Monte Ceceri

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Coordinates: 43°48′03″N 11°18′25″E / 43.80083°N 11.30694°E / 43.80083; 11.30694

View of Florence from Monte Ceceri

Monte Ceceri is a hill near Fiesole, Tuscany. It is currently part of a 44-hectare (110-acre) nature reserve to the northeast of the city of Florence, within the Metropolitan City of Florence.


Monte Ceceri was named for the swans that would once frequent the area, whose plumage included spots on their backs that, to the local Florentines, looked like chickpeas (the word for which is ceceri in Florentine dialect, and ceci in Italian). Since antiquity, the hill was quarried for construction of settlements in Florence and Fiesole; the ruins of some of the miners' huts are still present today along with several surviving necropoleis.

From the top of the hill, one can have a panoramic view of the city of Florence and the surrounding hills of the Arno Valley; the hill is currently part of a park called the Protected Natural Area of Local Interest Montececeri, or simply Montececeri Park.

A stone with inscription
Memorial stone on Monte Ceceri commemorating da Vinci's flight experiment
Closeup of inscription on stone
Closeup of memorial inscription

At the peak is a monument to the experiments performed atop the hill by Leonardo da Vinci and his assistant Tommaso Masini; this experiment in 1506 was a test of da Vinci's flying machine.[1] According to Zoroastro of Peretola, one of da Vinci's contemporaries, Tommaso Masini was present to witness the test. In the Codex on the Flight of Birds, da Vinci himself notes that Masini was the pilot of the machine. According to contemporaneous anecdotes, the machine was able to glide for about 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) before landing in Fiesole on the road that is today named Largo Leonardo da Vinci, which is commemorated with a plaque on the wall of the Villa Il Glicine. Were this tale not true, Masini would have broken his legs upon landing (which was written about by Merejkowski in his novel about da Vinci's life). In fact, in the Codex, da Vinci writes that Masini broke a leg and several ribs.[2][3] One source, however, recounts Masini in a healthy and active condition in Modena only a few months later. Therefore, if the story about da Vinci and Masini's flight is accurate, it would signify the first successful flight in human history.

The hill is today of archeological interest due to its quarry caves and ruins and is also visited by tourists.

Modern references[edit]

Monte Ceceri is mentioned in the theme song for the video game Civilization VI, "Sogno di Volare" ("The Dream of Flight") by Christopher Tin.[4]



  1. ^ Grewenig, Meinrad Maria (1995). Leonardo da Vinci – Künstler, Erfinder, Wissenschaftler (in German). Speyer: Historical Museum of the Palatinate. p. 169.
  2. ^ Bortolon, Liana (1965). The life, times and art of Leonardo. New York: Crescent Books. p. 62.
  3. ^ von Seidlitz, Woldemar (1909). Leonardo da Vinci – der Wendepunkt der Renaissance (in German). Berlin. p. 234.
  4. ^ Tin, Christopher. "Sogno di Volare".


  • Domenico Laurenza, Leonardo il Volo - Giunti, Firenze
  • Documentario Leonardo il Volo di Fiesole (DVD)- Mediaframe, Firenze
  • Michael Müller: Toscana. Eigenverlag, Erlangen 2010, S. 172
  • Wolfgang Heitzmann/Renate Gabriel: Toskana Nord: Florenz – Apennin – Apuanische Alpen. Die schönsten Tal- und Höhenwanderungen. 50 Touren. Bergverlag Rother 2010, S. 54–55M