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The history
Surrounded by the Montalbano hundred-year-old olive trees, in a landscape suspended in time, still very similar to the one Leonardo knew, Leonardo’s house in Anchiano is the symbol of the close relationship he had with his hometown. In this coutryhouse, still displaying the original coat of arms of the Da Vinci family, Leonardo was born on April 15th, 1452, love child of Ser Piero da Vinci and Caterina.

The ancient complex, whose existence is attested already in 1427, was the property of the da Vinci family for over 150 years. The tradition of the House of Anchiano as the birthplace of Leonardo is rooted in the centuries and became established definitively during the 1800s, so much so that, already in 1845 the historian and geographer Emanuele Repetti to whom we owe the publication of the Dizionario geografico, fisico e storico della Toscana, wrote:

I wished to visit that house where, people say, that great man was born, so I went to Vinci and specifically in the Masetti del Ferrale estate where, in one of those houses in the Anchiano farm, he was born, although, since he was born illegitimate from a housemaid, we are left in doubt on whether his mother lived at that time in that house, or instead the family of Leonardo’s father, during the time when his first wife was alive.

The old mansion, which remained property of the Da Vinci family for over 150 years, as comfirmed by the coat of arms that is still visible here, is part of the Houses of Memory Association, which gathers more than fifty historical houses of illustrious people. 

A few years later, in 1872 the historian Gustavo Uzielli and the painter Telemaco Signorini, were in Vinci in search of Leonardo's memories. The publication 1872. Gita a Vinci is a real diary that collects not only the fruits of their investigations, but also testimonies and tasty stories like the one that recalls Giuseppe Garibaldi's stay in Vinci in 1867

"Here is what Garibaldi did: at four in the morning he would get up, take a cold shower and, via Botanica, take a trip to Anchiano to Leonardo's house to try to buy, he said: something of the genius of that great man [...] "

A few decades later, in 1939, Emil Möller published the results of his research carried out at the State Archives of Florence, including the sensational discovery of the Annotation of Leonardo's birth written by his grandfather Antonio da Vinci on the last page of the notarial register of his father. The document clarified once and for all the date and place of birth of Leonardo, who certainly came to light in Vinci, as evidenced by the name of the priest who baptized him and witnesses at baptism. But the question of the house of birth was rekindled: had Leonardo been born in the rural house of Anchiano or in the house that the da Vinci owned near the Castle of the Guidi? The heated dispute between Möller and Renzo Cianchi, librarian of the Leonardian and tireless historian, lasted for years. Until 1950, the owners of the Ferrale estate, the Rasini da Castelcampo counts, decided to donate the Casa di Anchiano to the Comune of Vinci, in order to create a museum dedicated to Leonardo. Major restorations followed, supervised by the architect Giulio Ulisse Arata under the supervision of the Monuments Superintendence.

Solemnly inaugurated on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the birth of Leonardo, on 15 April 1952, in the presence of the then President of the Republic Luigi Einaudi and Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi, the House of Anchiano thus became the place of memory par excellence of the link between Vinci and Leonardo.