Leonardo studied the archaeological past of Arezzo. The city, which has ancient origins, conserved unique archaeological relics, such as a Roman amphitheatre, set up in the monastery of San Bernardo and today part of the Gaio Cilnio Mecenate National Archaeological Museum. Additionally, numerous Etruscan relics came to light here, such as the Chimera, restored by Benvenuto Cellini. In the Museo Archeologico di Arezzo you can admire Hellenistic, Etruscan and Roman relics from all over the territory, which influenced Donatello and Verrocchio, along with Leonardo himself. Last but not least, the State Museum of Medieval and Modern Art holds a marble putto by Pierino da Vinci, Leonardo’s nephew.
From Arezzo, we move to Cortona, in the Val di Chiana Aretina. The village of Etruscan origin is home to the Biblioteca Etrusca, which holds a copy of the 17th century Libro di Pittura: “Opinione di Leonardo da Vinci. Modo di dipingere prospettive, ombre, lontananze, altezze, basezze da vicino, da lontano, et altro”. Before leaving, we’ll indulge in a break in a small downtown winery to taste a glass of the local wine, which was already beloved in Leonardo’s time.
The next stop is Chiusi, in the Sienese region of the Val di Chiana. In this area, which has been extremely important since the Etruscan era, Leonardo had the chance to study the tomb of King Porsena, present in the Atlantic Codex.