For his big Poldark follow-up, Aidan Turner ventured to Italy for an international production exploring the life and works of the legendary Leonardo da Vinci.
Turner takes the lead role in a period drama that blends fact and fiction, examining his personal relationships and struggles while unravelling an intriguing murder mystery subplot.
In addition to its big name star, Leonardo also features Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel), Matilda de Angelis (The Undoing) and James D’Arcy (Agent Carter) in key roles, alongside some accomplished European talent.
Read on for everything you need to know about the cast and characters of Leonardo on Amazon Prime Video.
Aidan Turner plays Leonardo da Vinci
Who is Leonardo da Vinci? Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous artists and inventors of all time, whose works include famous paintings like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. This series focuses on his younger years, taking place across a 20-year period which includes his time learning under tutor Andrea del Verrocchio through to becoming a renowned creator in his own right. In a fictional subplot, the show will also see him investigated for murder by Milan inspector Stefano Giraldi.
What else has Aidan Turner been in? Turner is probably best known for portraying the title character in BBC One’s recent Poldark remake, for which he earned much attention and acclaim. Prior to that, he had played the lead role in BBC Three’s fantasy drama Being Human and also appeared in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy as Kili.
Freddie Highmore plays Stefano Giraldi
Who is Stefano Giraldi? Giraldi is a Milan police officer who begins investigating Leonardo after he becomes a prime suspect in a murder case.
What else has Freddie Highmore been in? Highmore began his career as a child star, acting in family favourites like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Spiderwick Chronicles. He started taking on more mature roles in his 20s, beginning with disturbed serial killer Norman Bates in the highly praised Psycho prequel Bates Motel. More recently, he has portrayed autistic surgeon Shaun Murphy in medical drama The Good Doctor.
Matilda De Angelis plays Caterina da Cremona
Who is Caterina da Cremona? Caterina is a young woman who forms a close bond with Leonardo da Vinci, acting as his model, muse and confidante. Their relationship is depicted here as very meaningful but platonic, as the show follows the widely held belief that da Vinci was most likely homosexual.
What else has Matilda De Angelis been in? After starting her career working on Italian film and television shows, De Angelis earned international recognition for her recent performance in HBO’s The Undoing.
Giancarlo Giannini plays Verrocchio
Who is Andrea del Verrocchio? Verrocchio is a real figure from history who was a mentor to Leonardo da Vinci in his early years and their relationship is depicted as such in the series.
What else has Giancarlo Giannini been in? Giannini has had a highly successful career in Italy, starring in dozens of films over several decades, including Seven Beauties – for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. James Bond fans may recognise him as René Mathis, a character he portrayed in 2006’s Casino Royale and its sequel Quantum of Solace.
Alessandro Sperduti plays Tommaso Masini
Who is Tommaso Masini? Masini is a friend of Leonardo and acts as one of his closest assistants.
What else has Alessandro Sperduti been in? Sperduti has worked on a number of Italian projects as well as Medici: Masters of Florence, another drama from Leonardo co-creator Frank Spotnitz (which is currently streaming on Netflix).
Carlos Cuevas plays Salaì
Who is Salaì? Gian Giacomo Caprotti – better known by his nickname, Salaí – is another of Leonardo’s pupils, with whom he is thought to have had a very close relationship. Some historians have even suggested that Salaí was the true model for the Mona Lisa, although this claim has been disputed by others.
What else has Carlos Cuevas been in? Cuevas is best known for his work on Spanish films and television shows, including high school comedy Merlí.
James D’Arcy plays Ludovico Sforza
Who is Ludovico Sforza? Sforza is a nobleman of the Italian Renaissance, ruling as Duke of Milan for five years starting in 1494. He is well-known as a patron of Leonardo and other notable artists of the time.
What else has James D’Arcy been in? Marvel fans will recognise D’Arcy as Edwin Jarvis, assistant to Howard Stark, who played a key role in Agent Carter and made a very brief appearance in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Other recent film projects include Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and The Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending. In addition, D’Arcy has starred in several major television dramas, including Homeland, Das Boot, Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Broadchurch.
Max Bennett plays Cesare Borgia
Who is Cesare Borgia? Borgia is a leading Spanish politician and illegitimate son to Pope Alexander VI.
What else has Max Bennett been in? Bennett previously starred opposite Aidan Turner in BBC One’s Poldark, where he played the villainous Monk Adderley (above). He has also appeared in Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and Guy Ritchie’s gangster comedy The Gentlemen.
Miriam Dalmazio plays Beatrice D’Este
Who is Beatrice D’Este? Beatrice is the Duchess of Milan and wife to Ludovico Sforza.
What else has Miriam Dalmazio been in? Dalmazio played Bona of Savoy in the second season of Medici.
Robin Renucci plays Piero da Vinci
Who is Piero da Vinci? Piero is Leonardo’s father.
What else has Robin Renucci been in? Renucci has worked on numerous French projects as both an actor and a director.
Davide Iacopini plays Niccolò Machiavelli
Who is Niccolò Machiavelli? Machiavelli is diplomat and writer of the Italian Renaissance, who remains a major figure in the field of political science and philosophy to this day.
What else has Davide Iacopini been in? Iacopini starred in the dark Italian crime drama Thou Shalt Not Kill, which aired on More4 in the UK as part of the channel’s Walter Presents line-up.
Poppy Gilbert plays Ginevra de’ Benci
Who is Ginevra de’ Benci? Ginevra is a young women living in Florence during the Renaissance. She goes on to be the model for a famous painting by Leonardo which is named after her.
What else has Poppy Gilbert been in? Gilbert has previously appeared in British dramas Call The Midwife (above), The Pale Horse and Midsomer Murders.
Edan Hayhurst plays Gian Galeazzo Sforza
Who is Gian Galeazzo Sforza? Gian is a member of the noble Sforza family, who became Duke of Milan at a very young age following the death of his father. However, his power-hungry uncle Ludovico essentially took over the role, imprisoning Gian to prevent him from posing a threat.
What else has Edan Hayhurst been in? Hayhurst starred opposite David Tennant in the BBC comedy-drama There She Goes, about a family whose youngest daughter has a severe learning disability.
Leonardo premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 16th April. You can sign up to Amazon Prime Video for £7.99 a month after a 30-day free trial. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.