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Vigna di Leonardo

A forgotten story

A forgotten story binds Leonardo da Vinci to the city of Milan, the story of a vineyard: the vineyard that Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, gave to Leonardo in 1498. A vineyard that Leonardo, in the years ahead, defended and maintained at all costs; the vineyard around which legends involving Leonardo, his works and followers sprang up; the vineyard that is reborn today, within the original rows and with the original vine.

Leonardo da Vinci’s vineyard was in the middle of the fields at the bottom of Casa degli Atellani's current garden, in what was then the great vineyard of San Vittore. The Atellani were a family of Sforza courtiers to whom Ludovico, years before, had given two houses. Ludovico had a double dream for this corner of the city: to make the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie the Sforza family mausoleum and to build a residential neighbourhood where he could establish his most loyal followers, including the Atellani family and Leonardo. Casa degli Atellani is one of the few traces left of this Renaissance dream.

Over the course of the twentieth century it was transformed by Piero Portaluppi, a major Milanese architect, while still retaining its magic.

With the help of two important institutions, the University of Agricultural Sciences in Milan and Confagricoltura, the Portaluppi Foundation and the owners of the house decided to replant Leonardo da Vinci’s vineyard and open Casa degli Atellani and garden to the public on the occasion of Expo 2015.

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