The presidents of France and Italy are attending celebrations on Thursday May 2nd marking the 500th anniversary of the death of artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci in the Loire Valley town of Amboise, AFP has reported.
The Florentine master, who personified the Italian Renaissance, was the guest of France's King Francis I for the final three years of his life before his death in Amboise in 1519.
France's Emmanuel Macron and Italian President Sergio Mattarella will mark the anniversary with visits to his grave at the royal chateau. Afterwards, they will have a private lunch together at the Château Clos Lucé, the nearby mansion where the Renaissance genius lived and breathed his last.
Later on Thursday, the two presidents are expected to join several hundred young French and Italian citizens taking part in workshops on architecture, literature and science at Chambord, another Loire Valley chateau whose central double-helix staircase is attributed to Leonardo. Among the scores of elites attending the events will be Italian star architect Renzo Piano and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
The joint celebrations come after months of mounting diplomatic tensions between Paris and Rome over the hardline policies of Italy's populist government and its support for France's anti-government "yellow vest" protesters.