Leonardo fans can visit the artist’s hometown of Vinci – and the suburb in which he was born, Anchiano, where there is a small house-museum (the Casa Natale di Leonardo) with multimedia installations about him. A side note – many mistakenly call him “Da Vinci”, but he is properly referred to as Leonardo, his name, rather than by the town’s name, which is not actually his last name.
In Vinci, don’t miss the Museo Leonardiano, which displays a collection of models based on Leonardo’s designs for machines used in war, civil engineering, flight, optics, and the movement of water.
Outside of Florence, you can go for a hike on the hillside of Montececeri, in the municipality of Fiesole. Leonardo often walked here, observing animals and water. His observation of birds in these forests led him to develop his “flying machine”, a winged contraption to strap to a human. The inventor’s own Codex on the Flight of Birds recounts that he had his assistant Tommaso Masini test his flying machine here, launching off a high part of Montececeri. Accounts tell us that Masini managed to fly for about 1000 meters, landing at a lower point of the hill where, on the road that leads from Florence to Fiesole, a plaque recalls the episode.
Travelling along the coast, in Piombino, you can discover another important facet of Leonardo –that of military engineer, employed in projects for the defense of the city. His duties as an engineer led him also to Calci, near Pisa, where he worked on projects that were not always successful, such as the deviation of the river Arno, and the reinforcement of the Verruca fortresses. Additional ideas for a Leonardo-inspired itinerary in our region can be found in the pdf Leonardo in Tuscany.