A forgotten story links Leonardo da Vinci to Milan - the story of a vineyard. The same vineyard that Ludovico “Il Moro” Duke of Milan, gave to Leonardo as a gift in 1498. A vineyard surrounded by legends involving Leonardo, his works and his followers. Today the vineyard is born again, within the original rows and with the original vine stock.
From Lorenzo de’ Medici’s Florence Leonardo moves to Milan, under Ludovico Maria ‘Il Moro’ Sforza’s rule, in 1482. At the time both Leonardo and Ludovico are 30 years old.
In 1495, Ludovico commissions Leonardo to paint the Last Supper in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie. In 1498, Ludovico grants Leonardo the ownership of a vineyard of about 16 rows.
It’s nice to imagine Leonardo leaving his working site at sunset, crossing the square and the Atellani house, and finally checking on his loved Vineyard. However, when the King of France’s troops vanquishes and imprisons ‘Il Moro’ in 1500, Leonardo leaves Milan, shortly after having given in lease the vineyard to the father of his pupil, Gian Giacomo ‘Salaì’ Caprotti.
Leonardo will never stop taking care of his vineyard. When the French confiscate the Vineyard, Leonardo finally manages to take it back and on his death bed he mentions it, leaving part of it to servant and another part to ‘Salaì’ himself.
On the land belonging to the vineyard of San Vittore, the Duke of Milan, dreamt of building a new residential neighbourhood where his most loyal men could live. Of his dream - a dream more than five hundred years old - only few traces remain today These include the plan for Via Zenale and Via San Vittore, the Cathedral of Santa Maria delle Grazie with Leonardo’s Last Supper, and finally the Atellani House.
Leonardo’s Vineyard is reborn in 2015, in occasion of the 2015 Expo. The opening to the public of the Vineyard was possible thanks to the good will of the Portaluppi Foundation and that of the current owners of the Atellani House, with the decisive contribution of the University of Milan, represented by geneticist Serena Imazio and vine DNA expert Professor Attilio Scienza. The researches began in 2007, by manual excavation, of the living biological residues of the Original Vineyard, located inside the garden of the Atellani House: researches that led to the replanting of the Malvasia di Candia Aromatica's beard, Leonardo's Wine. On the 12th of September 2018, for the very first time, the Leonardo's Vineyard was harvested and contained into 330 Decanter inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch in a rebus of the Windsor Code present at the folio 12.690. The first of 330 pieces will rest at the museum below frescoed ceiling, as a symbol of eternal union between Leonardo and the city of Milan.