If one was asked to name a true genius, two names are likely to commonly come up, Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian polymath in the High Renaissance. He was a genius who was an engineer, scientist, theorist, draughtsman, painter, sculptor, and architect. He is an icon and symbol of the Renaissance and a truly remarkable man if ever there was one.

The saying goes, "Jack of all trades, master of none." But for Leonardo, nothing could have been further from the truth. He was the "Jack of all trades, master of all." He has had a huge influence on Western history with his impact still being felt today. Visiting the Leonardo Da Vinci Interactive Museum in his birthplace in Italy is a must for those passing through.

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About Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo was born out of wedlock - which was a big deal at the time. His father was a successful notary while his mother was a lower-class woman. He was educated in Florence by Andrea del Verrocchio - an Italian painter and sculptor. Florence is one of those stunning places in Italy that should be on everyone's bucket list of places to visit.

He had many contemporary followers and imitators - unlike so many people who only gain notoriety post-humously he was famous in his own time. He drew the attention and interest of people far and wide during the High Renaissance.

  • Lived: 15 April 1452 to 2 May 1519
  • Worked As An: Engineer, Scientist, Theorist, Draughtsman, Painter, Sculptor, and Architect
  • Born: Vinci, Near Florence in Italy

Leonardo epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. While he is particularly famous for his role as a painter he is also famous for his notebooks. He made many drawings and notes on a whole slew of topics including astronomy, botany, cartography, painting, anatomy, and even paleontology.

Related: Move Over Venice, Rome and Florence: 20 Love-ly Reasons To Visit Verona Instead

Today Leonardo is considered among the greatest painters in the entire history of art. He had one of the greatest influences on Western art.

Leonardo's Contributions

His influence on Western art is despite many of his works being lost and with less than 25 attributed major works today (some of which are unfinished). Some of his greatest works are:

  • Mona Lisa: Considered His Magnum Opus
  • The Last Supper: The Most Reproduced Religious Painting Of All Time
  • Vitruvian Man: Considered A Cultural Icon
  • Virgin of the Rocks: Two Paintings Of Mary and the Child Jesus
  • Salvator Mundi: Attributed in Whole Or In Part To Leonardo
  • Record: The Salvator Mundi Sold For $450.3 Million - A World Record For Most Expensive Painting Ever Sold

For those who would like to see The Last Supper, it is in a Dominican convent of Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan, Italy.

He was also a technological wizard and conceptualized flying machines, concentrated solar power, an adding machine, and even some sort of armored fighting vehicle. Few of his conceptions were practical at his time due to primitive metallurgy and his designs being too advanced for his time. He also made significant discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, hydrodynamics, optics, tribology, and geology.

Related: You Can Tour The Leaning Tower Of Pisa, But Visitors Should Know Why It Leans, First

Museo Leonardiano di Vinci

Otherwise known in English as the Leonardian Museum of Vinci, the Museo Leonardiano di Vinici is the largest and most important museum of this great man. It is located in Vinci - his birthplace in the province of Florence in Italy.

It boasts one of the greatest collections of models constructed from Leonardo's drawings. Over 60 of these models have been constructed from his drawings and they come with precise references to his sketches and handwritten annotations.

  • Number of Models: Over 60 Exhibited

The museum provides a unique environment with a direct and interactive experience. It is centered on the direct use of the famous machines designed by Leonardo. The exploratory panels are in English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, and Russian. The machines have been built to real size and they work. Many of them can be tested while at the museum.

The collection is organized into 4 sections - earth, water, air, and fire.

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  • Audio Guide: Available For 1 Euro

In addition to his inventions, visitors can admire reproductions of some of his most famous pictorial works in high resolution including the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper, the Annunciation, and the Lady with Ermine.

And then there are a series of educational projections on Leonardo's life and his work.

  • Hours: 10 am to 7 pm - Open Every Day
  • Workshops: This is An Interactive Museum, Rebuild Some Of His Inventions With One's Own Hands
  • Adult: € 6.90 ($9)

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Another fun activity to do while in Florance, is to go truffle hunting. This is a very French and Tuscan pastime and enables visitors to enjoy a very different part of Europe.

Next: Italy Insider: Don't Go To Florence Without Seeing These Beautiful Places