Leonardo da Vinci's Last Wishes and Grave Site
Leonardo da Vinci's final resting place is at the Chateau d Amboise in France - not Italy where the famed Italian Renaissance painter spent the vast majority of his illustrious career.
In 1516, King Francis I, a devoted patron of the arts, invited the 64-year- old Italian master to join him in France and bestowed on him the title of "Premier Painter and Engineer and Architect of the King." The king offered to house da Vinci at the nearby Chateau du Clos Luce and provide him with 2,000 ecussoleil for his pension of two years, according to information provided by Chateau du Clos Luce.
This residence was only a few meters from the Chateau d Amboise, where King Francis I had his residence. Accepting the offer, da Vinci traveled across the Alps and brought with him his major works: Mona Lisa, The Virgin and Child with St. Anne, and St. John the Baptist.
During the last three years of his life, da Vinci spent his time drawing and teaching, as well as working on such projects as town planning, architecture and designing canals, according to information provided by the Chateau d Amboise.
In his final days of life, da Vinci stated in his last will and testament that he desired to be entombed in the palace church St. Florentine. On May 2, 1519, da Vinci died in his room at the neighboring Chateau du Clos Luce. As he wished, da Vinci was entombed at St. Florentine on the grounds of the Chateau d Amboise. But several centuries later, St. Florentine Church was destroyed during the French Revolution.
In 1863, an inspector of French museums, Arsene Houssaye, led an excavation effort at the former St. Florentine site. Houssaye found tombstone fragments of Leonardo da Vinci's name and the patron saint of painters, St. Luke, on the St. Florentine site, along with skeletal remains and coins from King Francis I's era.
Houssaye identified the skeletal remains as belonging to Leonard da Vinci, which were then transferred to St. Hubert Chapel on the Chateau d Amboise grounds in 1871. St. Hubert Chapel, designed in a flamboyant Gothic style, features da Vinci's burial site inside, bordered by low hedges and an emblem of the artist's head and shoulders embossed on a round disk. And at the base of the tomb, in simple script, bears the name Leonardo da Vinci.