Casa degli Atellani tells a story that is over five centuries old, from the Renaissance to the early 20th century and the present day. Two great figures: the eclectic Leonardo da Vinci and the eclecticism of the architect Piero Portaluppi. One great passion: that of the Florentine artist for wine, which da Vinci cultivated with dedication in the vineyard in the Garden of Delights of Casa degli Atellani, given to him by Ludovico il Moro in person, just a stone’s throw from Santa Maria delle Grazie, where his most famous masterpiece, the Last Supper, was coming to life.
A historical 15th century dwelling, adorned by a myriad of refined architectonic, artistic and naturalistic details, which enclose an oasis of green peace, right in the centre of Milan. Casa degli Atellani is the perfect setting to organize an exclusive event, with history, art and, of course, the excellent wine of Leonardo: Tasto Atellano.
Participants can today rediscover the bouquet and fragrances of the “divine liqueur” of the grapes grown with dedication by the artist, tasting a glass of Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Leonardo da Vinci’s favourite vine, as revealed by the scientific analyses on the ancient roots of the vines buried for centuries in the garden of the Atellani family.
A niche wine, the intense notes of which accompany guests as they discover the rooms on the ground floor of Casa degli Atellani and Leonardo’s Vine or, after closing hours, the fascinating rooms on the first floor open exclusively only for the participants, for a unique aperitif, exploring flavours, aromas and architecture or for a private dinner for a small number of guests.
An artistic wine tasting
The participants can move freely and undisturbed in the rooms on the main floor of Casa degli Atellani, with lunettes, portraits of the Sforza dynasty, caryatids, frescoed ceilings and coloured marble: a fascinating opulence of furnishings and ornamentation, which at the same time is elegantly sober, an original synthesis of tradition and invention, between ancient historical styles and original motifs of Art Deco, which bears the very personal and highly recognizable style of the architect Portaluppi.
Naturally Tasto Atellano is there, ideally sipped in the magnificent Bramante Room, usually closed to the public, enjoying an unexpected view at mid-height of Bramante’s Tribune, which crowns the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie standing just opposite.
It is a moment of beauty with a full and rounded flavour, like the niche wine of Leonardo da Vinci.
The hypnotic regular rhythm of the double-arched windows, alternately open and blind, and the geometric contrast of the circular motifs which stand out on the white plaster: they look only slightly distorted if seen through the straw yellow filter of the bright glass of wine. An intense and aromatic bouquet, with floral notes of acacia and ripe fruit, which blends with the fragrances and scents which come from the open windows overlooking the Garden of Delights.
At the end of the garden, there is Leonardo da Vinci’s Vine. It is almost as though we can see the famous Florentine, coming down from the scaffolding, absent-mindedly still holding a paintbrush, crossing the road and then the colonnaded courtyard covered with lush ivy of the Casa degli Atellani and, when at last he is in the most secluded part of the garden, finally letting go of the paintbrush to devote himself to another of his great passions, that for wine.
Da Vinci beyond the Vine
Why not follow the artist’s daily route in the opposite direction, for a visit to his most famous masterpiece: the Last Supper! Or participants can follow the traces of the long and profitable association of Leonardo da Vinci with Milan to the nearby Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, which has another famous work by the Renaissance genius, the Portrait of Musico.
The participants might even have the privilege of hearing the story of the wine-producing genius of Leonardo da Vinci, five centuries later, by the oenologist and artist in flesh and blood, interpreted by a professional actor.
Dinner in the Borgo Sforzesco delle Grazie
For a really wonderful end to the tour, it is possible to have dinner in a restaurant that specializes in traditional Milanese cuisine near what was the ancient Borgo Sforzesco delle Grazie, or, for a truly exclusive event, it is possible to organize a very special aperitif, enjoying Tasto Atellano, or a small dinner, where meticulous attention is paid to every detail, in the Casa degli Atellani, reserving the first floor of the home or even the whole building and its sumptuous Garden of Delights exclusively for the guests.