Today the ancient localities of Limite and La Castellina form one single hamlet, part of the municipality of Capraia e Limite. The history of these settlements dates back to the Early Middle Ages when, near the right bank of the first large meander of the Arno River, downstream from La Gonfolina, the interests of aristocratic families originating from Pistoia and of the bishop of that city were concentrated. In the Leonardian map of the Windsor Castle Collection RL 12685 representing this part of the Arno, Leonardo represents, at one of the meanders just above Capraia, a turreted village marked by the toponym castellina, however there is no trace of the community of Limite, which at the time was clustered around the church of San Lorenzo.
The particular conformation of the Arno in the stretch around Limite was certainly decisive in the development of activities related to river boat construction. This is because the river bent in a particular way at that point, forming a double meander, the first of which widened, at the shores of Limite, into a unique expense of water having almost no disturbing currents. This natural river basin was perfect for the set up of the industry that today we would call shipbuilding. The double meander of the Arno at Limite can be seen in many of Leonardo’s maps of the Arno Valley for the renowned project for a navigable canal from Florence to Pisa, such as, for example, that of the double folio in Codex Madrid II, ff. 22v-23r, or the famous bird’s eye view in the Windsor Castle Collection (RL 12685). The numerous Leonardian images of the bends of the river between Limite and Pontorme slightly precede the operations of rectification that have canceled the second meander. Inside the remains of that deep curve of the river, the paleo-meander identified by the toponym Arnovecchio, today there is a naturalistic oasis curated by the Centro di Ricerca Documentazione e Promozione del Padule di Fucecchio (Research Center for Documentation and Promotion of the Fucecchio Marsh), where it is possible to observe flora and fauna typical of marsh wetlands.
In 1981, near Empoli, the wreck of a navicello (small ship) for river navigation was found, quite similar to the one drawn by Leonardo on one of the folios of the Codex Atlanticus (f. 27 r).