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, walking thought the Atellani house, and finally checking on his vines. 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, in collaboration with oenologist Luca Maroni and with the University of Agricultural Arts, represented by geneticist Serena Imazio and vine DNA expert Professor Attilio Scienza.