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The House of Mona Lisa in Vignamaggio in Tuscany?

Monalisa de Vinci (Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay)
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The House of Mona Lisa in Vignamaggio in Tuscany

The story of Mona Lisa, the famous Gioconda, enchants all types of audiences. Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece is shrouded in mystery, and many have tried to unravel all its secrets. What few know is where Mona Lisa lived, and today we’re going to tell you a little more about Vignamaggio. Let’s know more about the House of Mona Lisa in Vignamaggio in Tuscany. Let’s get to know the famous landscape where the picture was painted! Stay with us and make the most of boot country! Here at Italy’s Dream Tourism we can make the trip of your dreams come true!! Also check out our Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your Vacations Section!

Our Introduction

Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece was painted against the background of where the Mona Lisa lived? The landscape of the famous painting is Vignamaggio, the home of the Mona Lisa. Let’s go there for a tasting and travel back in time. Stay until the end of the post and check it out! Learn more about Tuscany by clicking here!

A little about Leonardo da Vinci and his Mona Lisa

Leonardo Da Vinci was a master of the art, everyone knows that! Between 1503 and 1506, Leonardo painted one of the most famous portraits in the world: in the painting appears a noblewoman with enigmatic, sensual, maternal features and a smile that, to this day, no one has been able to unveil, we would say enigmatic. The young woman’s expression never made it clear what her exact “feeling” was at that moment. For years, various theories about the mysterious identity of the Mona Lisa have excited scholars and biographers, fueling the imaginations of writers and filmmakers.

As some experts claim, the Mona Lisa could perhaps be a self-portrait of Leonardo, a fantasy figure, or perhaps an alter ego, and they also considered that it could be Caterina Sforza, Isabella de Aragon, or even the mother of an artist. In the mid-sixteenth century, Vasari recognized in it the young noblewoman Monna Lisa Gherardini (1479–1542), daughter of Anton Maria di Noldo Gherardini and wife of Francesco del Giocondo, from whom the painting’s current name is derived. This fact only set the stories on fire further and local folklore gave rise to the legend that Vignamaggio was the home of the Mona Lisa. No wonder that the name of the main wine in the winery’s Chianti Clássico line is Gran Selezione Monna Lisa.

Did you know?

Was the comedy Much Ado About Nothing filmed in Vignamaggio? Yes!!! Vignamaggio is not only famous for the Mona Lisa; it was there that, in 1992, filmmaker Kenneth Branagh decided to use the villa as the setting for his film adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s plays written in 1599, the comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.”. With a strong cast that included names like Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Emma Thompson, Michael Keaton, Kate Beckinsale, and Kenneth himself, filming lasted about two months, and the story revolves around love affairs and political intrigues in Don Leonato’s life.

Although the story of Shakespeare’s play is set in Sicily, in Messina, Kenneth chose to film in Tuscany because of its unparalleled beauty. The film was nominated for several awards, among the most important: the Golden Globe for Best Comedy/Musical Film and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Let’s get to know the Story now…

It all started way back in 1250. The Gherardini, a noble and well-known Tuscan family, decided to build their own castle in Montagliari, on top of a hill that offered a beautiful view of the Greve River Valley. Devout, the family then decided to build the church of Santa Maria della Neve next to their village.

In 1300,  the Black Guelphs expelled the Gherardini from Florence, so the family settled permanently in the castle of Montagliari. Forced into exile, the family joined other Tuscan clans in Val di Greve to fight the political hegemony of the Black Guelphs. Thus, they organized themselves and promoted violent attacks to prevent the transport of food and goods to Florence.

The Shift to Vignamaggio

In 1302, Florence grew tired of this situation and destroyed it with the Castle of the Gherardini, forcing them to move to the other side of the valley, Vignamaggio. In the early 1400s, the economic and social development of the countryside boomed, turning the old settlement of Vignamaggio into a mansion. With a privileged land, in 1404 the first document was signed that testifies to the presence of Vignamaggio’s grape plantation: the parchment of 1404 is by Amidio Gherardini and allows, symbolically, to celebrate the beginning of the history that links Vignamaggio to winemaking. In other words, the story began more than 600 years ago. However, things did not go so well for the Gherardini family: in 1421, full of debt, the family had to hand over the property to another important family, the Gherardi.

Enter Leonardo da Vinci

In 1473, Leonardo da Vinci appeared on the scene and painted “Landscape with the River,”  highlighting the church of Santa Maria della Neve. Six years later, in 1479, Monna Lisa Gherardini, the noblewoman who served as a model for Leonardo da Vinci in his masterpiece, La Gioconda, was born in Vignamaggio.

In 1500, Vigmaggio appears on the map of the town of San Niccolò, in Montagliari. Already in 1600, Andrea Gherardi manages to maintain his farm for a long time and buys new farms and land, considerably increasing his wine production. The village of Vignamaggio became a cultural center for those who lived in that area. In addition to the vineyards, orchards, olive groves, and chestnut groves, a small private chapel is also present near mills, ovens, stables, and chicken coops. It also features a charming courtyard and a cheese room.

Commercialization of the Products and the sale of the Village

In the early 1700s, with production in full swing, the family decided to sell the items produced there, such as wine, olive oil, wheat, fruits, etc. In the early 1800s, the entire region went through a severe agricultural crisis and in 1831, the Gherardi family had to sell the village, and the property passed into the hands of several owners. Despite everything, in 1900, the vineyards and olive groves stood out as unique elements of the Chianti panorama and in 1926, Count Sanminiatelli made Vignamaggio an important cultural and artistic center.

Tourism

The most recent story tells that in 1987, the property definitely went to the Nunziante family, who restructured all the buildings, gardens, and cellars and finally opened the property to the public. Vignamaggio has become  a tourist reference and, to this day, is one of the most visited places in Tuscany. In 2014, the administration of the Villa of Vignamaggio fell into the hands of architect Patrice Taravella, who created a new design of reception and hospitality and shared Vignamaggio as a life experience.

How about a special tasting with the royal background of the Mona Lisa Painting?

Villa vignamaggio – Località Petriolo, 5, 50022, Greve in Chianti FI. Learn more by clicking on this link


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Conclusion

The House of Mona Lisa in Vignamaggio, in Tuscany? Today, Vignamaggio is a hotel, restaurant, and canteen that offers its visitors a unique experience that goes beyond fantastic panoramas, cinematographic scenarios, and stories about creators and creatures.

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