Published in Human Evolution – Vol. 31 – n.1-2 – 2016
Key words: Leonardo Da Vinci, Grandfather Antonio, Fruosino di Ser Giovanni, Caterina, Domenico Matteo, genealogy, burials, Orbignano, Bacchereto, San Pantaleo, living descendants, fingerprints, DNA.
This research, still in progress, began in theory in 1969 and in practice in 1973, with a global investigation and the cross-checking of discoveries and heterogeneous interdisciplinary data. The theme is one that is vast and has already been extensively explored, though not sufficiently so, namely, the history of the family of Leonardo Da Vinci, and the places he frequented during his lifetime, including also his origins, his paternal grandmother from Bacchereto, his mother Caterina, and other family members hitherto unknown. During the course of this work, new information has come to light concerning areas beyond Italy and France, as far away as Valencia and Majorca.
Sometimes, discoveries have been kept secret pending advances in research and the right moment for their publication.
Since the 1980s, this investigation also aimed to identify still living direct descendants of Ser Piero, Leonardo’s father. In fact, from 2006 onwards, we have progressively and successfully verified the continuity of descent, in the direct male line, of one of Leonardo’s brothers, Domenico Matteo, right down to our own time, and also identified many 20th-century graves.
As with the attribution of works of art, so too with historical research does Museo Ideale Leonardo Da Vinci proceed with extreme caution and absolute discretion, making known discoveries, trying to resolve as yet unanswered questions and problems, and identifying lines of investigation still to be followed – carefully distinguishing the assumptions and misunderstandings of the media from hypotheses and reasonable certainties. Publications of this nature serve, among other things, to stimulate communication between scholars, or even from the descendants themselves, and to evaluate and safeguard historic sites such as houses and burial places.
While there remain a great many leads to be investigated by historians, for biologists and anthropologists this research yields certain data from which to work, providing the possibility to identify, through DNA analysis, the remains of Leonardo and compare them to DNA samples obtained from living descendants.
Museo Ideale Leonardo Da Vinci,
Head Office: Via IV Novembre 2,
50059 Vinci (FI), Italy.