Artimino, now in the Commune of Carmignano, was an Etruscan city overlooking the Arno Valley and the Golfolina pass, whose importance is evidenced by Leonardo in the Codex Leicester. He represents it on map RL 12685 (Windsor Castle) and indicates it in Madrid Ms. II (f. 23r). It conserves the Romanesque Pieve di San Leonardo and parts of a medieval stronghold. The Medicean villa built by Buontalenti for Grand Duke Ferdinando I, in the second half of the 16th century, is an imposing structure.
Bacchereto, in the Commune of Carmignano, was an important centre of artistic ceramics, in which Leonardo's paternal grandmother and then his father possessed farms and a kiln; it may be presumed that Leonardo's experience of art began here.
Capraia was an ancient stronghold that - as an outpost of Pistoia - controlled road and river traffic at the confluence of the Pesa with the Arno, where Montalbano terminated opposite the stronghold of Montelupo built in 1203 by the Florentines. Leonardo represents it on map RL 12685 (Windsor Castle); without naming it, on the recomposed folio of the Codex Atlanticus (765v + 766r); he indicates it in Madrid Ms. II (23r), again in relation to the project for deviating the Arno; and mentions it in Madrid Ms. II (f. 15r) along with the nearby "Monastero" (that is, the remains of the Monastery of San Giorgio with its bell tower, still recognisable today on the right bank of the Arno) and in the Codex Leicester (6A-31v) for its geological characteristics.
One of the major historic-artistic centres of Leonardo's Montalbano, bordering on Vinci, Carmignano conserves the fortress and the church of San Michele e San Francesco dating from the 15th century, with Pontormo's "Visitation".
Castellina is a place of Etruscan origin, an ancient stronghold close to today's Limite sull'Arno, the administrative centre of the Commune of Capraia e Limite (bordering on that of Vinci), on the connecting road along the right bank of the Arno, from Vinci to Montelupo. Leonardo represents it on map RL 12685 (Windsor Castle) and indicates it on f. 23r of Madrid Ms. II.
Castra was an ancient town situated in the network of roads traversing Leonardo's Montalbano between Vinci, Castellina and San Giusto. Leonardo represents it on map RL 12685 (Windsor Castle) and on f. 23r of Madrid Ms. II.
Cecina, in the Commune of Larciano, formed part of the Montalbano sighting and defence system over the Padule di Fucecchio and the Val di Nievole. Leonardo represents it on maps RL 12279, 12685 (Windsor Castle) and in Madrid Ms. II (ff. 3r and 23r).
Fornia only appears on a map on f. 23r of the Codex Madrid II, where Leonardo mistakenly exchanges its position for that of Verghereto. Fornia is a small hamlet belonging to the Commune of Carmignano. It lies on the western slope of Montalbano, below Pietramarina and the Abbey of San Giusto, providing an ideal vantage point overlooking the plain between Florence and Prato.
Lamporecchio is a commune bordering on that of Vinci, with which it shared the "Popolo di Orbignano", where the Da Vinci house stood at Costareccia, already before the birth of Leonardo. In the church of Santa Maria a Orbignano, Leonardo could see works influenced by Giotto's school and Donatello's workshop. In this boundary zone between Florence and Pistoia, the ancient centre of Lamporecchio was the Castelvecchio (probably the one mentioned by Leonardo on f. 3r of Madrid Ms. II), below Porciano, opposite the fortifications of Collicelli. The famous drawing of August 5, 1473, represents a view of the Val di Nievole and the Padule di Fucecchio from Montalbano; although the landscape is idealised, one of the most probable points of view is found above Porciano. In addition to "Lanpolachio" on map RL 12685 (Windsor Castle), Leonardo indicates "Lamporechio" on f. 23r of Madrid Ms. II.
Larciano is a Montalbano stronghold that dominates the Padule di Fucecchio and the Val di Nievole, on the route between Lamporecchio and Monsummano Terme - Serravalle Pistoiese. It may be that Leonardo represents it idealised in the drawing dated August 5, 1473; he indicates it on map RL 12685 (Windsor Castle) and in Madrid Ms. II (f. 23r), in connection with the project for deviating the Arno into a canal running through Pistoia and Serravalle.
The unusual cone-shaped hill whose village and medieval castle, Monsummano Alto, overlooks the hamlet of Monsummano Terme constituted an important landmark in Leonardo’s maps and in his childhood memories of the landscape extending west from Vinci. This hill can in fact be recognized in the background of the very first drawing by the artist that bears a date: Paesaggio, 5 agosto 1473 (GDSU, P8). No annotations accompany the drawing, but the outline of the hill corresponds exactly with the one that appears on map RL 12685 in the Windsor collection, which Leonardo has labeled “Mon Somano”. The same hill appears in Codex Madrid II (f. 3r) and on folio RL 12279 (Royal Collection, Windsor Castle).
Montevettolini, in the Commune of Monsummano Terme, was a medieval stronghold of Montalbano, which developed subsequently also with the insertion of a Medicean villa. It dominated the Padule di Fucecchio and the Val di Nievole, on the route between Lamporecchio and Monsummano - Serravalle Pistoiese. Leonardo represents it on map RL 12685 (Windsor Castle) and indicates it in Madrid Ms. II (f. 23r). Some scholars have hypothesised that it could be the stronghold depicted in the landscape dated "the day of Our Lady of the Snow, 5 August 1473", but it differs too greatly from the one in the drawing, no matter how idealised. In the church of San Michele e San Lorenzo is a "Virgin and Child with Saints", a youthful work by Piero di Cosimo, which shows the influence of Leonardo in the figures and the landscape.
Poggio a Caiano
Leonardo represents, without naming it, the Medicean Villa (close to the Pistoian Ombrone and the possible destination of a second Arno Canal) built around 1485 by Giuliano da Sangallo for Lorenzo the Magnificent; and indicates it on maps RL 12279, 12685 (Windsor Castle) and f. 23r of Madrid Ms. II as "Caiano".
An important stronghold for controlling transit between Pistoia and Val di Nievole, Montalbano and the Apennines. Fundamental to the project for the Arno Canal, Serravalle appears on numerous maps (RL 12685, Codex Atlanticus, Madrid Ms. II). Leonardo could raise the level of the canal over the heights of Serravalle through a system of locks, as well as by "boring through the mountain" (Madrid Ms. I, f. 111r) or through a cut, the method used in antiquity. Among other things, he indicated Serravalle as the termination of a barrier formed by the Montalbano in ancient times to the lake occupying the plain of Prato and Pistoia, on the opposite side of the Golfolina pass (Codex Leicester, 9A-9r).
Leonardo represents the stronghold of Tizzana, now in the Commune of Quarrata, on map RL 12685 (Windsor Castle) and indicates it on RL 12279 and in Madrid Ms. II (f. 23r). The ancient Commune of Tizzana was united for long periods of time to that of Vinci, on which it bordered and with which it shared the Podesta. It was an ideal observation point over the plain between Prato and Pistoia in relation to the project for the Arno Canal.
A locality in the Commune of Carmignano, Verghereto was a small village among the places frequented by Leonardo in his childhood and at the time of the project for deviating the Arno. It is represented on map RL 12685 (Windsor Castle) and indicated in Madrid Ms. II (f. 23r).
Vinci is the birthplace of Leonardo, who spent several periods of his life here, from infancy to maturity. See thematic itineraries.
Vitolini, in the Commune of Vinci, is a stronghold close to, and in many ways similar to, Vinci, whose history and life it has shared. Leonardo represents it on map RL 12685 (Windsor Castle) and indicates it in Madrid Ms. II (f. 23r).