I love Villa Necchi Campiglio, and I’ll visit this enchanting Milanese house museum any chance I can get. In fact, my first time ever in Milan, I made it a point to go here because I adored the bejesus out of the film I Am Love. If you, too, are always looking for a reason to visit–or if you’re coming to town and need an arm-twisting–, well then look no further: the Inseguendo Donnafugata exhibit. Running until 22 July, the exhibit features the drawings of Stefano Vitale and, most importantly, Sicilian wine.
Donnafugata, which literally means “fugitive woman”, is a Sicilian winery founded by husband and wife Giacomo and Gabriella Anca Rallo. They make wines in different parts of Sicily: Etna, Vittoria, Contessa Entellina and the islands of Marsala and Pantelleria.
Now, the owners met artist Stefano Vitale, a Padua-born illustrator, in 1994. As a result, a collaboration was born. Over more than two decades, Vitale designed 20+ Donnafugata wine labels and an olive oil as well as the CD cover for a music project. These illustrations and more are currently on display at Villa Necchi Campiglio as part of the Inseguendo Donnafugata exhibit. Bringing together art, music, wine and literature, the exhibit is an all-sensory experience. Yes, you read that correctly. All sensory as it concludes in the garden with a wine tasting.
The opening party, complete with live music, was simply splendid. Needless to say, we sipped Donnafugata wines:
- Floramundi Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, made with Frappato and Nero d’Avola grapes. This refreshing wine was bursting with bright red fruit like cherries and berries while offsetting a touch of black pepper. The wine label reminded me of a tarot deck. The woman seemed to be manifesting love, sunshine, abundance and all around good vibes through some old-fashioned universal magic.
- Lighea Zibibbo di Sicilia DOCG – Made on the island of Pantelleria, Lighea screamed Mediterranean in every way possible. The gorgeous label depicted a mermaid with her eyes peeking out above azure water against the backdrop of a sunset-shaded sky. It tasted of citrus with a bit of mineral finished with the essence of the sea.
- Brut A splendid sparkling produced using the Metodo Classico. The label featured a gorgeous dark-haired woman with softly shut eyes and red lips forming a faint smile, emitting elegantly serene vibes as bubbles floated around her.
- Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria Made from sun-dried Zibbibbo grapes, the Ben Rye tasted like dried fruit like dates and apricots. Since the grapes for this wine are manually harvested, the label depicts workers gathering grapes in a sunny field.
So, for the first time in my life, I got to walk around Villa Necchi Campiglio at my own pace. Don’t get me wrong, a tour is the way to go as you get much more out of the visit with an expert guide. However, walking around freely just felt so fancy! FAI guides were conveniently around to give you some backstory and answer any questions. The illustrations placed around the house, but the Donnafugata exhibit culminates in the attic (inside which I had never before set foot) with dozens of Vitale’s drawings for your viewing pleasure.
During his 15-year tenure in the U.S., Vitale traveled to Mexico and South America. As a result, influences from his travels play into his work. Now, I’m a beach bum at heart and an all-around Sicily enthusiast, so my heart took flight at the sight of his drawings. In some ways, as crazy as this sounds, I saw myself in them and wished to be the figures in the drawings! Also, the colors are just dreamy. The warm palette and beachy vibes psyched me up for summer, as well as for further exploring beautiful Sicily. In addition, me thinks another trip to this majestic island is in order for myself…
Inseguendo Donnafugato exhibit: Le illustrazioni di Stefano Vitale, il vino e la Sicilia da mercoledì
Villa Necchi Campiglio
Via Mozart, 14
Through 22 July
Wednesday – Sunday: 10am to 6pm