Located halfway between Empoli and Pistoia, Vinci is a pretty village nestled in the suggestive Tuscan countryside, on the slopes of the Montalbano massif. The village, one of the most beautiful in Italy, is famous throughout the world for being the birthplace of one of the greatest geniuses of humanity, Leonardo, who gained the first inspirations for his studies here. Vinci is ideal for those who want to explore the countryside with its vineyards and olive groves but also for those who love culture, in fact, within its territory there are many things to see.
Its history revolves around the Castle of the Counts Guidi, built around the year 1000 and which still today distinguishes the historic village with its walls and high central tower. Known as the “ship’s castle” due to its particular shape, it houses a ceramic Madonna and Child by Giovanni della Robbia. Since 1953 it has been one of the headquarters of the Leonardian Museum, which houses one of the largest collections in the world of Leonardo’s models, reconstructed following the indications of his precious drawings. Another location of the museum is set up in the Uzielli building, named after the historian Gustavo Uzielli, one of the leading Leonardo da Vinci scholars of the second half of the nineteenth century. The Palazzina overlooks the spectacular Piazza dei Guidi, designed by the famous contemporary artist Mimmo Paladino.
The museum itinerary also includes: the “Leonardo and Painting” section in the historic residence of Villa del Ferrale, halfway between Vinci and Anchiano, where you can admire high-resolution and life-size reproductions of all the paintings and some drawings by Leonardo; and the birthplace of Leonardo, nestled among the centuries-old olive trees of Montalbano in the hamlet of Anchiano. Other places linked to the great genius include: the Leonardian Library, which houses the entire corpus of Leonardo’s handwritten codes; and Piazza del Castello, with the sculpture “L’Uomo di Vinci” by Mario Ceroli which refers to the famous Leonardo drawing of the Vitruvian Man.
Among the religious buildings of Vinci certainly deserve a visit: the Church of Santa Croce, built in the 13th century even if today it has a neo-Renaissance style due to the numerous restorations, inside which there is the baptismal font where the tradition he wants Leonardo to have been baptized; and the Sanctuary of the Santissima Annunziata, dating back to the 16th century.
In addition to the many things to see, Vinci also hosts interesting events, among which the following stand out: the Poetry Festival in March, the Lettura Vinciana in April, the Unicorn Festival with shows, games and historical re-enactments in July; and Calici di Stelle in August.