Leonardo’s new vineyard has given its first grapes and now it is time to “taste them”! Today ours will not be a simple guided tour, we will not only observe the beauty of this place but we will do a tasting of the wine of Leonardo da Vinci, grown exactly in the vineyard that Ludovico il Moro gave him as a gift five centuries ago grows. The wine tasting is held in the elegant Bistrot of Casa degli Atellani: furnished with lozenge-patterned couches and other elegant pieces of furniture which follow in the style of Portaluppi, with a view of the marvellous tribune by Bramante. At the end of the guided tour a special wine tasting of Malvasia of Aromatic Candia awaits us: it is the wine produced from the Malvasia grapes grown and picked here at Casa degli Atellani. This is truly an experience not to be missed!
Leonardo and the hidden vineyard in the heart of the city
Just a stone’s throw from the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the famous Last Supper, in the village dreamt of by Ludovico il Moro for his court, there is a place which was very dear to the great Leonardo da Vinci during his stay in Milan: he cultivated his secret passion, a Vineyard of Malvasia of Aromatic Candia, in the garden of Casa Atellani.
With the guided tour anche the tasting to Vineyard cultivated by Leonardo da Vinci and Casa Atellani, we will discover not only the home of the Atellanis, a splendid building from the late 15th century but above all we will be able to discover the most hidden and private aspects of Leonardo da Vinci’s life.
A tasting to discover the secret of Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci, the Florentine master welcomed by Ludovico il Moro to our city to perform his services – how can we put it? – as a “Jack of all trades”, would often spend his days in the courtyard of the Casa of the Atellani.
Leaving the court of the Medicis to seek fortune in Milan, Leonardo da Vinci soon became the leading artist at the rich court of the Sforzas. Very close to the Castle, in the Porta Vercellina district, Ludovico il Moro found the vineyard to give to Leonardo da Vinci in the courtyard of the Casa degli Atellani, so-called from the name of the Sforzas’ squires who lived there. Was the vineyard perhaps a reward for the great commissions painted by the maestro, first and foremost the Last Supper in the nearby Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie?
Leonardo’s Vineyard is now a marvellous garden, called the “garden of delights”, where a small vine still stands, on exactly the ground the Ludovico il Moro gave Leonardo in 1498.
If this guided tour is already surprising for the person we are talking about and because it allows us to explore the place where the vine planted by Leonardo da Vinci grew, in the heart of the centre of Milan, you will be even more astonished by the marvellous interiors of Casa Atellani: the Room of the Zodiac, the Room of Luini, that of the Staircase and the study of the magnate of the electricity industry of the past, Ettore Conti.
In the early 20th century, the architect Piero Portaluppi also established his studio in Casa Atellani and thanks to the meticulous restoration by this immense architect, before and after the Second World War (following the bombing of Casa Atellani), we can still admire today in the dwelling splendid decorated walls, frescos, porticos, arches and doorways, in a surprising dialogue between styles belonging to different periods, from the Renaissance to Art Deco.
The reborn vineyard with the Leonardo’s Malvasia
Today there is something else that is new! In 2015, for the Expo, the project of the Faculty of Agricultural Studies of Milan brought the vineyard back to life, replanting the same cuttings of Malvasia that Leonardo da Vinci used centuries ago. More than three years have passed since them and at last the vine is giving its golden fruit! In September 2018 the first grapes were harvested at Casa Atellani: the grapes of Malvasia of Aromatic Candia picked and left to ferment in ancient amphorae have produced the first bottles of Leonardo’s Wine, the same that we will taste together at the end of this special guided tour.
Which wine will we be tasting? The Malvasia di Candia Aromatica from Leonardo da Vinci’s vine, cultivated in Lomellina at the Castle of Luzzano, ancient lands that belonged to the Sforzas and clones of the cuttings transplanted in the garden of the Casa degli Atellani. It is a white wine, straw-yellow in colour, with an intense bouquet and notes of citrus.