The LEO LEV Centre is an exhibition and multifunctional facility located in the heart of the town of Vinci, in an area of Tuscany which boasts a unique concentration of history and culture.
The centre’s mission is to promote knowledge and passion for art, thanks to new forms of interaction between the public and the works, to a new way of doing research and especially through the sharing of experiences in a very special context, different from conventional exhibition spaces.
With this aim in mind, the centre hosts and organises exhibitions, events, congresses, educational workshops, study days and other national and international initiatives dedicated to spreading the knowledge and value of ancient, modern and contemporary art.
It is hardly coincidental that the centre is located in Vinci, the Tuscan town where Leonardo was born, a place full of suggestions and, today, a major departure point for projecting into the future a renewed sensitivity for the protection and enhancement of the Italian artistic heritage.
The centre is located in the ancient Villa Bellio-Baronti-Pezzatini, the building of which started in the late 19th century and was completed in the early years of the 20th century. It is a large rural building in neoclassical style of paramount architectural importance and historical prestige.
From the Via Roma entrance, access can be made to the inner square, Piazza Pedretti, named after Professor Carlo Pedretti, one of the leading experts on the life and works of Leonardo. The space is enhanced by works of art by Oreste Ruggiero: the decorative flooring is inspired by Leonardo’s Sala delle Asse at the Sforza Castle in Milan; the scenographic fountain, designed together with Professor Pedretti; the Skyline, four brass bas-reliefs relating to the four cities of the Tuscan genius (Vinci, Florence, Milan, Amboise).
The Villa features three floors housing the exhibition rooms, a conference room, educational spaces and administrative offices. The bookshop offers not only illustrated books and catalogues, but also design objects. The Tuscan style of this structure can be seen in many construction details: for example, in the choice of rustication on the ground floor, which evokes and emulates the ashlars of the Florentine pietra forte, and in the decorative corner stones, which give the building the appearance of a typical fortress-palace.
Outside the facility is a large park-garden facing the valley, which includes an additional area dedicated to a cafeteria-restaurant.
Once a dilapidated and abandoned structure, the Villa Bellio-Baronti-Pezzatini has been completely restored and requalified thanks to the recent project of the architect Oreste Ruggiero, artist, essayist, professor at the Faculty of Architecture in Florence and director of the LEO LEV Centre.
The rooms of the villa have not undergone any change and still maintain their original decorations. The characteristics of the building have been restored so as to fully respect the existing structure, so that visitors have the feeling of an invitation to enjoy works of art in a private villa and not in a traditional exhibition space.