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Almost 500 years after his death and a decade of painstaking research, a vineyard once belonging to Leonardo has been recreated in the self same spot it once flourished with the aim of once again producing a crisp white wine in the style once loved by the great master himself, produced and quaffed on his own Milan estate. A true son of Tuscany, Leonardo came from a family of wine producers and his quality bar would have been set pretty high.
The estate was gifted to Leonardo in 1499 - as payment for the Last Supper - by the then Duke of Milan, Lodovico Sforza. He in turn passed it on to two of his most loyal servants and it remained a working vineyard (San Vittore) all the way up to the Second World War. Post Allied bombing the plot then slowly transformed to become part of the formal walled gardens of the Casa degli Atellani. This splendid Renaissance palace was developed by Piero Portaluppi, a noted Milanese architect, and it was thanks to the Portaluppi Foundation and the current owners that the vineyard was replanted.
Careful excavations revealed some surviving vine roots and genetic testing has established the exact variety so beloved of Leonardo (Malvasia di Candia, since you're asking). To quote a representative of the Italian agricultural organisation that partly sponsored the research, "No other city in the world can boast the honour of having the remains of a vineyard once owned by one of the greatest geniuses in history".
The palace itself has been transformed over the years but remains an impressive edifice, lavishly decorated with frescoes, elaborate carvings and decoration and art works.
At a stone's throw from the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Last Supper, the Vigna di Leonardo is the perfect way to continue on the trail of Leonardo da Vinci. Visits are only possible as part of a tour that lasts roughly 25 minutes. Group size will not be more than 25 people and all visitors are provided with an audio guide (available in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Chinese and Russian).
There is a tour every 15 minutes, Monday to Sunday, with the first tour at 9.00 AM and the last at 6.00 PM.
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