Everyone has to start out somewhere. Even the most iconic names to world culture have their little hometowns. While sometimes the place they start is of little consequence to the person they turn out to be, the hometowns of the world always have some effect on the people that were born there. Whether it is the scenery or the events that transpired within the city, hometowns have a way of shaping people. For the most famous of all, their hometowns become something like shrines to their greatness, where visitors can come and learn of their humble beginnings and maybe even get inspired towards their own great path.
Leonardo Da Vinci
There is a bonus to a visit to the famous birthplace of this Renaissance inventor, painter and revolutionary thinker, not only will they get to learn of the boyhood behind such a great mind, but visitor's will get to bask in the glorious Tuscan sunshine while doing it. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in Anchiano, a small town in the picturesque Vinci region of Tuscany. It was in this quaint little Italian town that Da Vinci came squalling into the world in 1452 and spent his boyhood in the surrounding countryside, which would no doubt inspire his artistic creations later in life. Unfortunately, Da Vinci's simple boyhood home no longer exists in the town anymore, but it is home to a castle, known as The Ship's Castle, that has been transformed into a museum chronicling the life of this inventor and painter. Aside from the castle museum, a building which dates back to the Middle Ages, exploring this beautiful little village and the lush countryside outside of it is the best way for visitors to get close to Da Vinci's life and legacy. It is Italy like most visitors have never seen it before.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
The southern United States is packed with Martin Luther King, Jr. sites, it seems like every city has a special site preserved in his memory where he stayed, spoke or simply visited on his all-too-short path. While the church where he preached or the hotel in which he was assassinated both prove enduringly more popular, the story of this Civil Rights Movement leader began on Atlanta, Georgia's Auburn Avenue in the house of his maternal grandparents. After his birth in 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. lived in this house for twelve years with his grandparents, parents, siblings, various other family members and boarders. While all those occupants make it seem like a large house on paper, visitors are in for quite a surprise. It only hosts four bedrooms, so at times it was likely packed to the bursting point. Today, this house is a preserved historic site and, while visitors can tour it on their own, it is an utter let down without a tour guide. The park rangers in charge of the house lead free tours that share stories and point out particular areas of importance within this particular birthplace.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Although Vienna has Salzburg beat on coffee culture, no other Austrian town can even compete with Salzburg when it comes to musical talent and innovation. This enduring spirit is thanks to Salzburg's own notable hometown hero Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This world famous composer was born in Salzburg in 1756 and even at the tender age for five, he showed his aptitude for music by composing his first minuette. He would go on to learn music from his father and would eventually become employed as a musician in the Salzburg court before finally leaving the city behind him. Today, visitors can enjoy Mozart's indomitable musical spirit in the live music venues of the city, or tour his early life at the Mozart Museum which features three floors of portraits, original drafts of sheet music and instruments in which he used to compose some of his most famous pieces.
There is very little that is actually known about William Shakespeare, for instance, most historians can't even agree that it was just one man who used the pen name or if he was not, in fact, a she. This makes the infamous bard's birthplace an even bigger mystery. However, some historians believe that Shakespeare was born in an old half-timbered house in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is in the oft-overlooked little English town, in the very same half-timbered house, that they house the Shakespeare Museum dedicated to the talented, but mysterious bard. Within the museum, visitors can tour furniture, tools and kitchenware dating back to the 16th century as well as an ornate backyard garden that has persisted for 500 years. Is this really the place where Shakespeare grew up and was inspired for his works? The world may never know, but they can dream.
Want to see where a conqueror was born? Before he ravaged Europe with the armies of France, Napoleon spent his days on the lovely island of Corsica. In 1769, this future conqueror was born on the estate of Charles-Marie Bonaparte and his wife Letizia Ramoplino, where he lived alongside his six other siblings. Although his youth was spent on and off the estate on the island, Napoleon would return well into his adulthood, most notably after his famous defeat of the Ottoman Turks in Egypt. Unlike the birthplaces of so many other famous figures, the Bonaparte estate still stands today as a museum to the infamous general. Visitors can tour not only artifacts from his time, but the extensive art gallery owned by the family.