Many scholars say the Renaissance began in earnest with the invention of the printing press. The printing press made books available. If you wanted to read them, you had to learn how to read. The new interest in literature began to include art and music. Then came an interest in science and exploration. All over Europe, people became fascinated with new discoveries, new inventions, new works of art and ways of thinking about things. Some of the famous people who lived during the Renaissance include William Shakespeare, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Copernicus, Michaelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci!