LEONARDO DA VINCI WITH ART AND FLAVOUR
Belmond Villa San Michele celebrates Leonardo da Vinci’s anniversary
April 2019 – To mark 500 years of Leonardo’s genius Belmond Villa San Michele is staging a host of unique festivities, from a dawn walk in his footsteps to an art exhibition channelling his spirit and special culinary experiences, throughout the season. The Belmond Hotel a stone’s throw from Florence feels a deep connection with the Renaissance polymath as he famously tested his flying machine in Montececeri Park, right above its grounds.
Most people are familiar with Leonardo da Vinci’s mind-boggling achievements. This is the man who, in the 15th century, devised the first flying machine, diving suit and armoured car, painted The Last Supper and made monumental discoveries about the human anatomy. What’s less well-known is his interest in food. In the 1480s, years before he created his most famous works, he worked in Milan for the ruling Sforza family. Among his many roles there, he was the Maestro dei Convivii, meaning he personally chose the food that would be served to the family. He experimented with herbs and spices such as turmeric, saffron and poppy seeds; favoured healthy salads and vegetables, and invented gadgets including a spaghetti maker and egg slicer. Da Vinci even wrote a guide to table etiquette, with advice that showed medieval manners left much to be desired. For example, he urged diners to keep their heads off their plates while eating.
TASTE OF A GENIUS
In memory of the multi-talented pioneer, the hotel invites the guests to sit down at a shared table under the pergola of the Italian gardens, just below Montececeri Park, for an ingenious menu designed by the recently appointed Executive Chef Alessandro Cozzolino and perfectly influenced by Leonardo da Vinci’s food predilections. Appetizers will be served from a stand inspired to Leonardo’s aerial screw and designed exclusively for the hotel by Il Sedicente Moradi, an acclaimed street artist who uses recycled and organic materials in his sculptures. At the Cloister Bar, guests will order Da Vinci’s Dream, the signature artful cocktail inspired by the classic Paper Plane with added alchermes, a favourite Medici liqueur.
GREET THE DAWN WITH LEONARDO
Belmond Villa San Michele launches a new experience, a magical walk from the hotel to the exact spot where Leonardo launched the machine. Heading out at dawn, trek through the lush landscape with a nature expert who will guide you through the hill of Montececeri. Guests will come across the 19 historic quarries of Pietra Serena, a precious grey sandstone favoured by Renaissance artists. Stroll through thick vegetation, planted after the quarries closed in the 1920s, and see the remains of cave storerooms hewed by the stonemasons. Finally, reach the square where Leonardo aimed to conquer the skies. There’s a monument here that pays tribute to the endeavour.
Throughout the hotel and gardens, look out for our curated collection of contemporary artworks inspired by the Renaissance giant. Featured artists include: Blub – the anonymous street artist is known throughout Florence for his scuba mask-wearing Renaissance and contemporary icons. “For me they’re about overcoming the fear of drowning,” he explains. Iguarnieri – the Florentine brothers keep the tradition of the Renaissance Botega alive in a contemporary style. Specialising in fresco techniques, many of their eye-catching paintings and sculptures evoke city landmarks. Nian – the artist prefers to “communicate through sweetness”. Her series Reflowering – Goddesses Awakening can be found in the hotel’s game room. The use of wood as a canvas celebrates the nature surrounding our hotel. Sandra Muss – the international multimedia artist explores “the mysteries of life, the magical characteristics of light and the strength of the elements”. For Belmond Villa San Michele’s gardens, she has created two glass mirror columns that recall the wings of a dragonfly. Discover more at belmond.com/celebrateleonardo Notes to Editors
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About Belmond Ltd.
Belmond Ltd. is a global collection of exceptional hotel and luxury travel adventures in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations. Established 40 years ago with the acquisition of Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the Company owns and operates 47 unique and distinctive hotel, rail and river cruise experiences in many of the world’s most celebrated destinations. From city landmarks to intimate resorts, the collection includes Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, St. Petersburg; Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro; Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya; and Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara. Belmond also encompasses safaris, eight luxury tourist trains including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, three river cruises and ‘21’, one of New York’s most storied restaurants. belmond.com
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