Leonardo da Vinci and Ciclismo Classico: The Discovery of Genius
This past May, much of Europe celebrated the 500th anniversary of one of the world’s most iconic engineer-artists: Leonardo da Vinci.
As an artist, Leonardo was a pioneer. Most of his ingeniousness lay in his scientific approach to painting. It is no secret that da Vinci was an avid student of nature. He constantly studied the flow of water and the motions of bird wings in flight.
In the 1500s, digital photography was inexistent (actually, all photography was inexistent). Leonardo’s precision drawings helped scientists and doctors to better understand the natural world visually.
You could almost argue he was more an inventor than an artist.
Ciclismo Classico brings you to the heart of Leonardo’s residences. From his birth home in Tuscany to his last resting place in Amboise, France.
If you are ever looking to discover and celebrate the brilliance of this intellectual powerhouse, be sure to check out the following trips. They take you closer to Leonardo da Vinci that you previously imagined:
Florence and Tuscany
Da Vinci was born in the little village of Anchiano, just outside the town of Vinci. In his youth, he was apprenticed to Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence and made a name for himself at a young age.
Florence is where he lived and trained, and is also where Ciclismo Classico stops on a number of trips.
Our Epic Italy advanced departure takes you straight into the heart of this beautiful renaissance city. While there, take time to check out the Museo Galileo where there is an exhibition on Da Vinci’s books.
If you travel some 30 miles west of Florence, you’ll come to the town of Vinci to visit Leonardo’s birth home in Anchiano and the museum dedicated to his life.
Tuscany Bike Tours
Our Heart of Tuscany tour starts deep in Chianti country. It eventually makes its way through Siena and the beautiful village of San Quirico d’Orcia in the Crete Senesi. This gives you the perfect opportunity to add our Florence package and enjoy the museums of Leonardo before the trip begins. This way you can fill-up on culture before meeting your fellow travelers.
Or how about a shorter Tuscany excursion with our Assaggio Toscana destination? This vacation is a classic Ciclismo Classico Tuscany itinerary with shorter days. It gives you plenty of time to do whatever you’d like to do before or after the trip is over. It also gives you the chance to see first-hand Ponte Buriano: the bridge that inspired Leonardo to use it as the backdrop in the Mona Lisa.
However, a perfect side trip to any overnight stay in Florence is the opportunity to discover Fiesole. This town was da Vinci’s testing ground.
Leonardo was adept at art, but he was exceptional at designing mechanical vehicles and other technological devices. He was an avid thinker and creator, making numerous sketches of inventions from lens grinders to the first underwater scuba suit.
He also designed man’s approach to flight via the helicopter and wrote a Codex on Flight, presently held at the Smithsonian.
Yet, it was here in Fiesole (precisely, near the Montececeri quarries) that Leonardo tested his ideas. According to his writings, Tommaso Masini – a pupil of Da Vinci’s – tested the contraptions. He flew over 1,000 meters before landing abruptly. But don’t worry: he died of cholera so we can consider Leonardo’s airplane a success!
The Loire Valley
Many people don’t realize Leonardo spent the last years of his life not in Italy, but France, just south of Paris.
He is buried in the chapel of Amboise Castle.
Leonardo da Vinci spent a good portion of his life in Milan, at the court of the Sforzo Family.
But in 1515, when the city of Milan was Captured by the French, King Francis I commissioned Leonardo to return with him to the royal palace at Amboise.
To sweeten the deal, the King also promised da Vinci a private residence at the Manor House Clos Lucé.
Surprisingly, Leonardo da Vinci accepted and moved with the King to Amboise.
Ciclismo Classico visits da Vinci’s final resting place on its departure to the Loire Valley. We spend three wonderful days in Amboise, with our second day touring the royal chateâu and discussing the relationship between Francois I and Leonardo. We then walk to the chapel to see da Vinci’s tomb.
King Francois I may have also commissioned Leonardo for help in designing the double-helix staircase at Chambord.
An impressive architectural masterpiece, no other cylindrical study had been conducted during that time except for da Vinci’s study on turbines and his research on helicopters. Although unconfirmed, this work may be also attributed to the Tuscan master.
Be sure to check out Ciclismo Classico’s Loire Valley tour, or our destinations to Tuscany for more information. Or contact our office – they will tell you even more about this fascinating Renaissance Man!