The new Museo Leonardo e il Rinascimento del vino is located in Sant’Ippolito in Valle, a village named after its Romanesque church, nestled in the beautiful Tuscan landscape not far from the Etruscan–Roman settlement of Petroio. The building that houses the museum forms part of a construction that originally belonged to the Uguccioni family, descendants of Bernardo di Uguccione di Lippo, the Priore delle Arti in Florence as in 1444, and Giovanni Uguccioni, who wedded Nannina Rucellai, the great-granddaughter of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Now known as Villa Da Vinci, it stands not far from an ancient chapel that is mentioned as being dedicated to SS. Ippolito and Cassiano in a papal bull issued by Celestine III on 8 June 1152.
As part of the preparations to mark the 5th centenary of the death of the artist-scientist, the building has been completely renovated to provide an independent exhibition space to complement the permanent displays in the Museo Ideale Leonardo Da Vinci located in Vinci, the village where the artist was born.
In the spring of 2019 a special exhibition will be inaugurated by the Museo Leonardo – Il Rinascimento del Vino – which will document and present in fuller detail some of the less well-known aspects of Leonardo’s protean activities, in particular his interest in agriculture, which played an important role in his life and his studies. His father, a wealthy notary, was the proprietor of many vineyards and olive groves in the area around Vinci, Bacchereto di Carmignano, and San Zio di Cerreto Guidi. As a child Leonardo took a lively interest in all that went on around him. He observed nature and amused himself by producing stories and predictions of the future, rebuses and allegories. He also studied the technical side of farming, watching how his father’s vines were tended in his estates from Vigevano to Cesena and even jotting down reflections on the processes of enology. He made sketches of traditional tools and presses and thought up innovative variations. Later in life the artist-scientist himself would become the proprietor of vineyards in the area.
After presenting some historic background on agriculture in Tuscany and the area around Vinci, il Museo Leonardo e il Rinascimento del Vino (The Renaissance of Wine) will focus on viticulture and enology practices during the period of Medici rule, including the illustration of seventy-four varieties of grapes that were traditionally cultivated in the region, some of which are cited in Leonardo’s manuscripts.