In the 14th and 15th centuries, Bacchereto was one of the main centres of artistic ceramics, with dozens of kilns and over 100 "fires". Among other things, the kilns of Bacchereto furnished the majolica for the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova and contacts with Lorenzo de’ Medici.
The family of Leonardo's paternal grandmother traditionally practiced the profession of notary, in addition to agriculture and ceramics production.
In 1371 Zoso di Giovanni was a "jar-maker" at Bacchereto. One of his three sons, Piero, was the great-grandfather of Leonardo Da Vinci and a notary like Leonardo's father, Ser Piero Da Vinci, son of Antonio di Ser Piero Da Vinci and Lucia di Ser Piero di Zoso.
In the Land Office records for 1480, Ser Baldassarre di Ser Piero di Zoso (Leonardo's great-uncle, being the brother of his grandmother Lucia) declared among his assets «a house in which he lived [...] a place called Toia» and «a house with kiln for urns situated in the Popolo di Bacchereto, a place called La Croce a Toia». In 1482 these properties were inherited by Leonardo's father Ser Piero Da Vinci, who engaged to provide dowries for the daughters of Ser Baldassarre: Caterina and Doratea. The latter was sill living in the house of Ser Piero Da Vinci with Leonardo's brothers in 1498.
The lands at Bacchereto yielded Leonardo's father «30 staia of grain, 24 barrels of wine and 4 of olive oil, 8 staia of forage and 4 of dried figs.»
It is more than probable that Leonardo began his artistic activity within the context of the family kiln at Bacchereto. Between 1470 and 1480 he recalls in the Codex Atlanticus «compari», (companions) at Bacchereto (f. 878v) and represents the locality indicating its place name in Madrid Ms. II (ff. 22v-23r) and on RLW 12685.
The house at Toia still exists today, part of it occupied by a restaurant. In the surroundings have been found many fragments of decorated pottery, now exhibited at the Museo Archeologico of Artimino (some are also displayed at the Museo Ideale Leonardo Da Vinci).
Texts by Alessandro Vezzosi, in collaboration with Agnese Sabato
English translation by Catherine Frost
Last update 04/gen/2008