LUXURY LEONARDO: Leonardo Da Vinci’s vineyard and former residence in Milan’s city center has a new luxury mogul owner, one who knows a thing or two about winemaking.
According to press reports, industry titan Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has bought a storied building known as Casa Degli Atellani in Milan from its previous owners, the descendants of the Conti and Portaluppi families.
The value of the transaction or the purpose of the acquisition were not disclosed and LVMH representatives did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
Built around 1490, the landmark was donated by Ludovico “Il Moro” Duke of Milan to Da Vinci in 1498 while he was in town to paint his masterpiece “The Last Supper.” After changing hands and ownership over time, the Milan residence located on tony Corso Magenta was acquired in 1919 by senator and entrepreneur Ettore Conti, whose son-in-low, famed architect Piero Portaluppi, was tasked with restoring it.
The 15th-century town house hides a verdant courtyard that is home to Da Vinci’s vineyard, the only existing wine-producing estate in the center of a metropolis. Neglected and destroyed, the 16-row, or around two-acre, vineyard was carefully restored in 2014 and finally unveiled to the public during the 2015 international Expo held in Milan.
Since its reopening, the landmark has welcomed visitors and tourists and boasts six for-rent apartments. It has hosted a number of private events, including fashion shows and presentations, and cocktail receptions.
The news was first reported by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Arnault, whose net worth was estimated at $181.8 billion as of December, according to Forbes, is among the world’s richest men, often competing for the top spot with entrepreneurs including Tesla and Twitter owner Elon Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
In addition to controlling fashion brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, among others, LVMH owns 26 firms in the wines and spirits category, including Ruinart, Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot. It also boasts a hospitality division, under the other activities moniker, which includes luxury operators such as Cheval Blanc and Belmond.
In 2013, the French group took a majority stake in storied Pasticceria Confetteria Cova Srl, owner of the Cova brand and of the Cova Montenapoleone Srl firm that manages one of Milan’s most fashionable and iconic coffee houses, located on Via Montenapoleone.
— With contributions from Lily Templeton