The series recounts Leonardo da Vinci's extraordinary life through the works that made him famous, through the stories hidden within those works, revealing little by little the inner torment of a man obsessed with attaining perfection.
Cast: Aidan Turner, Matilda De Angelis, Freddie Highmore, James D'Arcy, Alessandro Sperduti, Massimo De Santis, Carlos Cuevas, Antonio De Matteo, Robin Renucci, Gabriel Lo Giudice, Josafat Vagni, Flavio Parenti
Time is short as Stefano races to save Leonardo and uncovers his secret. With facts and no evidence, an epiphany leads Stefano going to a remote source for help. As the execution nears, Leonardo's life hangs by a thread. His guilt is upheld, and hope seems lost. Holding the fate of Milan's greatest artist in his hands, Stefano realises the answer he seeks lies in the man he is striving to save.
Reunited with Caterina, Leonardo perseveres with his work but is frustrated by the growing success of a younger artist, Michelangelo. Putting his feelings aside, Leonardo is persuaded to accept a new commission, a giant fresco of the Battle of Anghiari, but faces competition from his newfound rival.
Returning to Florence, an uninspired Leonardo accepts to paint the portrait of Lisa Gherardini, that will become the Monna Lisa. After failing to repair his relationship with Caterina, Leonardo goes to Imola, where he receives much praise from his employer, Cesare Borgia.
After the death of Ludovico's wife, he is given a new art commission but struggles with inner turmoil. After reflecting on wise words from Father Luca Pacioli, Leonardo seeks assistance from friends and presses on with the work, despite tensions in the city.
When Ludovico asks Leonardo to create an equestrian statue in honor of his father, it stimulates his ambition even more, and the artist strives to exceed the expectations placed on him. While working on the work, Da Vinci places his trust in a person everyone would judge unreliable: Salaì, a resourceful young thief.
Leonardo moves to Milan, determined to obtain the patronage of the Regent Duke Ludovico Sforza. When reality proves to be less attractive than expected and Leonardo is asked to devote himself to a great theatrical performance instead of a painting, it is a new encounter that helps him to free his imagination, allowing him to see in the theatrical production a great opportunity.
As Leonardo's achievements are recognized and his reputation grows, one risky decision could destroy everything he has worked for. When an unforeseen situation further undermines his reputation as an artist, he sets his sights on the Duchy of Milan and leaves Florence.
Milan, 1506. Leonardo is arrested for poisoning Caterina de Cremona. After protesting his innocence to Stefano Giraldi, Leonardo remembers back to his days as an apprentice in Andrea del Verrocchio's studio, where he first meets Caterina.