The history of Tenuta San Leonardo dates back at least fifteen hundred years, to the days when a group of prisoners from Trentino, held by the Lombard duchy, came home after their release at the intercession of Queen Theodolinda and Bishop Agnellus. The men had spent a period of confinement in France after their capture by the Frankish army. On their release, the former captives decided to give... Read more
The history of Tenuta San Leonardo dates back at least fifteen hundred years, to the days when a group of prisoners from Trentino, held by the Lombard duchy, came home after their release at the intercession of Queen Theodolinda and Bishop Agnellus. The men had spent a period of confinement in France after their capture by the Frankish army. On their release, the former captives decided to give thanks to the patron saint of prisoners, Saint Leonard, by erecting a chapel.
The earliest evidence of the estate itself dates from the ninth century of the Christian era, when Nottingus, the bishop of Verona, granted in usufruct to the bishop of Trento the woodlands, meadows and vineyards he owned at Sarnis in Vallagarina. Three centuries later, the Fratres Cruciferi, an order with adherents all over Europe and which remained at San Leonardo until 1656, expanded grape growing and adopted a modern approach to viticulture at their monastery. Today, the Romanesque apse survives, with its hanging arches on the outside and fragments of frescoes inside. The ancient monastery hospice, which once gave shelter to the destitute, is the cellar where our wines mature in their barrels.
Over the centuries, Tenuta San Leonardo has witnessed many historic events. Legend has it that it was here that Queen Theodolinda became the bride of Autari, king of the Lombards. On 21 January 1549, Philip, son of the Holy Roman emperor, Charles V, was received on his way to the Diet at Augsburg by the prince bishop of Trento and lord of the four vicariates, Cristoforo Madruzzo. More recently, wine from the estate cheered the guests at the table of the Viennese cardinal, Cristoforo Migazzi, a descendant of the Conti Migazzi, who had taken over Tenuta di San Leonardo. Cristofoto became archbishop of Vienna in 1757. In the two world wars, San Leonardo was the headquarters first of the high command of the Italian 29th army corps. In fact it was here that Austria made a formal request for an armistice. During the second world war, San Leonardo was the headquarters of the counterespionage section of the German high command on the Italian front.
The Guerrieri Gonzaga family succeeded to the property through the female line in the mid 18th century, and then by direct line in the early 20th century. Today, the family is proud to have the stewardship of an estate with such an august heritage. In history and in legend, this ancient fief has for more than a millennium respected, safeguarded and promoted the farming tradition of a fertile corner of Vallagarina, maintaining the healthy custom of producing good wine that in the past has cheered the tables of cardinals, emperors, princes and soldiers. Today, that same wine is available to render more convivial the encounters and reminiscences of wine lovers all over the world. Read less