“Il Messaggero” posted an article on filming of “Leonardo” at Villa D’Este. You can read the article in Italian and see more set photos (no more of Aidan) here: Il Messaggero: Aidan Turner on Set of Leonardo at Villa D’Este
Aidan Turner on the set of the “Leonardo!” Series: Villa d’Este is full of stars
Tuesday 4 August 2020 by Laura Larcan
Trampling horses, embellished with princely vestments, chariots full of trunks dragged by stuoles of servants, ladies in the shade of cypresses and riders with cloaks and swords awaiting an audience with Duke Ludovico il Moro. And he, Leonardo da Vinci, young, in his early thirties, who comes alive, impetuous, in a discussion, between studies, drawings and papers. Clapperboard, engine and action. At Villa d’Este in Tivoli, a Renaissance jewel on the outskirts of Rome, a UNESCO heritage site, the Rai1 television series dedicated to the genius from Vinci is shot.
An impressive production, almost 200 people between troupe and actors in the name of safety protocols (between pads and masks). He is an all-star cast, led by Aidan Turner, an Irish star known to the general public for the Poldark saga and the Lo Hobbit trilogy. In period costume, wide white shirt, black trousers and boots, he sits for script needs on a leather armchair with his eyes concentrated in a thousand elaborations and conjectures. The genius goes on stage, under the watchful eye of directors Daniel Percival and Alexis Sweet.
An intense week of shooting (the series is expected in 2021 on Rai 1) to set the large and sumptuous Sforza court in Milan at Villa d’Este, where Leonardo stayed for almost a decade. “The filming involved the entire main floor of Villa d’Este and some parts of the exterior, such as the fishpond area, the cypress rotunda and the cloister”, says the director of the museum Andrea Bruciati. A natural set is that of Villa d’Este, the treasure of Mibact, perfect for evoking the splendor of the Sforza. Leonardo’s studio comes to life among objects, canvases, papers, recreated in some frescoed rooms of the Villa, conceived by the inspiration of Pirro Ligorio.
The scenes shot recount Leonardo’s youthful period, spent at the court of Ludovico il Moro, on his first experience after Florence, at the end of the 15th century – says Bruciati – It is perhaps the most peaceful period of his life. Leonardo is in full swing in Milan, pouring all his artistic and engineering knowledge into it, embodies what he aspires to be: an artist integrated into the court, who condenses all functions, is the one who paints but also the one who lends himself to various needs of the duke, from parties as a representation of the power of the court, to civil engineering ». From Cornish copper mines in the eighteenth century (see Poldark’s cult series) to the Renaissance courts, is the television journey of Aidan Turner, 36, the protagonist of the blockbuster co-produced by Lux Vide, Rai Fiction, Big Light Productions, in association with France Televisiòn and RTVE, and distributed by Sony Pictures Television.
After the clapperboard between June and July in the heart of Viterbo’s Tuscia, shooting took place in Tivoli, the result of a series of painstaking inspections by the production. It starts to turn at 7 in the morning (the museum remains open, with a reduced ticket because some parts remain closed, and there is no shortage of visitors who hope for a selfie with the extras). And there are those who wait to see the other actors in the cast, such as Freddie Highmore, Giancarlo Giannini, and Matilda De Angelis. “The climate is calm and there is a great collaboration between the crew and the museum staff,” comments Bruciati, as he guides the director, revealing the Villa’s secrets and anecdotes. Even Leonardo would have appreciated.