Leonardo da Vinci's 'living relatives' identified

image copyrightEPA
image captionSome of the living relatives attended a press conference in Vinci where the family tree was unveiled

Italian researchers say they have identified 35 living people who are related to Leonardo da Vinci, using genealogical records.

They include the acclaimed film director Franco Zeffirelli.

The Renaissance polymath was born in the Tuscan town of Vinci in 1452.

He never married and left no direct descendants, so historians Alessandro Vezzosi and Agnese Sabato sought to find those who are descended from his siblings.

Leonardo's remains were lost in the turmoil of the 16th Century, so DNA research was not used in their work to construct a family tree, which began in 1973.

image copyrightPublic Domain
image captionLeonardo da Vinci was an artist, scientist, engineer and thinker
image copyrightAFP
image captionDirector Franco Zeffirelli's father's family, the Corsis, are connected to Leonardo da Vinci, the researchers say

Most of those identified are still living in Tuscany, reports say.

But, as La Stampa reports (in Italian), a connection to Leonardo da Vinci may not come as a surprise to Franco Zeffirelli. The director made reference to a family connection when he was presented with a Leonardo Prize by the Italian president in 2007, the newspaper says.

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