Leonardo’s Vineyard is the only vineyard in the center of Milan. It was gifted to Leonardo Da Vinci himself by the Duke of Milan, back when it was just a simple courtyard. While Leonardo Da Vinci was painting the Last Supper (1495-1498), under patronage of Ludovico “Il Moro” Duke of Milan, he was given the patch of land which he transformed into a 16 row vineyard. Nature lover and self-taught botanist, Da Vinci tended to his vines with both love and scientific accuracy.
The house, Casa Atellani, or also Casa degli Atellani, is a fifteenth-century residence that belonged to Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan, and was given to his loyal courtiers the Atellani family. The house became famous for parties and social gatherings which brought together the major personalities of the Sforza court.
Photos by Celia Abernethy
While he was working on the Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci was a guest in the house of the Atellani and frequently walked the gardens sketching and contemplating. The Duke of Milan gave him a patch of land on the far end of the property as a gift who then decided to use to cultivate wine grapes.
The house changed ownership over the centuries, and in 1922 came into the hands of the Conti family who had the house restored by Milanese architect Piero Portaluppi. Today, part of the house is lived in by family descendants and part of the house is open to the public.
In 2015 the Portaluppi Foundation started the Vigna di Leonardo regrowth project and opened the residence, the Atellani House museum. The re-growth project has recreated the original vines using DNA from ancient roots found at the site. The vines in Milan are the regrown grapes and are principally for display, but there is a vineyard just outside Milan which grows and produces Tasto Atellano and can also be enjoyed at the Museum bistrot.
Sleep in Leonardo’s quarters (or almost) – the Atellani Apartments offers four, self-catering, elegantly furnished and fully-serviced vacation apartments entirely refurbished, our apartments offer Milanese historical charm with contemporary comfort.
Suggested tour: Leonardo’s Vineyard with Guided Tour Option – from 13 euro
Article and photos by Celia Abernethy