Italian researchers have re-planted a vineyard in central Milan that was believed to once belong to Leonardo da Vinci, and they plan to open it to the public.

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Leonardo da Vinci owned the vineyard from 1499. Presumed self portrait. Image credit: Getty / De Agostini

A team including leading Italian wine critic and oenologist Luca Maroni has spent several years identifying vine roots unearthed at the site in central Milan, in the ground of the Casa degli Atellani near to the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

According to agricultural group Confagricoltura, Leonardo da Vinci was given the vineyard in 1499 as a gift from Lodovico Il Moro, also known as Lodovico Sforza, in return for Da Vinci’s painting of The Last Supper.

Although Leonardo died just 20 years later, the vineyard itself survived until for nearly another 450 years. It was destroyed in 1943 by Allied bombing during World War Two.

Confagricoltura said the vineyard and garden would be re-opened to the public from May, to coincide with Milan hosting the international cultural exhibition Expo 2015.

It thanked the Vine Portaluppi Foundation, the current property owners and also an academic team at the University of Milan, led by vine DNA expert Attilio Scienza, for bringing the project to life.

The Telegraph newspaper reported that the vines planted will produce Malvasia di Candia grapes, a variety that is believed to have originated in Crete and was brought to modern-day Italy by the Venetians.

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Written by Chris Mercer