Domus Vini: Italy - the Home of Wine
2500 years of wine culture narrated at Expo 2015 in the "VINO - a Taste of Italy Pavilion"
Italian wine past, present and future. This is the main theme accompanying visitors along the route inside the Wine Pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan. A full-scale journey involving all five senses explaining the history of wine-growing and oenology through emotions, colours, perfumes, tastes, sounds, lights and tactile experiences.
A myth setting deep roots in Enotria, the “country of wine”, which was the name by which the Italian peninsula was known over two thousand years ago, boasting a rich and unique heritage of 593 grape varieties (one-third of all existing types).
The experience already starts on approaching the Pavilion. All visitors owning smartphones or tablets are invited to download the dedicated “VINO Vinitaly Wine Club” mobile app: by answering five quick questions, visitors can discover their Italian Wine Profile, with a specific list of wines selected to meet their preferences.
Once in the Pavilion, visitors are immersed in evocative surroundings involving an architectural installation that recalls the Domus Aurea. A huge vault decorated with the Tree of Life and Vines representing all 593 Italian grape varieties opens on to two more smaller settings where alabaster, marble, frescoes from Pompeii and videos exemplify wine and its importance in the life of man.
The Hall on the left - reminiscent of Etruscan and Roman decorations and art - focuses on vineyards and the harvest. The style of the room on the right, on the other hand, recalls the Middle ages and - alongside more modern and contemporary aspects - explains work in the wine cellar.
Hall of Glass and the Colours of Wine
The Domus room as such in turn leads to the second setting. Here, the main colours of wine - from white to red and violet - are reflected in 12 crystal jars arranged a slab of marble illuminated by a skylight. The base of the table is made from 20 types of marble, each from a different region of Italy.
The glass showcases along the side walls display archaeological finds including recipients for drinking wine from all periods: a magnificent collection on loan from the Lungarotti Wine Museum in Torgiano, ranging from jugs and containers going back more than two thousand years, by way of specimens from the Renaissance to the XVII century, to liberal interpretations by XX century and contemporary artists and designers.
The tunnel of wine cellars and wine perfumes
The Amphora Hall leads into a tunnel dedicated to the perfumes of wine as experienced in wine cellars. The tunnel is decorated with a gigantic fresco reproducing Caravaggio’s famous anamorphic Bacchus whose cloak at first delightfully depicts a typical Italian hill landscape and then a wine cellar, animated by a video of a piano and violin concert.
Continuing along the wall there is a series of niches resembling huge noses containing illuminated glasses releasing the bouquet and typical perfumes of grapes and wines.
Sea of Wine - The Final Toast
The Perfume Gallery leads into a Roman impluvium, dominated by a marble basin seemingly filled with wine. The surface reflects light effects with fireworks and drops of wine. Videos are screened on three walls re-interpreting famous cinema toasts, from Visconti’s The Leopard to Losey’s Don Giovannim while the exterior of the impluvium has “cin cin - cheers” in all world’s languages.
Wine and Territory – A Spectacular Explosion
The atmosphere changes moving on, taking visitors into a world of the future. The set-up features backlit flooring and a cascade of 1000 goblets and flutes suspended from the ceiling.
The middle of the room has a gigantic sculpture depicting the bubbles of an uncorked bottle covering the walls of the room to represent the individual Italian regions and their respective DOC and DOCG wines A showcase proudly displays a special bottle of Sassicaia, 2000 vintage, which was taken into orbit during a space mission. At the end of the tour, visitors can also admire “UNA”, the Bottle commemorating the 150 years of the Unity of Italy devised by Veronafiere-Vinitaly in 2011. UNA brings together forty native grape varieties (twenty white and twenty red) to produce the “White Wine of Italy” and the “Red Wine of Italy” uniting all 20 regions of Italy. The blend was created by Assoenologi, while the native grapes and related wines were specifically chosen by 20 Regional Departments of Agriculture.
This hall terminates the main route for visitors who, on leaving, are greeted by the statue of Shakespeare’s Juliet, loaned by the City of Verona to remind us that wine also comes from the love and passion that Italians devote to their produce of excellence.
Visitors who wish to continue and expand their experience in the Pavilion with wine tastings on the first floor, on the other hand, pass through a gold-trimmed door.
First Floor: The Wine Store of the Future
A staircase built in metal and barrique wood, enclosed in a helical structure resembling a bunch of grapes, leads to the upper floor - home to the Wine Store of the Future and its atmosphere of luxury and elegance reminiscent of a reading room.
Here, through a series of modern wine dispensers and the guidance of professional sommeliers, visitors can taste 1,400 wines and spirits from all regions of Italy. Monitors and displays also provide all kinds of information about the labels and territories where these wines are grown and made.
This floor interprets and expresses a single, strong metaphor: Italian wine-growing production is a Library of Wine, where each product is a title with a specific story to tell, a specific author and a future to look into together.
The Wine Store of the Future is also designed and conceived to interact with visitors through the Wine Pavilion’s official app using multimedia tables and videos integrated along the route. The app (VINO – Vinitaly Wine Club) allows visitors to review and vote for each wine tasted, as well as purchase bottles through Vinitaly Wine Club’s on-line e-commerce platform .
During the six months of Expo, two rooms on the first floor will also be dedicated to wine and grappa tastings, discussions, round tables and conferences focusing on issues such environmental sustainability, vineyard bio-diversity, wine culture and healthy eating.
There is also space for the exhibition of the VIVA, The Italian Style Project to measure and to improve the sustainability performance in vineyards and wine production developed by the Ministry of the Environment with the involvement of thirteen very important producers from all over Italy.
Architects: Studio Italo Rota with Francesca Grassi
Architects In Charge: Italo Rota, Francesca Grassi, Carlo Stinelli
Design Team: Stefano Conforti, Andrea Bolla, Carlo Ferrari, Luca Paris
Paintings: Italo Rota with Rinaldo Rinaldi
Location: Milan, Italy
Architectural engineering: Studio U’, Manuel Zanon, Stefano Liccardo
Scientific committee: Ian D’Agata
General Contractor: Nussli Italia S.r.l.
Client: Verona Fiere
Site Area: EXPO2015 Milano