home Town

Vinci is a tiny Tuscan town among hills of olives and vines, and it is, of course famous as the home of Leonardo da Vinci.

Of course, you remember his famous Mona Lisa, but Leonardo wasn’t just a genius painter, he was one of the greatest scientific minds in history, the ultimate Renaissance man in search of everything but with a reputation for never finishing anything.  It’s not that he was flaky, it’s just that he got bored.  He was too clever for his own good.

The 11th century Castello Guidi houses a Museum dedicated to Leonardo who was born here in 1452 and over 100 models of the master’s inventions.

Leonardo could imagine six impossible things before breakfast daily.  This man literally invented the parachute in a page margin doodle.

Flying was one of Da Vinci’s greatest obsessions.  One of his biggest dreams was to make men fly.  The enormous wings  he designed like bats’ wings come very close to being the modern hang-glider.  The problem at the time was that he couldn’t find lightweight materials to make it happen.

All this innovative ideas got him into trouble with the Vatican who accused him of witchcraft on more than one occasion and made it hard for him to get work.

But like everybody else, our genius had to eat and all through his life he was looking for fame, fortune and a deep pursed patron.  In Venice, he proposed attacking the Turkish fleet that was threatening the city with an army of divers dressed in leather suits.  The Venetians were unimpressed.

So Leonardo decided to design war toys for ruthless Cesare Borgia and whoever else was prepared to pay.  But like  many  of his designs his military tanks were not practical for the time.


Destination – Italy