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anna_moon Vinci - A travel report by Polly
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Vinci,  Italy - flag Italy
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anna_moon's travel reports

Vinci - Birthplace of Leonardo

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Perched in the mountains west of Firenze, Vinci is an unimposing little town known best for being the birthplace of the first great artist of the Renaissance – Leonardo da Vinci. We ended up there by a happy accident, and enjoyed both the look into the life of the world’s truest “Renaissance Man”, and into the small town life of Tuscany.

Favourite spots:
Vinci travelogue picture
When we learned Vinci was only 3 kilometers from where we were staying, we decided to go and see the Leonardo da Vinci museum. Those expecting the master’s paintings will be disappointed. Instead the museum, located in the castle Conti Guidi, is filled with copies of Leonardo’s drawings, and working models based on them. The Romanesque castle setting adds to the flavor, with stone walls, wooden beams, and a tall bell tower.

What's really great:
Of the models, my favorites were the clock and the often photographed tank. The upstairs rooms are impressive, with the models for underwater exploration, and of course, a flying machine (essentially a giant pair of bat wings). On a somewhat humorous note, fans of the movie “Ever After” will recognize many of the contraptions on display. The view of the countryside from the castle walls is also breathtaking. The gift shop here is better than most, and is full of postcards, prints, and even a working clock modeled off da Vinci’s own design.

Sights:
The museum serves as the centerpiece of the town, but Vinci is also just a pleasant little Tuscan village. We missed out on the short hike to Leonardo’s birthplace at Anchiano. We were told there’s not much more to see than a rebuilt cottage, but I still think it would have been a nice pilgrimage.

Accommodations:
After the horrible night spent in Pistoia, we were incredibly lucky to find an (air-conditioned) hotel in the tiny town of Lamporecchio, 3 km away from Vinci. The Hotel Antico Masetto had just been renovated, and was cool, clean, and as modern as anything you’d find in the states. The rooms were beautifully furnished, the walls were hung with prints of Leonardo’s work, and the hotel staff was extremely friendly and helpful. The hotel seemed empty, which given its out-of-the-way location, it probably was. A wonderful bargain for the price we paid, and a great place to stay if you’re planning on going to Vinci.

The town of Lamporecchio, though modern, seemed to be a true Italian town, untouched by tourism. The morning market was full of interesting odds and ends – shoes and demitasse sets. When we went out to dinner at night, we were certainly the only Americans around, and the food (both nights) was excellent.

Restaurants:
In Vinci, we had lunch at an unremarkable little café off the square with the equestrian statue. The food was good though (especially the prosciutto sliced off the larger hunk of meat as you watched), and sitting outside on the square was pleasant. We ate out twice in Lamporecchio; the first night at a pizza place directly across from the hotel that served standard pizza (anchovies, onions and black olives for me). The second night, we ate at a restaurant called 'Sciu Scia' several blocks away, and had what was perhaps our best meal in Italy. The staff spoke no English, and we spoke as little Italian, so much pointing was involved. After the thin pita-like bread for an appetizer came the prosciutto and melon, and the bruschetta with six or seven different spreads (made of olives, fresh tomato, meat pastes). For the main course, all sorts of pasta - lasagna, arribiata - then fruit, expresso and a tall shot of limoncella on the house to wrap it up.

Published on Thursday October 23th, 2003


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Fri, Oct 24 2003 - 03:41 AM rating by marianne

I liked reading this, and must admit I had never heard of this place. may be because I have not travelled extensively in Italy. I'll keep this place in minde next time I'm in Italy.

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