Callista italica, Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo gathered and studied nichi (fossilized seashells) “[…] in the cut in Gonzoli Hill carved out by the river Arno […]: in that cut one can clearly see the above mentioned strata of nichi in the light blue coloured mud, and one finds there various things of the sea […]” (Codex Leicester, f. 8B-8v).
This site located near Vinci, which later came to be called the “Spicchio quarry”, is not at present accessible.
Leonardo provided a scientific explanation for fossil-containing strata, one that anticipated the discipline of paleontology, and inveighed against the “sect of ignoramuses” who insisted that these deposits were laid down by the Great Flood

Texts by
Alessandro Vezzosi, in collaboration with Agnese Sabato / English translation by Lisa Chien